When the little stone god is right, or at least partially right, I suppose an answer is warranted and a blog post is born. I speak of Arkenaten the atheist who, in the Rachel Held Evans thread declares,
“Baffling that certain very vocal Christians are yelling for all their worth that she is burning in Hell, and from what I have gleaned about devout evangelicals is that there are a lot more who may not have voiced these views but who definitely believe it. Simply gross behaviour. The hypocrisy is, sadly, oh so typical.”
Right. And that’s quite true! The evidence is all over social media, twitter, and eloquently and perhaps more civilly written in Christian articles far and wide. That’s primarily because people are totally depraved asshats, Arkenaten. Self absorbed, self obsessed, and downright evil at worst, or at best, so incredibly ignorant and lacking self awareness one wonders how they manage to even tie their shoe laces in the morning.
Welcome to humanity Ark! Maybe the truth of who we really are will give you a tiny peek into why we cannot save ourselves. We’re never going to progress, evolve, and magically become good people. Imagine there’s no heaven It’s easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today (ah ah ah.) Even if the words in that love song ever came true, the world would simply then be filled with a bunch of secular asshats. Probably worse, because without a standard of morality to fall short of, we’re limited by nothing but our imaginations, always redefining right and wrong, always finding new and adventurous ways to obtain our little bliss hits of emotional power.
Arkenaten continues, “But these people truly believe they are acting upon the words of the bible/Jesus. How does one demonstrate that their view is incorrect, when, after all, they consider they are warning others in case they also end up burning in hell for eternity. While we both agree their actions are despicable, how can we know they are wrong?”
Right again! These people do believe they are acting upon the words of the bible and of Jesus. That’s what Rachel Held Evans book “Biblical Womanhood” was really all about. It was basically satire, mockery, as if to say, listen up you fools, this is a great piece of literature, a collection of poetry, legends, and myths. You linear thinkers are not supposed to be interpreting every single thing in a literal sense! There is this huge chasm between believing the bible is the literal word of God…..and believing every single word is meant to be translated literally. God wishes to gather you beneath His feathers as a mother hen gathers her chicks. That is the in the bible, that is the literal word of God. This does not mean God is a literal chicken, the Great Cosmic Chicken of the Sky.
The second part of Ark’s question, “How does one demonstrate that their view is incorrect…..” I don’t know, Ark. What even makes it incorrect? Without the Lord’s word, without His example, without the way He walked in the world, without the way He treated us, I have no frame of reference in which to label this behavior wrong.
I watched an eagle decimate a seagull the other day. He just made seagull nuggets right over my head and left me dodging dropping bird bits. Was that “wrong?” Was the eagle “bad?” Was it “sin?” Beyond a few vain imaginings and some silly sentimentalities, no. I got nothing, no standard in which to condemn the eagle.
People in the absence of God, in the absence of a Savior, in the absence of some kind of Divine example of who we should be and how we should walk the world, are really no different then that eagle. Evangelicals have been all over social media gleefully declaring Rachel Held Evan’s new residency in hell because it makes them feel all powerful and morally superior. Because it’s fun. Because it’s how they win friends and influence people. Because they believe it is acceptable and they think they can get away with it. Because it distracts them from the darkness within their own selves.
Because a huge majority of Christians are totally depraved asshats who have simply grabbed a bible in the hopes of gaining some power and influence among the other humans? The first way you do that is by casting out all the undesirables, and making sure you rule everyone with fear, power, and control, so everyone falls into line, anxious to fit in.
Because atheists aren’t the only ones who fancy themselves little stone gods.
As to the last part of Ark’s comment, the best part of all, “While we both agree their actions are despicable, how can we know they are wrong?” Because…….Jesus Christ. Because their actions fall so short of what He spoke about and what He taught. He said to love your neighbor, to pray for your enemies, to bless those who curse you. It was so contrary to human nature, so illogical, so scandalous, such a radical notion, people stood up and listened.
We’re still here, listening today. And yep, some Christians are real lunkheads and some are probably not even “Christians” at all. And some are still in process, still just mean spirited and ignorant of how they relate to others. They often see their faith more as a weapon they can use against other people, rather then an intimate personal relationship with their Creator.
Far too much of what many Christians believe about hell really comes from “Dante’s inferno” and assorted other pieces of literature, rather than the bible. Those who insist that everyone they disagree with be tossed into an eternal lake of fire for perpetual punishment aren’t actually following Jesus Christ, they’re following Cain, they’re being humans consumed by sin, wishing eternal torment and continuous death on those who might have a better offering then they do.
Hell is just our state of being already, it is spending eternity with our own selves, it is being given over to who and what we really are absent God and salvation. If you’ve seen enough hell on earth, you usually develop the eyes to see and the wisdom to know that God is not standing by threatening to send dissenters to hell. He knows we’re walking in it already. He came to give us life and life abundant, life eternal, a better way, once actually called The Way. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
You want to really freak an evangelical out and get yourself labeled a heretic, just mention that historically, back in the day before antibiotics, when someone was injured we built a fire next to them and we wrapped their wounds in Sulphur. People flocked to hot springs for healing, in part because of the Sulphur. Our God is a consuming fire, a refining fire, like one would use to remove the dross from gold. We built fires in temples not to burn people alive, but to purify and cleanse, to represent healing and the Holy Spirit, the eternal fire. To send someone to fire and Sulphur actually meant to heal them, to purify them, to restore them to life. God is a God of restoration, not eternal damnation.
But the short answer to all these questions really is, because people are idiots, prone to stupidity and glorified violence, wanting God’s stamp of approval on their own foolishness and quests for power. We desperately need good leadership and a Savior.
And that is what I think about all that, Ark. It’s not “baffling” at all, it’s boring and redundant, it’s human behavior that has been repeating itself for thousands of years. If people wanted to surprise the hell out of me, to throw me into a state of complete bafflement, they’d just be kind to one another, love their neighbor, and actually follow what Jesus Christ taught.