What a difficult, annoying religion!
To those of you who think religion is a self-delusion based on wish-fulfillment, all I can remark is that this religion does not fulfill my wishes. My wishes, if we are being honest, would run to polygamy, self-righteousness, vengeance and violence: a Viking religion would suit me better, or maybe something along Aztec lines. The Hall of Valhalla, where you feast all night and battle all day, or the paradise of the Mohammedans, where you have seventy-two dark-eyed virgins to abuse, fulfills more wishes of base creatures like me than any place where they neither marry nor are given in marriage. This turn-the-other cheek jazz might be based any number of psychological appeals or spiritual insights, but one thing it is not based on is wish-fulfillment.
An absurd and difficult religion! If it were not true, no one would bother with it.
I know what a skeptic might be saying: "Come now, sir! Your Christians have committed murder and arson and burned books and threw Galileo to his death from the Leaning Tower of Pisa! The Pope did not officially overturn the Council of Trent finding that the world was flat until 1992! There are certainly enough figures in history, and even alive today, who use their religion in exactly the way you mention, as a form of wish-fulfillment to justify all fashion of evil!"
To which I might reply: You make a good point, Mr. Skeptic, and with no more historical inaccuracy than normally surrounds such debates. All I can say in response is that, while I dislike the doctrine of eternal damnation more than any other traditional teaching of the church, and would wish, as Origen does, if there were a way, that even the damned could be saved, I must admit that when it comes to Christians who defile our religion, make war in the name of the Prince of Peace, or abuse divine trust, I can think of no fitter place than the lake of eternal fire. I can think of no more horrifying return than to have our beloved bridegroom on our wedding day, when all the universe will be adorned in a new garment, and all the Sons of Light are singing, turn to some of us and say, "Go away. I never knew you."
Brrr. Now I cannot even remember what it was I first meant to take up my pen to complain about.