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…
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.