1. The Christian God is greedy. He never seems to have enough of our money and He's a horrible manager of it- almost as bad as our Gov't.
2. Why should be made to feel guilty because I make love to my girlfriend? We love each other and will be married next year.
3. Why should I have to pray and plead with God to save me when He's the one Who's responsible for this world to begin with? So some people thousands of years ago broke one of His weird rules about not eating a fruit and now I have to say 'I'm sorry'? Why?
4. What's the deal with an eternal place of torment? You say that God is Love and He loves us more than our own parents. OK, then why is our punishment eternal? My mom got over me busting her antique vase years ago. Can you imagine how idiotic it would be if she yelled and spanked me every time I visited her?
5. I read the Ten Commandments once and remember reading how your God says He's a jealous God. Sounds pretty co-dependent to me.
6. In fact, the whole thing sounds pretty co-dependent. We'll either do what He tells us to do or He'll fry us to a crisp? Why? How weird is that? Just accept that some people might not like you and get over it. If you really love us, why can't YOU be the bigger person and love us anyhow; after all YOU'RE God.
1. It is not the Christian God who is greedy; it is some of the little trolls here on Earth who claim to have a "special" relationship with him and can speak to him for you and get a miracle for you in exchange for [insert flabbergasting dollar amount]. The Bible speaks of these kinds of people, on TV or in the Churches, as "wolves in sheep's clothing" and as "false prophets and teachers". They are the equivalent of medical quacks, only with a cross around their necks (paid for by your generous donations, of course! )
If I were your friend, I would examine what a particular church does for the rest of society before I ever give them money, such as services for the poor, youths, education, counseling, etc. A true church of God is suppose to be the salt of the earth, and part of that relationship with God is to reach out to the people of God, "to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, etc". It is good to give money to such churches, wherever you find them, just as it is good to give to your local animal shelter or school or little league.
2. Does your friend feel guilty for making love to his girlfriend? Ask him what that could mean, outside of any religion, any church. Although plenty of people make no big deal about breaking their marriage vows, tell him that, traditionally, in a marriage, a person seals the bond of supporting and loving the other person through the Sacrament of Marriage. This conscious bonding encourages us to try for the other person, to endure, to sacrifice, to love even through the storm. In a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, we may love the other person, but what is there that spiritually binds us to the other person? Like it or not, we are spiritual beings, no matter what anyone says. A bf/gf type of relationship is a period of testing the waters, but no vows have been made and there is nothing there that requires us anything of us, that gives a real responsibility, to stay by the other person's side. Yes, there are people who go into marriage and treat it as nothing more than a bf/gf relationship. Staying sexually pure until marriage tells the other person that the gift of Love through sex belongs to them. It really is not a matter of ownership, but loyalty and respect. Without the dedication that marriage is, a person's sexuality becomes a commodity rather than a gift, like Armani sunglasses or those hideous alligator shoes. Ask him how he would feel about giving away such a precious gift if his girl broke up with him and gave herself to someone else? It's like that weird Christmas song: "Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day, you gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I'll give it to someone special." When you have sex with someone, you invariably give them a piece of yourself. We should not treat our bodies and our sexuality like...I dunno..re-packaged gifts.
3. God is not responsible for the way the world is right now. He did not tell Hitler and the Nazis to murder Jews, Poles and homosexuals. He did not persuade the old woman down the street to open up her own puppy mill, complete with filthy conditions and animal abuse. I have wondered why He doesn't stop the pedophiles from messing with the neighborhood children. The way I have learned to look at it is this: we are not infants in diapers. He has given us laws in order to keep wrongdoing in check. These sinful people are a reminder that not only should we be vigilant for wrongdoing among us, but we should be vigilant in wrongdoing inside ourselves, because "the wages of sin is death", which means the death of happiness, security, and peace. God gave us free will. It is up to us not only to use it correctly, but to influence others to act in a godly way as well. Tragedies unfortunately have a way of bringing us together to learn to cooperate, to care, to feel compassion. We must use the compassion we learn from our pain and hurts to bring ourselves and others closer to God, who gave us everything we needed in the Beginning.
Not eating from the Fruit of the Tree was not a silly rule. It is thought that antifreeze tastes sweet to dogs and cats. Just because it tastes sweet does not mean it is a good thing for them to drink, as it was not a good thing for Adam and Eve to eat the Fruit because of what is was
: it was a doorway of knowledge. Ever hear the expression "That's something I really didn't need to know" or "TOO MUCH INFORMATION!"? When people think of knowledge, they think of books and libraries. Knowledge is also how to make an atom bomb...how to kill your brother and get away with it...how to come up with hurtful cuss words to make another person feel like dung. Ask any parent here on OC.net about the sweetness and innocence of their little children, and they will probably tell you that they dread when their children grow up, because oftentimes, their children lose that happy and carefree innocence and experience the harshness of the world. People here on the OC with grown children will probably tell you, "Oh, those were the days...", referring to the innocence of their children long ago. Show your friend the immediate reaction of our First Parents upon eating the fruit: Shame and Dread. God's "silly rule" was trying to protect us. Tell your friend that, in Orthodoxy, there is no shared guilt. There is only the guilt of our own wrongdoing, which is a consequence of Adam and Eve opening that doorway by eating the fruit. It's sorta like evolution (but sorta not): the condition
of sin was passed to us, not the guilt
4. God is a God of Love; Love does not indulge in the torture that Hell is. Hell is torture because it is a separation from our Home, from our Creator. Sin separates us from God, because God cannot stand wrongdoing. I'm not sure if Hell is eternal or not, but some people go to Hell because they'd rather indulge their own lifestyles rather than seek company with God by obeying Him, so what is God to do? people choose to go to Hell and experience the agony of separation when they choose to turn away from God by their wrongdoing. It shows they don't care. God cares, but He wouldn't allow a person to stay in their home if they kept breaking things. He'd send them to Boarding School. Perhaps Hell is like that: Boarding School until you clean up your act and you learn to love back. Perhaps the Levels of Hell are akin to different levels of persuasion to come back Home.
5. Wouldn't your friend be a bit jealous if his girlfriend strayed? God has a bond with us, and we see many times in the Bible that God suffered when Israel strayed after those that really do not love them: other gods. Did not the father suffer when his prodigal son strayed from Home? God does not have the type of jealousy that covets and possesses, like Smeagol with his ring. We're His Family and He wants us together.
6. God does love us. What He doesn't love is our sins. Would your friend love the act of stealing? Would he keep a thief in His home? Why can't WE get over our desires and love God through being obedient? God understand that some people might not love Him, and in their lack of love for Him, they have decided for themselves that Heaven is not for them, since Heaven is the place to love God. The only other place is Hell, which is the separation from God, the wall that covers the window to the experience of Paradise. People suffer in Hell because they feel this separation. And maybe they hate God for still loving them, kinda like some people will put the lyrics "I hated you for loving me" in their songs (see the song Metro by Berlin