On The Moral Falsehood of Salvation
In my previous essays I have been quite negligent of this subject of the Christ’s salvation, which admittedly is so central a tenet to the various doctrines of Christianity that my failure to address it more properly must, in all fairness, appear to weaken my arguments to an offensive degree. Here, I shall attempt to show that, on grounds (earlier established) that we are fully willing to assert, out of free-will, our moral opinions of dogma holy or otherwise, the position of salvation is altogether an unpreferable one, not to be happily adopted by any morally-inclined or thinking person. I speak of course from a subjective morality — as our criticism of the moral worth of Christianity has always been of a subjective type; for I have since the first essay of this series attempted to separate moral opinions from metaphysical truths, and that I have implied that to confuse one from the other would defeat the purpose of free-will divinely granted us. The manifestation of our free-will depends upon our being able to form our own moral opinions, whether they be universally “true” or “false” in the metaphysical sense; and it is with this liberty that we hereby tackle the subject of salvation. The truth of Jesus shall have no bearing upon our conclusions as to whether we decide to accept his salvation. To refuse salvation would hardly be dishonest so long as we could give good reason for doing so, likewise to accept salvation on grounds of mere self-preservation would equally be dishonest and insincere.
Therefore, even granted that Jesus existed and that Salvation is Fact, we are still morally obliged to decide whether or not to accept it. The general opinion that if we could by some miracle of historiography establish that Jesus did exist, the dishonest thing to do would be to deny his offer of salvation, is seriously flawed in that it denies free-will after having premised it. True, the fact of the matter may influence our conclusion in some way or another, but are we not making an ethical choice whereby the Fact alone is not the sole variable at play? How incredibly childish would it be to say that “I accept this offer because the offerer exists, and his claims are true?” Nay, the claims, even if true, must first be assessed for their inherent worth. In everyday transactions no offer is ever rationally taken upon solely for the truism of its existence without some act of further deliberation. For ease of argumentation we may draw upon an analogy that is admittedly imperfect but at the very least demonstrative of our present case. If a stranger does offer to give up his life so that you may live you would likely think it immoral to take upon such a handsome offer. But perhaps you have committed a hideous crime and the stranger (himself innocent, but he happens to love and care about you) says he would happily serve prison-time in your stead, you would even think it more repulsive to agree to it even if it were done out of his own volition. Now presume that this crime for which you have been convicted is punishable by cruel torture, or worse by death, and that you would be relieved of it by simply accepting this offer. Now presume that not only would you be relieved of your punishment but you would be rewarded with consummate wealth and happiness, or perhaps with eternal life! And then presume that you never did commit the crimes in question at all! Presume they were the crimes of your forefathers, or of your great-great-great-great-great grandparents whom you could not possibly have met — but that the offer was only conditional upon your admitting to the fact that have de facto committed such hideous sins punishable by eternal death! or that you would in return admit to “loving” this stranger with all your heart! Now presume that there are many other criminals sharing the very same fate as yours; but that, unlike you, they have not once heard of this generous offer that you have so keenly been entertaining (because word of it has not reached all the corners of the world) — and presume that, still, they shall be put to death on count of their ignorance! Now presume! Presume that the offer was made more than two thousand years ago and that the sacrifice had already taken place, whether you insisted upon it or not!?
Now presume that this is the moral dilemma you are presented for consideration. You will find it is no dilemma at all. You will elect to accept the sacrifice because you fear the consequence of not doing so. But you are happy to assert that everybody else shall suffer the fate which you escaped, and that it would be but owing to their moral impediment or foolishness, and in no wise to the ridiculousness of the doctrine that made it universally obligatory. That is the so-called moral man that Christianity makes you become. And I shall gladly have no part of it.