Easter and the Power of the Christian Message

Christian messageThis Easter Sunday morning, I woke up early and watched… the Jesus Film. This post contains my thoughts on the love of Jesus and the power of the Christian message. It’s not typical fare for this site, but my atheist friends, please bear with me… 🙂 The last time I saw the Jesus Film was in 1985 when I was 19 years old. My good friend Mike had just won me over to the Christian faith, and watching this film sealed the deal. I was extremely moved back then by the love of Jesus, and I still am today.

I invite my Christian friends to consider my thoughts. I invite my ex-Christian friends as well to consider my thoughts. I’m not asking either group of folks to agree with me. All I ask is your time and your thoughtful consideration. 🙂

I urge my Christian friends to consider the power of the message that they possess by faith. The story of Jesus is the story of LOVE. It’s the story of forgiveness. It’s the story of redemption. It doesn’t matter to me whether the stories we find in the Gospels are literally true or not. What matters to me is the power they have to change lives. These ancient stories that come down to us from a different time and a different place in history still have tremendous meaning and power today. Like many things in life, they can be used for good or they can be used for evil.

The Christian faith has motivated good people to accomplish great things in this world. But unfortunately, it has also been used to justify hatred. The first thing that comes to mind is Christians using their faith to vilify the Jewish people as the murderers of their Lord. Antisemitism is still a problem in the world today. Hitler used his Catholic faith to justify murdering six million Jews, and he made it clear that he believed that he was doing the Lord’s work. All of that was decades and centuries ago. But sadly, many Christians still use their faith as a vehicle for hatred. Jesus never said a single word about homosexuality, yet many prominent Christian preachers use their pulpits and their media outlets to preach hate against the gay community. A couple of the more extreme examples that comes to mind is a pastor in Arizona, I believe, who is openly calling for gays to be murdered. Another vocal pastor has called for gays to be rounded up and penned like animals so they can’t reproduce… but though most Christians don’t wish physical harm to come to gays, they make it clear that gays and lesbians are not welcome in their churches.

How incredibly, tragically sad is that? My understanding of the love of Jesus is that it is unconditional and that it is extended with open arms to EVERYBODY. That includes gays, lesbians, transgender folks, prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, the homeless, the mentally ill, and the list goes on and on… isn’t LOVE the most powerful force in the universe? How can it possibly be limited to a select few when EVERYBODY is in need of it?

Luke 10:27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Consider those words of Jesus. Has anything more powerful ever been spoken? Imagine what our world would be like if we as a species lived those words. What if we all believed in a God of Love and we dedicated our lives to living out that love towards others? And what about loving our neighbors as ourselves? Who is my neighbor? Sure, it’s the folks who live in my neighborhood, most of whom I’ve never even met. But my neighbors are also the citizens of my city and my state. And the circle grows wider to include the citizens of my country. And then it grows ever wider to include the citizens of all other countries on this planet. And it grows wider still to include every single human being currently living on this planet. My neighbor isn’t just the folks next door. My neighbor is EVERYBODY, and they are all equally deserving of my respect and my love.

If I had a church and I was publicly representing the Love of Jesus, guess who would be welcomed in my church with open arms? Yes indeed… ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY! And, in my opinion, that is how churches today should operate. Their doors should be open to EVERYBODY.

My Christian friends, do you realize what those of us on the outside of your faith looking in see when we look at your faith? We see it being used to spread hatred and bigotry. We see it being used to bilk those who can least afford it out of their money. We see it being used to build giant cathedrals and to buy jet airplanes for rich televangelists. Does Jesus need a jet plane? Do any of his followers need a jet airplane? No, of course not. In my opinion, those who claim the name of Christ need to wake up and realize that they have the most incredible message on earth. They have the potential to do tremendous good in the world. It is tragic beyond words that the greatest message the world has ever known is being used to spread hatred.

My message to Christian pastors is this: STOP USING YOUR PULPITS TO SPREAD HATE. USE THEM INSTEAD TO SPREAD LOVE! People in this world need LOVE. It is LOVE that they are looking for and it is LOVE that will win them over.
I am not currently a Christian, but I love the message of Jesus. This life is a battle that we have no choice but to engage in. Every moment of every day we are faced with the choice to do good or the choice to do evil. We can choose to reject those who are different than us, or we can choose to welcome them with open arms. We can choose to help others who are in need or we can choose to look the other way. The Love of Jesus as I understand it compels me to look at this world through the eyes of LOVE. The Love of Jesus compels me to do good and to help anyone I can in any way that I am capable of. It inspires and compels me to love everyone, regardless of their faith or their beliefs.

My Christian friends, you have an incredible gift to share. You have faith in a loving God and you have been shown incredible love. My suggestion to you, offered in love, is to get busy sharing it! Show God’s Love to EVERYBODY, not just people you are comfortable with. Your message, the Christian message, has the power to change lives and to change the world. Think about that reality and use it wisely and with love…

My 2 cents… if you’ve read this to this point, you are amazing and thank you. I don’t ask you to agree with me. I just ask that you consider my thoughts. Thank you, and I hope you have an awesome Easter Sunday.

We Atheists are the GOOD GUYS!

Just posted these thoughts on Facebook, but the Spook of Kryasst who is also somehow magically Him magically inspired me to post them here too. Glory!

We live in a world where religious insanity rules the day. Muslim fundamentalists blow themselves and others up by the hundreds (if not thousands), and wreak havoc in countries such as Iraq. And, of course, they do so in many other parts of the world as well. Christians blow up abortion clinics (though, thankfully, that hasn’t happened in a while that I am aware of) and loudly and proudly hate gays. Just recently, and quite publicly, prominent Christians have commented with a smile that homosexuals should be put to death (a megachurch pastor and a politician in Oklahoma). Christians in this country actively work to undermine our public educational system by insisting their ridiculous ancient religious myths receive “equal treatment” in our science classes alongside real, evidence-based, verifiable science. Ancient myths vs. REALITY? I don’t personally think there is much of a contest or a controversy…

Millions of people in this country and billions of people worldwide remain convinced, despite the complete and total lack of evidence for it, that there is an invisible man living in the sky who loves them and cares for them and will heal them of their illnesses (whether it be a hangnail or cancer) and take care of their problems large and small, and then welcome them to an awesome place for eternity, if they believe the right ancient myths in the correct way. Oh, and an ancient collection of contradictory myths and legends and bad “history” loaded down with atrocities and absurdities from the word “go” (Genesis 1:1) known as the Bible is “God’s Word” and is true forever for everyone regardless of the time in which they live or their culture. And, if you don’t believe this “Good Book” that is filled with atrocities and shocking violence and barbaric doctrines, you will go to a place called Hell forever to be tormented endlessly without any hope of reprieve — but God loves you!… Yeah, right.

But when I or other atheists dare to speak out publicly against this insanity, we are the bad guys? Excuse me? Give me a fucking break. We are NOT the bad guys. We are ones who CARE enough to speak out against the evil and insanity of religious belief and the suffering and havoc it causes all over the world. We are the GOOD GUYS, and we are out to save the world!

Yet, sadly, many Christians will watch movies such as “God is Not Dead”, which badly misrepresents atheists, and will accept the false and uninformed opinions expressed in it as the “Gospel Truth”. Something else that us GOOD GUYS must publicly speak out against and correct…

I reject religious belief totally and do not believe in God and I seriously doubt that there is an afterlife of any kind (though, admittedly, I find the NDE phenomenon intriguing). Yet I am not one of the bad guys. I am one of the GOOD GUYS, and yes, I am damned proud of it! I take a lot of healthy pride in being one of the GOOD GUYS who CARES enough to speak out! Glory!