Magic Fruit and Talking Snakes

When I read the Bible, I read it as a book — well, an anthology really.  The stories don’t lead me to faith, so much as they leave me with questions.

Questions like “is God a liar?”  He tells Adam and Eve that if they eat the magic fruit, they will die (Genesis 2:17); but the snake tells them that they will not die, rather they will know good and evil and become like God (Genesis 3:5) who is keeping that knowledge from them by forbidding them to eat of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."  When they do eat the fruit, they don’t die and God admits that they have “become like one of us, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:22).  So who is the deceiver in this story, the snake, or God?  And why does God, or more accurately the author of Genesis, use a plural for God who has this “forbidden” knowledge — us?

With regard to magic fruit and talking snakes, look closer at the story — I think we would all agree that what we call our “conscience" is what we use to decide between good and evil, and for it to work, the conscience needs knowledge of good and evil to do its job.  Why, then, did God forbid Adam and Eve from acquiring this knowledge and punish them and, supposedly, the rest of us, once they did?  This act of defiance by Adam and Eve, this gaining of the knowledge of good and evil, is called the original sin.  Christians believe we are still paying for it today!  Which brings me to my second question:  “didn’t God want us to have a conscience?”

Jesus comes along much later and says we should be like him, and therefore like God his father.  But God punished Adam and Eve precisely because they became like God (knowing the difference between good and evil).  That was Satan’s crime too — wanting to be like God.  Make up your mind!  Third question:  “does Jesus actually want us to commit a punishable offense, the offense for which he is being offered as a blood sacrifice, a scapegoat?”

Scapegoating is found in all religions involving animal sacrifice.  It works like this:  not only is it possible, but it is also highly effective, to take guilt and culpability from someone who has committed a transgression and transfer it as though it were a physical substance into the body of an innocent creature — be it a sacrificial animal or Jesus — so that the transgressor doesn’t have to suffer the consequences for something s/he did, but the otherwise innocent creature is punished for something it most certainly did not do.  I’ll leave you with these questions:  “since Jesus supposedly died for our sins, becoming the scapegoat to end all scapegoats, how in good conscience can we allow innocence to suffer for guilt?  And what kind of a god would?”

The 18th century French philosopher Denis Diderot said, “The God of the Christians is a father who makes much of his apples, and very little of his children.”

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