KingMidget's Ramblings

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A Rant for Sunday


If you are a person of faith, particularly a Christian and you may be offended by those who think otherwise, read no further.  Which, of course, for most people, is like saying, “KEEP READING!”  Just consider yourself forewarned.  This is a rant.  About “Christians.”

Over the past few months, there seems to have developed a proliferation of people doing this…

IMG_0476

In case you can’t read it, the sign reads “I Confess the Lord Jesus.  Amen.”

This is at the major intersection closest to my house.  There’s also a guy with a similar sign who has been appearing at the corner right by my office for some time now.  The guy in the picture points at every driver and asks them to honk.  I’ve driven by him several times now and when I don’t honk, he insults me.  Today, while I sat in the left turn lane, he looked at me and said “you a hecka idiot.”  Or something like that.  I know this — he was looking at me, I wasn’t honking, and “you” and “idiot” were in his statement, and “are not” wasn’t.  This is the second time I have driven by this guy and not honked and had him say something to me.

Meanwhile, the church near my neighborhood has a message board.  This week’s message:  “God Only Wrote One Book.  Maybe You Should Read It.”

I have written before about this church’s message board.  (Here and here and probably a couple of more times as well.)

What I will never understand and will always have a problem with is why certain members of faith feel that they have to put their message out and in my face.  What they have is a faith.  They do not have a fact.  They do not have anything other than what they personally believe and they should keep it to themselves.  I’ve been a non-believer my entire life.  Even when I went to church as a child, I don’t recall having strong feelings of belief in the whole story of Jesus Christ, God, and the rest of it.  When I turned 18, I stopped going to church and have been entirely comfortable with my lack of belief ever since.

A month or so ago I started reading How Jesus Became God.  I didn’t finish the book but I learned a fascinating thing in the first couple of chapters.  Something I had never heard before.  I believe that there is a historical figure, named Jesus, who lived about 2,000 years ago.  I won’t quibble with that.  It’s the rest, of course, that I disagree with.  The interesting thing about this book is that it revealed for me that around the time that this Jesus figure was alive, there were many (MANY!) other individuals wandering around the Middle East who claimed to be prophets, whose followers claimed performed miracles, and whose followers claimed were resurrected.  In fact, resurrection was an incredibly common claim of the day, but is in fact most likely explained not by the actual fact of a resurrection, but instead by those followers feeling the presence of their leader after the leader’s death.  Think about it.  When somebody close to you dies, don’t you feel something at some point.  Something that feels like they are still with you.  It’s that type of feeling, maybe a little deeper, a little more profound, that turned into resurrection tales.

What’s my point?  Jesus was one of many prophets.  His life story, as put to paper in the bible, was not written by God.  It was written by men who used his teachings to push an agenda, to push an idea.  The idea that somehow he, out of all the prophets the world has produced is the Son of God and we should follow him is something that can only be founded on faith and desire and need.  But, it is certainly not founded on anything related to fact or actual truth and reality.

Believe in his teachings.  I’m good with that. (I actually believe in many of them, probably more than most people who claim they are Christians — I saw a beautiful thing on Facebook the other day, it basically said that if Jesus was alive today, Fox News and Republicans would accuse him of being a socialist weirdo from the Middle East who wants to take over the world and give it to the poor.)  But, please, please stop putting your belief and your faith in my face.

In the Sacramento area, and in a few other places, atheist organizations have started to put their message on billboards.   I wish they wouldn’t (see this for what I think of atheist organizations), for the same reason I wish Christians would worship in their own space and in their own way and leave me the hell out of it.  But, here’s what’s interesting.  Read the article I linked to, read the quote from the Catholic Priest.  Oh, never mind, I’ll provide it to you here:

“I don’t take it as offensive so much as it doesn’t make sense trying to do a thing like that,” he said.

“I don’t know that you have to go to these lengths to push it down people’s throats by trying to put it out there, where there’s no way to escape it,” Kiernan continued.

See that.  It’s OK for churches to have message boards.  It’s OK for people to wander the streets with signs proclaiming their faith in Jesus Christ.  It’s OK to call people who don’t honk idiots.  (Yes, I’m sure the priest wouldn’t condone that, but I’m also willing to bet that there are plenty of “Christians” who wouldn’t have a problem with me being called an idiot because I didn’t honk.)  But it is not OK for atheists to post their message.  It’s stunning really.  As much as I don’t support the idea of the atheist billboards, I love how their existence has once again exposed the hypocrisy of the other side.
One final word — I have absolutely no problem with people of faith.  There are many of you out there who I consider to be my friends, to be talented bloggers and writers, to be good people, and who contribute greatly to my life.  I could sit down with most of you and have an incredible dialog about your beliefs and mine, share ideas, and walk away comforted and more knowledgeable by the conversation.  This post is not meant for you.  It’s meant for the people out there, who are of faith, and who insist that they must constantly push their message, their beliefs, that they are the only ones who could possibly be right.  No, this is personal.  Keep it personal.

