Misery and hope make strange bedfellows

A friend posted a religious text from Romans 5 on Facebook yesterday, to which I left the comment “That’s a really sad outlook on life.”

I can’t be sure though that my comment was exactly like that, because it has since been deleted.

The excerpt in question from the New International Version (NIV) of the bible goes like this:

…Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I found a variation of this excerpt from the King James Version (KJV) which reads as follows:

3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Both glorify pain and anguish and rely on faith and hope for the elimination of these afflictions. The upside to pain and anguish according to this religious text is the building of character and experience.

Essentially the text expects us [man] to accept and believe that an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent deity designed us [man] to suffer in order to build character and gain experience. We [man] is further expected to accept and believe that the imposition of this torture is designed to inculcate within us the pitiful feelings of hope and faith.

Anyone who does actually accept and believe this nonsense is utterly devoid of self-respect and actually deserves every bit of suffering coming his or her way. Any plausible deity who inflicts suffering on his or her creation, in order instill knowledge, or exact reverence, is not worthy of worship, but is deserving of derision.

Such a deity warrants his/her/its all-powerful ass being booted into a galaxy, infinite light years away from Earth. But since Superman, an eminently nicer supernatural entity hasn’t called around recently to oblige with this chore, it would be much simpler to suspend credulity…