I wonder how many people there are out there who were, like I was, raised in an “End Times” sort of church.
I have always wondered what was wrong with those folks.
Given the nationwide earthquakes yesterday, I know that church folk like those I knew as a child are highly agitated, even more so than usual given that such uncommon events are precursors of the coming Apocalypse they and their ilk preach about. I’m certain they are out there right now, trying to convert “heathens” such as myself to blindly (blithely?) follow some God; forcing them to “repent” of every sin imaginable, whether their intended convert committed any or not; brainwashing folks who were otherwise just minding their own business to believe that everything they do is punishable by death, eternal pain, and flames. Every Sunday, and any other day one goes to such a church, one hears the same sermon; We are living in the “end times”, “time is running out”, “sinners will suffer” “only the righteous prevail”. Every Sunday, the same message: If you’re not a “Christian”, you’re going to Hell.
The flaw in their thinking, for me, is this: If the “end is nigh”, and one has to make oneself right with whatever God there is so that one does not go to whatever Hell there is, shouldn’t that God know that one only went through the motions because one’s time was up? That the only reason for the effort was so that one could reap the rewards of righteous living that didn’t happen? Wouldn’t this God know that the effort was insincere? Wouldn’t an omnipotent God know better? And, given that this all-powerful God punishes liars, as these folks consistently say, wouldn’t the end result be that the convert would go to Hell anyway because they are liars? Since they only took God seriously at the last-minute, when it was too late to live a “saintly” lifestyle and fix their flaws?
More importantly if, as I seem to be arguing, this line of thought is wrong, doesn’t that mean that the Christians are wrong? What does it mean if this God can’t see through the lie? Doesn’t that also mean that there is something wrong with their god?
Therefore, I have to ask, why bother? Does it pay to fit into the box? What is this “righteousness” they speak of? If one is righteous, and righteousness is what is required to attain Paradise; if time really has run out, isn’t the saint gambling with their own opportunity to reach Paradise by encouraging the uninitiated to lie to God? Don’t they also risk exclusion from Heaven by being, in the end, the very person they excluded for so long?
This is the crux of the issues I have always had with Christians and Christianity. How can one live with a God who is so completely, totally imperfect, not to mention capricious? If the point of Christianity is to reach some sort of Heaven or Paradise, and if the only way to get there is by fitting into some sort of tightly limiting parameters that the righteous themselves cannot easily fit into if at all, what is the point of going through the motions? Nobody, not even the most Christian of Christians can get there. And isn’t that place pretty empty? It would seem that the God everyone is being pushed to worship can’t even get in.