 

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14 responses to “A Rant for Sunday

  1. Charles Yallowitz June 1, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Interesting post. I tend to shy away from religious conversations, but I’ve seen a church with that same message on the front board thing. I actually asked someone who goes to that church if they thought it was too pushy. What I was told was that the message meant for people claiming to be good Christians and not acting out the basic tenants to read the Bible. That might just be here or this person’s translation. Honestly, I don’t really understand those message things for religious buildings. I’m Jewish and haven’t gone to a temple since my teen years. I drive by one and all the front board talks about is bingo night.

    • kingmidget June 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      There are various parts of the Christian faith that consider proselytizing to be a part of their obligation as a member of the faithful. Those really are the people that I’m done with. Well, and the hard-core, rightwing Christianists who insist that we are a Christian nation and must live accordingly.

      • Charles Yallowitz June 1, 2014 at 7:16 pm

        I’ve always wondered about the proselytizing part of Christianity. More thinking about how it came about and turned into a desire to absorb everyone. This makes me think that back in its earlier days, the religious leaders made it a tenant to keep the church growing and surviving. After all, weren’t they hunted back when they started? Stating that conversation is a major part of the religion would be a sensible way to keep things going in the face of persecution. Unfortunately, it’s no longer needed has become a point of irritation for anyone not of their faith. At least that’s the drunken ideas that my friends and I came up with in college.

      • kingmidget June 1, 2014 at 7:21 pm

        Yes. I’m pretty sure it was a part of the faith in the beginning because of the need to attract followers and grow. But, there is also the reality that if one is a true believer in certain aspects of Christianity than one must believe it important to “save” as many people as possible — in other words, doing good deeds means and includes converting people, because you’re saving them by doing so.

      • Charles Yallowitz June 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm

        Sad how some things were unintentionally designed to go extinct. Times change and everything has to change with them.

  2. Linuxgal June 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    That’s precisely how I became an atheist, I sat down and read the Bible. I mean, really read it, not just cherry picked verses out of it.

    • kingmidget June 1, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      I never managed to read the whole thing. I just have a problem with people subscribing “fact” to what it says and insisting that others should accept it as fact.

      But then I don’t believe in ghosts either.

  3. justmoo33 June 4, 2014 at 3:04 am

    Well said. I’m an atheist and don’t like atheists acting in what I would describe as a fashion akin to a religious following. Old Richard Dawkins for example – he can sound like a ranting preacher if ever there was one!

    • kingmidget June 4, 2014 at 6:40 am

      Yep. Richard Dawkins is a good example of an atheist worth frowning on.

      • justmoo33 June 7, 2014 at 1:25 am

        Lol. Just don’t get him started on children and religious education!

      • kingmidget June 7, 2014 at 9:01 am

        I read your comment a little bit ago and had this thought … what’s interesting is that these “loud” Christians expect atheists and everybody else to be quiet. And when they aren’t quiet, somehow they are at war with Christians. But those “loud” Christians are incapable of recognizing that they are doing the same thing to everybody else. All I want is for everybody to be quiet on this topic. Worship as you wish, believe as you wish, just don’t put it in my face, and treat me as a lesser person because I don’t share in your belief or faith.
        Quiet … we should all strive for a little more of that.

      • justmoo33 June 7, 2014 at 9:50 am

        I agree totally. Humanity – you’ve got to love us – isn’t exactly known for being a quiet species. Perhaps we should aim to get reincarnated as rabbits. Oh, sorry – assuming we believe in that sort of thing 😉

  4. Philip Walter June 7, 2014 at 11:59 am

    ….. Amen…..

    If you have faith all good. You have it I don’t need it. I have my own personal things and none if them involves a made up thing, voices in my head, or selective quote mining.

    Good on you for standing your ground, I know that in ‘merica you have a much more radical and vocal believer faction than we do in NZ.

    Churches can be good for community (not the Westbro one though), but that’s a whole otter kettle of fish.

    • kingmidget June 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Yes. I have no objections to people of faith. I have no objections to churches. They do a lot of good. I just wish they would be as quiet about their faith as they expect the rest of us to be about ours.

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