Ok, so I was originally responding to this post, but it became very lengthy, so I decided to make it it's own.
Just some thoughts on a couple of reasons why I personally at times have problems with Christians. Many of them cannot have a detailed/deep conversation about the huge, obvious questions that can be asked about their religion. Many do not know it's origin or history, except for what they have learned in Bible study or Sunday School. I have met and talked to many who have absolutely no connection with the historical/social history of Christianity, they simply accept without question, which I suppose is the goal for them, but in my mind, a person should not just believe what they can't even talk about, because they don't know enough. They should thoroughly know about what they are believing, since they are supposed to believe it is the absolute, non-subjective, truth of reality.
I have long considered the possibility that Lucifer got a bad deal, and that much of the things that Christians try to assert (prince of lies, pure evil, blah blah blah) that it's simply propaganda because God does not want to acknowledge that someone (or something) could have come close to achieving his level of power.
To me it is a microcosm for the entire attitude of Christianity.
Don't even consider that option (recognizing something else as a powerful force other than God that deserves respect)
We can give you something that would be otherwise be unattainable (eternity in paradise with loved ones, etc)
Not only do you simply not die in the "Hell" scenario, but you burn and are tortured for all eternity, and all your fears are realized
Why would Lucifer agree to do something God wanted him to?
According to the bible, Lucifer's role in Hell is to rule Hell and make sure everyone gets tortured and is inflicted with everything negative for all eternity, but is it really that way?
Was Lucifer essentially "bad" and if so, how could God make something "bad"? Did he make a mistake? Why didn't he just destroy his mistake? Or maybe he does not have that power?
What if Lucifer wasn't (and isn't) "bad" but just isn't as powerful as God, but still chose to flex his muscles and got tossed out for it? What if Lucifer represents the very essence of rebellion and the underlying message here is: don't rebel
If Lucifer rules in Hell, Hell can be whatever he wants it to be. He either does it his way, because it is *his* realm, or he rules it God's way because God commands him to, or maybe they agreed on how it should be run, and it was just a coincidence that the way he runs it is the way God wants.
Perhaps all this talk of fire and brimstone, etc etc is simply Christian propaganda? Perpetuating the lie?
Maybe not following God and following Lucifer is something that can be just as good, just not in that "everything is perfect according to some random God's idea of perfect" kind of way.
After all, Heaven is either:
a. a place where God rules and his laws are in effect, and so nothing that goes against those laws can be "Heavenly" or good (like sex outside of marriage, for instance)
b. a subjective place where each individual has a different "vision" of their Heavenly reality, it could be anything... all day bloodbath/slaughter, family time (kodak moments), sex with lions, one continuous and eternal memory of their sixth birthday party, pretending to be a spy in a foreign country, etc
I doubt the second possibility would be "allowed" since some of those activities are directly against the teachings of the bible (for mankind on earth) but maybe the rules for mankind on earth don't apply because we are no longer people who are living on earth, and since we are no longer being "tested"? If we got into Heaven, does that mean we have "passed" the test? IF one follows all the trappings and rules of Christianity, andyet still in their heart, wishes to do sinful things, will that person go to Heaven?
or perhaps our personal identity is lost when either:
a. death occurs (or)
b. Heaven is attained
So if personal identity is lost during either transition, one will not be "themselves" to enjoy all those things that were promised in Heaven (living with long lost loved ones without sickness, in total peace and harmony with everything, in paradise, for all eternity etc, etc) so where is the motivation for getting to Heaven, unless one just hopes that whatever residuals one can feel after death, even if one has lost their personal identity, will be the pleasant, happy feeling of Heaven, instead of enduring every (possible) moment of a torturous Hell for all eternity.
Can you sin, once you are in Heaven?
Does God give free will, and then as a reward for exercising it wisely and justly during your earthly lifetime, take it away for your "eternity trip" which is, well, eternal? Wouldn't that sort of be a punishment of sorts?
OR is it that when you have been deemed worthy of Heaven, when you enter, all of your "worldly" cares go away, meaning you no longer want to have sex with strangers, or eat food, etc.
Is there sex in Heaven? Do you have to be "married" to someone?
What about food? I guess if you are dead/undead you probably don't need to eat, but damn, that's a bummer, isn't it? No food?
What if your (or my) idea of paradise has absolutely nothing to do with God's idea of paradise? Again... some person's paradise is another person's Hell (imagine a club kid who dies in the midst of his clubbing days and is now doing accounting 24/7 in Heaven for all eternity..... torture, right?) But don't rebel, or you'll be thrown out.
Sounds like just another, more finite layer of governmental oppression to me.
Lucifer rebelled, and so it is possible that if one rebels in Heaven, one gets cast out, like Lucifer did.
It seems to me that rebellion historically has almost always been a good thing. After all, rebellion against one who claims to have all power over everything (including you) is pretty natural, isn't it? But is God therefore saying that you have to go against your own nature so that his can have precedence? You cannot have ill feelings towards him or his laws or processes because, well then he'll kill you or won't like you and he'll throw you out of his house?
Sounds like a childish insecure brat.. sounds like.. your average human, really.
I'm not sure what I am advocating, nor am I clear on what I believe...
I'm almost certain that the bible is just a book, and that Christianity got lucky, amongst all the other cults of the time. There was nothing special about it, other than the simplicity of conversion (all you have to do is believe, yo) in a time where there were multitudes of desperate, poverty stricken and jaded people constantly surrounded by disease and death, looking for answers and hope... they needed something new, something bright and shiny, and Christianity stuck.
To say that I think "Lucifer" got a bad deal is saying I believe at least as much as the creation story, which I do not.
I'm starting to think that much of the biblical points can be looked at from a distance, and all you will see is pattern of the following:
Believe what I tell you to, do as I say, and do my will, or die/burn forever
Which is fallacy.... Argumentum ad baculum - appeal to the stick (threat or force)
If that is the "big picture", I don't believe the details matter.
I know this is a simplistic form of what the bible says, but the bottom line is that this IS what it says.