Congratulations to Dagoods for the following post of the week at Atheist Blogs Aggregated!

I was once involved in a frantic litigation with numerous attorneys, including claims, and cross-claims and counter-claims of a variety of sorts. Due to the urgency of the matter, it seemed we were in court almost every day on some new emergency problem or petition. At one of yet another hearing, a fellow counselor mentioned how the case was a chaotic mess.

An older, more veteran attorney nodded, and said in a solemn voice, “Ahhh. But where there is chaos, there is profit.”

I have since reflected on how true that is. When people hear of a “claimed” shortage, whether it is gasoline, or flu shots, or even Cabbage Patch Dolls, a sort of chaotic panic ensues in which retailers may charge more, and items they could not move off their shelves a week ago, they cannot keep in stock.

If things are stable and calm, people have time to contemplate and compare, becoming conservative consumers. If chaotic and confused, people react and respond, rather than reflect and review.

So why would God want confusion? Why would God want various forms of Christianity to spring forward almost immediately, causing confusion and strife? What benefit is there, when Jesus could have cleared this up so easily with but a few words?

Believe it or not, I got to thinking about this when reviewing the Bible’s position on polygamy. A discussion was on-going, and as I reviewed both positions, it struck me—“How simple this would have been if Jesus had cleared it up with a single sentence of ‘God once allowed you to have more than one wife, but now desires one man to marry one woman.’” In fact, this would also go a long way toward the Christian battle-cry for a U.S. Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as “one man, one woman (at a time).”

As I was thinking on this, I began to reflect on all the other, brief statements Jesus could have made to clear up much confusion:

“Abortion is immoral.”
“Baptize by full dipping, and no kids.”
”Sola Scriptura.”
“God pre-selects some for Heaven, some for Hell.”
“Oh, and Hell is a terrible place with lots of fire.”

Instead what do we see in the development of Christianity?

Jesus is so unclear about food becoming unclean (Mark 7:14-23 ) that he has to tell Peter again in a vision. (Acts. 10:15) Even then, the issue of food (clean or unclean) offered to idols remains a problem. (I Cor. 8:10) Or vegetarians. (Rom. 14:2)

Within the very decades of Jesus’ death, the Christian mandate regarding circumcision raged on. Did new converts need to be circumcised? (Acts 15:24, 16:3, Rom. 2:25, Gal. 2:3)

In the letters of Paul, we see him attempting to clear up confusion in the areas of marriage (1 Cor. 7, Rom. 7:3), resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:12), the Eucharist (1 Cor. 12:30), spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:1) and even salvation through grace. (Rom. 5:15017) In fact, some were even confusing Apollo with Paul with Cephas with Christ! (1 Cor. 1:12)

Historically, we begin to see the church schism and fragment almost immediately. We have the Jerusalem church as compared to the Galilean Church. Judaizers vs. Gentile Missionaries. The Johannine school as compared to the Snynoptic Gospels. Gnostics and Marcion. We eventually have docetic and Arianism.

And yes, even arguments over polygamy!

As time has progressed, more schisms and fractures and confusion have continued. It has not become less, but rather has become more. We have Charismatic Catholics and Arminian Baptists. And within each group, more groups fracture off with their various peccadilloes, over Baptism, or election, or lifting hands, or covering heads, or singing songs, or offerings, or blood transfusions, or homosexuality, or divorce, or drinking or mixed bathing, or Robert’s Rules of Order or just about any possible concoction one can dream up.

And the Christian God saw this confusion develop, and did nothing to stop it. At the Tower of Babel, YHWH confused the languages. At the cross, Jesus confused the religions. Apparently there is something about unity that God abhors. He did, after all, create calamity (Isa. 45:7) why not use it?

Many Christians, reading this, may be thinking to themselves, “But all those other beliefs are wrong. I hold the true belief. It is the human involvement that has caused the confusion, making the others lose the truth I hold.”

First of all, I would ask that you at least recognize that there ARE other beliefs, also stemming from the same original core. I don’t have to ask very hard, your words and actions proclaim that you recognize these other beliefs.

I read Christian forums and blogs. I see the fights. In fact, I tend to find Christians fight with other Christian beliefs more vehemently and more venomously than they do with atheists! We are considered the enemy, but a “wrong belief” is considered a traitor. An enemy is simply doing their job, but a traitor is a treasonous apostate, and should be handled with less respect than any other.

Secondly, I would ask that you recognize that you desire those other beliefs to conform (even partially) to your own. You do not desire this confusion. You would prefer conformity. Again, your words and actions proclaim that you desire this, as evidenced by the intensive arguing in support of your position.

