The answer is, of course, "Unicorns don't exist." I would like to pose a similar question that requires just as much consideration as the one in the title of this post: "Why did God flood the earth, choosing only Noah's family and two of every animal to survive?" The question is irrelevant because there was no godly flood. There was no Noah, no heathens to be drowned because of their sin, no unicorns to be left behind as the Ark floated away to safety.
If only we could be this honest about the other myths contained in the Bible. It is a shame that Old Testament stories are so often taught in Sunday schools as literal historical events, and even worse that by the time a child learns how to critically identify distinctions between myth, legend, and history, the scrutiny of biblical tales is somehow sidestepped. I know it need not be said much nowadays, as I hope many Christians have learned to see the allegorical nature of the Old Testament (but have failed, however, to see the same nature in parts of the New Testament) but here it goes again, just in case anyone still has doubts. Noah's Ark didn't exist. God did not flood the earth for 40 days and 40 nights. Adam and Eve were not real. There was no snake to tempt Eve into eating an apple and therefore causing our "original sin". We are not all doomed to hell because of a mistake made by mankind in Genesis. Human lineage does not spawn from two fair-skinned homo sapiens who wore leaves over their private parts because they were ashamed of their nakedness.
It is here that I want to think out loud about the idea of sin. The entire premise of sin, repentance, and separation from God stems from the idea that somewhere along the line, humans got distinguished from animals and were created with souls accountable to a higher being. Obviously in light of evolution, we know this is not the case, and we know we are primates with genetic links and relationships to all kinds of life forms. We know evolution is a very slow process in which natural selection and mutation works on a generation by generation
basis. We know we are primates, most likely with origins tracing back to Africa tens of thousands of years ago. If you don't agree that the theory of evolution is solid, you should probably navigate away from this post.
So, let's just hypothesize a little bit here. If we're working on a generation by generation basis (by now, creationists should have stopped reading any of what I have to say) at which point did God deem our primative consciousness able and intelligent enough to give us souls and therefore curse us with only two choices; that of heaven or that of hell? God does not hold people semi-accountable (according to the Bible), so instead he must have made one distinct, intentional delineation between one generation of primates and another, right? Please assume with me that there is no other explanation (although I would beg Christians to provide me one) other than this; that all of the sudden, the offspring of one generation (far, far back in our ancestry) was given the knowledge of God in their hearts, a moral code, and an obligation to live by this moral code - while the parents of this generation remained soulless animals. We must grant that in evolutionary terms, the intelligence levels and abilities of the parental generation had to have been virtually identical
to those of their offspring. Where does God step in to make us special? Where does he decide to place a curse of hell on those of us skeptical enough not to believe in him?
Which brings me to another question. If we are condemned to hell for unbelief because we had the unfortunate luck to be born (as opposed to the millions of humans that never will be born) and not believe in God, wouldn't we have been better off not living in the first place? And why must God's punishment for unbelief be hellfire? Is his glory unable to tolerate such a petty insult? Honestly, as God, why not just end the unbeliever's existence and leave us as we were before we were born?
According to Christian theology, hell is eternal separation from God, which means God must be naively unaware of the suffering we are to endure once his eternal kingdom is established on Earth. In essence, he is shoving unbelievers into a furnace, closing the lid, sealing it, turning the lights out, walking upstairs, closing the door, and partying with his friends for eternity, his glory never challenged, never hindered by the existence or non-existence of those burning in the basement. So again I ask, why is the furnace necessary? Is God that much of a bastard? I would be fine returning to non-existence, even if it meant not going to heaven, because there would simply be nothing for me to miss were I unconscious! The fact that the Bible tells me I must be aware of my rejection of God while burning for eternity leaves me no choice other than to view Christianity as nothing more than a fable with a twisted conclusion. A preacher with a bigoted message. A friend with a poisoned mind. And yes, of course Jesus said some great stuff, but all of it is underlined by hell, hell, hell, hell, hell. If you're a Christian and don't believe in hell, you're not really reading your Bible. But the only problem you and I would have is that I just think you're wrong about the existence of the supernatural. If you're teaching kids that hell is real, Jesus is the only way to salvation, and that unbelief is the worst conclusion a human can come to, get out your boxing gloves because I will fight you.
There is no sin I must be saved from, no hell I must avoid, and no God I must believe in as the sole criteria for an afterlife in paradise. To be unable to see the blatant fallacy of Christian belief upon a simple understanding of evolution shows me a mind that has not tried hard enough to escape its indoctrination. It shows me a mind unwilling to let go of either the comfort of heaven or the fear of hell. Noah was smart enough to leave the unicorns behind. Let's be smart enough to leave Noah behind.