Thursday, January 01, 2004

Answer to a Forwarded Message.

I keep getting versions of this missive. It's a message of hope and Christian charity meant to be sent to as many people as possible. You are posed thought-provoking questions about how one goes about the business of his faith and life.

While I admire the sentiment, the caring and thought that came with the letter, I cannot countennance the moral arrogance behind the assumptions that the letter's original writer makes. So in the spirit of the same Christian charity, I have bothered to try to answer those questions as briefly as I can.

Isn't it funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell?

Yes, it's funny. But it's addlebrained to simply assume that the world is going to hell. Most news (and that is how you find out about events in the world) is, of necessity, bad. Bad because it's not normal. That's why it's news. People tend to forget, for example, that beleaguered Christianity has taken root in every corner of the globe. People tend to forget that it's easier now more than ever to identify and speak out against dictators and fascists, thanks to the science that some people cannot seem to reconcile with a belief in God.

If God is at work (through religion, through science, through human progress) then how can the world be firmly and irrevocably set on the road to hell?

It's simple to trash God because he's the easiest target for blame. It's just as easy to blame the devil. But the devil never made us do anything. He tempts. We're the idiots who fall for it. Blame rests on the people who screwed up their own lives and the lives of others. That is the terrifying and glorious fact of free will.


Isn't it funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says?

It is. But it's a lot easier to verify and interpret what was in yesterday's paper. The Bible is a trickier thing. It requires committment and faith and fellowship and prayer that some people might not be ready to cultivate.

People also question scripture because they were not allowed to do so by repressive elements within the early Christian church.

Besides, when you set any code of behavior as "The Yardstick of Good and Decent Human Behavior" it and you are bound to be challenged by people who--

a) do not wish to agree with you because they're (insert faith here);
b) feel they cannot measure up to your mandated standards of behavior;
c) are just plain lazy, rebellious or both.


Isn't it funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not have to believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says. Or is it scary?

It's not funny. It's normal. Everybody wants a free deal. No exceptions. Ask your ad man.

And salvation is not truly free. To get it, you must pay for it --not in the form of money-- but in the form of service. You are required to forgo your old and pleasurable habits and nasty behaviors. You are required to tithe. To submit to the authority of the Church. To attend Bible study groups, perhaps. You are required to surrender your very self to Jesus. To some people, that's a scary proposition.

If there was a way to get into heaven free without all that rot, then people would certainly want it. Would they be right? That's another question.


Isn't it funny how someone can say "I believe in God" but still follow Satan (who, by the way, also "believes" in God)?

It isn't. The God I believe in may not fit the description of the God you believe in. For example, if I'm a Jew from America and you're a Moslem from Pakistan. You could as easily be following Satan in my sight, just as I am in yours.

Besides, a belief in God does not imply a tacit agreement to obey him, or even respect him. Rightly or wrongly, some people are afraid of- or angry at- their God.


Isn't it funny how you can send a thousand jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing?

No. Jokes mostly do not force you to think. It's easy to send these things. A declaration of a belief in God invites criticism and questioning by the very nature of the declaration. Besides, my relationship with God is a personal thing, and it is only my consideration for the beliefs and sensibilities of the people who will receive my pro-God message that keeps me from being too free with sending it.

Isn't it funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of Jesus is suppressed in the school and workplace?

No. It's only to be expected, as it's very easy to give in to our base natures. All human beings, regardless of religious affiliations should be obligated to correct this starting within themselves, if only to save us all from lousy thinking.

Nobody in my country is suppressing public discussions of Jesus in appropriate venues.

But a government cannot practice a separation of church and state if on a public level, its representatives show too much favor to one religion, in this case, Christianity. If you are a public official (or a boss of a workplace) that espouses freedom of religion, no one is stopping you from praying at your desk or in your home. No one is stopping you from preaching to your co-workers as long as you do not do it at the office or at the school. If your school is private, and religious, then by all means, PREACH!


Isn't it funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week?

No. It's sad. But people can be gutless and fickle. That is, after all, why Jesus had to die for us.

Are you laughing?

No.

Isn't it funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them?

No. It's a dilemma I face everytime I email someone. That's why I have a blog.

Isn't it funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me?.

Yes. But that's your problem. You fix it.

Will YOU pass this on? .... I did.

No. But maybe I might. Happy new year.

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