Duluth, Minnesota, on July 4th, was a beautiful respite from the searing heat that blanketed the rest of the state. Right over the ridge that separated the Iron Range from Lake Superior, the temperature was an uncomfortable 98 degrees. The humidity brought the heat index to 110 and the mosquitos were out in bunches, ready to suck the blood of anyone without eight arms to slap them away.
Duluth was 62 degrees with a light wind and an occasional drip from a passing cloud. Our six children enjoyed the cool breeze blowing in off the lake and the lack of mosquitos in the lakeside rose garden. We settled down on a brick circle to wait the three hours until the fireworks show and ate doughnuts.
100 yards away, I noticed a young man climbing onto a large rock. I would expect that from a child, but not this grown man. Then he started to yell.
“Jesus loves you!”
The crowd around us groaned. Many began to move away, pretending they had been walking past all along.
“God loves you! Put away your earthly lusts and follow Christ!”
Apparently, nobody told this gentleman that the common man does not quite understand Christian jargon. Earthly lusts? We're at a freaking fireworks show! Maybe that's evil? On and on he went, Ray Comfort style.
“You say you’ve never murdered anyone, but Jesus says that hating your brother is the same. Have you murdered someone?”
Way to put a guilt trip on everyone, buddy. No wonder Christians and those who are yelled at by Christians, walk around looking over their shoulder, finding a rat under every cream puff.
But, guilt aside, there is a deeper problem with this theology than meets the eye. According to Christianity, if one gets saved through Jesus Christ (also jargon, not understood by the common man), they can go to heaven. Yes, this includes the guy who rapes his children, slits their throats, slices their limp bodies into pieces, eats them, shoots himself in the head, and then, with his last dying breath, calls upon the name of the lord (also jargon). Yes, he gets to go to heaven while the tribal Amazonian who never heard of the name, Jesus Christ, was a damn good father, a great husband to all of his wives, a considerate and masterful lover, and a dedicated grower of all the tribe’s food, dies and burns in hell for eternity.
Forget the liar that is just as bad as the murderer. Jesus’ moral compass was a tad off. A murderer deserves to pay for his actions while a liar deserves a slap and sometimes a medal.
“For the wages of sin is death! Know the truth and the truth shall set you free!”
Says who!? Ah yes, the Bible. The holy book revered by western societies and other small pockets of the world, but not used by Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Skeptics, Atheists, Agnostics, and the Aliens that brought us Scientologists. Why that book and its truisms (which, many times, aren’t so truismism) instead of the Rigveda?
“Will you turn to Christ and follow him today!”
Where!? That dude over there with the long hair? Is that Jesus! Yeeehoo…oh no…wait….he’s using jargon again. Dad blammit.
“Thank you for your time!”
Actually, despite destroying the peace of the evening, which he has every right to do, this gentleman was non-confrontational, pious, obviously sincere, and seemed to feel as if he loved people in his own unique way – though clouded by his bible-based outlook on life.
He was a decent man. One day, I hope to meet him and explain to him that God doesn’t require this embarrassing act of his. He can be a good guy and not feel guilty that the fireworks crowd’s blood is on his hands (also jargon).
Maybe I can show him how his god lies and then requires us not to lie, holding up lying as a sin as evil as murder. Maybe I can show him how his god is a serial murderer and takes pleasure in the death of others. Maybe he’ll change his mind one day.
The crowd let out a sigh of relief and the show was on the road.