Well… Actually… *ahem* This got me thinking. Here’s a little point of view and some thoughts that I have:
God did want us to have Critical Thinking; he also knew we needed sin in order to progress and develop. As the old saying goes, “if you cannot fail, you cannot succeed.” The tree of Knowledge Adam and Eve were forbidden to east from supposedly gave us the ability not only to understand, but to critically think for ourselves, which we required in order to progress beyond the innocence we started in. Satan didn’t create that tree, God did. Why would he create something he didn’t intend for us to use? The act of sinning and partaking of the fruit gave us the ability to fail and make mistakes, which in turn also gave us the ability to succeed and aspire to greater wonders than we even now can conceive.
God gave 2 commandments: do not eat of the tree of knowledge, and go forth and multiply. Without that knowledge, Adam and Eve could not multiply as they supposedly didn’t know how. God is a dick like Calvin’s dad is a dick (Calvin and Hobbes) – He messes with us sometimes, and we don’t always understand, but he sees life in ways we can’t even imagine and when he does things directly, it’s to make us stronger and wiser ourselves, like any good parent will do.
Satan, on the other hand, is the jealous older brother. He doesn’t just understand our nature, he exploits it. He knows us all better than we even know ourselves, and he knows exactly what can cause us doubt and justification of our actions, and even cause us to have apathy towards the actions and behaviors of others. “Apathy is the glove into which evil slips it’s hand.” Satan originally wanted none of us to have free will or critical thinking, and he’s pissed off that the rest of us said “Fuck that” so now he wants to convince us all using both truth and lies so we all just sin and become miserable with him. Poor bastard is in such denial that his role in doing that is actually a vital piece of the puzzle we need to overcome our own mortal limitations; he’s just pissed off his plan of forced salvation was rejected by even us, and now tries to motivate all of us to sin in hopes we’ll lose out on progressing to the next stage, after mankind’s time on earth is finished.
That’s the scary thing about free will – we’re all capable of literally anything, if we have the right motivation. We’re capable of the greatest acts of kindness, the most depraved things, and capable of accomplishing the most amazing and disturbing wonders imaginable. All we need is the right motivation; that’s where Satan and his ilk come in, and that’s what Jesus and the scriptures are supposed to be the flip-side of the coin of. Satan can only motivate us, and that’s really all God can do either; the world was created with built-in “karma” systems to give us rewards and consequences, cause and effect. God and Satan know both how those systems work and can predict the outcomes of certain action chains, but they cannot directly influence them. They can only motivate us to.
God created a paradox; either we had to sin and eat the fruit, or we had to sin and not multiply. Satan did his job well, and frankly we men owe women an eternal debt for having more balls than us and taking that first step. All Satan did was use reason to show her that step was necessary to our existence.
The biggest challenge in life from a Christian perspective is understanding sin itself has a vital role in our progress, and the challenge of life is in bolstering and practicing our own strength to overcome sin through self-control; not in forcing others to not be allowed to sin or taking away their freedom to choose for themselves. Hate the sin, love the sinner. Churches were not meant to be a private club of the most devout and most holy; they’re spiritual rehab for sin addicts, and we all become addicts. Do AA meetings tell people needing recovery that they’re too alcoholic to be allowed in? NO! They are welcomed and encouraged and given support to stay off the wagon, and helped back up if they fall off.
What I find wonderfully amazing is that you don’t need to believe in God to do good things, what it even says in the bible is that as long as you do it for the benefit of the world around you, that’s what’s key. Christians seem to forget that it’s not their place to force others to believe; all their job is to do is to offer the gospel of Christ, not slam it down everyone’s throats, and to teach loving everyone through their examples of doing it.
As for the millions the Bible says God killed, I have my own thoughts on that which, despite my considering myself Christian, most Christians would likely want to stone me for saying. So I’ll save them for another day.