You know what we all find funny? In a forum, seeing a poster proclaim “I don’t have time to respond to this, but….” And they respond. And again, “I REALLY don’t have time, but…” and respond again and again and again. After a bit, I wish they would stop wasting time, constantly telling me they don’t have time to write they don’t have time!

Look, if you weren’t interested, you wouldn’t be posting all the time about how other beliefs are incorrect. You wouldn’t be researching it. You wouldn’t be here. Your actions belay your words. You would like the confusion to end.

Now, if you don’t want this confusion, why does God?

I see four possible solutions (but there could always be more):

1. God doesn’t care.
2. God actively needs this confusion.
3. God does not want it, but is unable to stop it.
4. There is no God involved at all.

God may not care, because it is a deistic God, or it is the Christian God, but this is not an area in which He has concern. It would be surprising, but perhaps there is a Christian that takes this view. If so, I would presume the Christian does not care if there is confusion, either. If God doesn’t care, why should they?

Although that raises a problem with why God would get involved at all. If God doesn’t care whether this confusion reigns, then what would be the basis of Jesus appearing at all? If His death, for some reason, was necessary, that could have happened with no communication at all. No ministry. No Sermons. No Parables. No Epistles. No Gospels.

To say God doesn’t care about the resulting confusion, but cares enough to communicate some creates a difficult methodology. Why did Jesus talk about foods being clean or unclean if he doesn’t care? Apparently He cared about that. So much he said it twice! Yet he doesn’t “care” under this methodology to make a mention about abortion.

I would think that a Christian would therefore be left in the position of following a God that cares for having a slice of bacon with breakfast, and doesn’t care about many of the issues Christians face now—such as homosexuality, abortion, or even election and salvation.

If God needs this confusion, then why would a Christian ever debate against it? Or is part of the need to have the debate itself? Are we just some large cock-fight for God in which he watches us spin and fight and fret, and even kill over the confusion, and he has some “need” to have this happen?

Of course, the question I will ask is “Why? Why does God need this confusion?” To which we receive the perpetual reply, “We don’t know, except if it happens, then God must need it.” But then, we could say that about everything that happens, whether we desire it or not.

God must need Tsunamis. God must need atheists. God must need fundamentalists that kill in His name. (And NO, that is NOT limited to Muslims.) And equally, God must also need thousands of different offshoots and sects arising out of Christianity for another “unknown purpose.”

If God needs confusion, then there is nothing humanity can do about it, eh? Wonder why the ingrained sense of reducing confusion, then? Is that part of the fall? We became evil AND orderly?

Or perhaps God does not want confusion (1 Cor. 14:33) yet is unable to stop it. This creates a very interesting God, indeed! Even, as humans, we can see how to at least reduce confusion. We do it all the time—communicate effectively. If God did not want confusion between the Arminian and the Calvinist over the issue of election, lay out the concept in simple terms. If God did not want the Great schism, explain whether church doctrines have authority alongside scripture.

Anyone who has ever debated anything regarding Christianity has bemoaned the lack of a simple verse explaining God’s position. The trinity comes readily to mind. And yes, I know that to YOU it is clear. How do you resolve those billions of other folks that it is not? Did God desire their confusion?

The Christian is left with the unenviable position of a God that either desires confusion, or lacks the ability to do anything about it. The classic Epicurean problem in the sense of confusion, instead of evil.

Notice the intriguing part of the first three solutions. We are just as well-off acting as if there is no God, if these are true. If God doesn’t care, why should we? If God wants confusion, we should as well. No more Godlike mandate to reduce confusion and enlighten our fellow humans. If even a God cannot stop confusion, how can we?

In each of these scenarios, we may as well not have a God at all.

There is the fourth possibility, though.

Just like my court case, getting a group of humans together, with different motivations, different purposes, and different goals, ends up in chaos. Confusion. While some sense can be honed down, and directed, simply due to the fact that humans are different will always result in some confusion.

Without a God, it is not only unsurprisingly, but it is natural that confusion would come about. The various books of the Bible were put together by a variety of human authors, each with differing concepts about God. Rather than struggle with attempting to align the Synoptics, or worse, aligning the Synoptics with John, we can relax in the idea that these were written by separate humans, and by virtue of their dissimilarities, will provide dissimilar ideas. Only when cohesiveness is sought does confusion step in.

If God wanted to stop the confusion, he could have. Perhaps, though, he felt where there was chaos, there was profit. I just don’t see any.