- Published on Sunday, 17 June 2012 06:20
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1238
Christians often say that god created all men equal - race, sex and mental capacity do not matter. Everyone is equal. Why then are some given a higher status in heaven? According to Christians, only humans have a chance - no animals; not even smart ones like dolphins. Then amongst humans, some get to be saints and get closer to God. They get a special status. Otherwise, why ask them to intercede on your behalf? Why not ask your saintly departed aunt? Do St. Peter, Joseph and Mary have a special place? Do big sinners who scraped in because they repented at the last minute get a lower level or reward than those who were virtuous monks their whole life? Everyone seems to assume so. So doesn't that mean that God does not give everyone equal status? He really does not believe in equality. He's a bit like the Southern Baptist and Republican view of God - if you work hard and "fear the Lord" and follow his rules, you are pretty sure to be favoured - in this life as well as the next!
It seems that God cannot be a socialist - at least not in heaven. So why all this insistence on equality between people in this life? Why be nice to people? Why take care of underprivileged people? That seems to be the message - at least if you think about it. Jesus taught a hypocritical message - on the one hand: be kind to people, take care of the poor and underprivileged, love them as yourself; but on the other hand: all these good works will be rewarded - you can do these things for the selfish motive of a better reward in heaven. The people you helped will be at the bottom of heaven's social strata - just like they are now. They can't be at the same level - they are too busy surviving to do their own share of good works. They may not have the ability to do anything like that anyway.
Another large inequality is that your chance of "being saved" depends on who you were born to. According to Catholics, if you are a Catholic, you have all kinds of tools that others don't have - a big one being forgiveness of sins. Another is that the Eucharist (their version) is supposed to make it easier to stay sinless. What about the billions who never get a chance even to convert to Catholicism? Is that fair? Is that equal treatment? And many non-Catholics (the majority of the world's population) think that being Catholic is a disadvantage. They have been led astray and will not make it to heaven easily if at all. So depending on your religion, you believe that billions of people have little chance of "being saved" and getting to heaven.
It's not just Christians that have this problem with their version of God. So do Muslims, Hindus and all the rest. They all indoctrinate their children before they get to think for themselves and they all have a version of a graduated heaven. But I know more about Christianity than the others so my focus is on them.
Christians teach that the basis for equality is that all humans have a soul and that the soul is a spiritual thing with no attributes such as race, sex, intelligence, ability to work etc. The only part that God cares about is the soul - except that you must use your body to actually do anything. All souls are of equal value so all people are equal. Sounds simple but the two catches are that:
- Souls inhabit a physical body and then depend on that body to do anything that God commands. Bodies are not equal for various reasons so not everyone can perform equally - and God seems to reward in proportion to your performance.
- It depends on what religion (or none) you are born into as to your chances of getting "saved".
Some aspects of what God is said to do are fair (more reward for hard work and following rules) but others are not. But there is absolutely no way to see God as treating all souls equally. He gives some more chance of success and some are rewarded more than others (e.g. saints). Men are not equal as far as God is concerned.