Let me start with this, my statement of beliefs; if your faith or religion makes you a more loving, caring, kinder, and compassionate person to ALL creatures and creation on this Earth then I believe, if there is a heaven, you are headed in the right direction.
If your faith or religion makes you a judgmental, righteous, hate spewing prick to those that are different from you, to those that don’t follow your path, to those that don’t believe as you do, if you spend all your energy and breath condemning and trying to convert rather than helping and loving then if there is a hell I believe you too are headed in the right direction.
We have a very small religious television station in our community. The technology they employ is just on the edge of the 1960’s but in color. Most of the programming they air is infomercials, old black and white television series like the Roy Rogers show and the Rifleman, paid programming from televangelist such as Ernest Angley and my favorite, backwoods church services that look like they are recorded on VHS tape.
I pass these little churches deep in the country when I skip church and ride my bicycle on Sunday mornings. These simple and modest structures with gravel parking lots dot the landscape of the country roads I travel. The message being taught behind most of these doors and the message typically displayed on their marquee out front is of a vengeful God, a God of wrath, of fire and destruction for those who chose a path different than the one this congregation interprets as correct.
Now typically the parking lots of these churches aren’t packed with cars or trucks, maybe ten or fifteen total. So if you figure three people per vehicle, maybe there are 30 to 45 people attending the service hearing the fire and brimstone sermon each Sunday. That doesn’t seem like a lot but these little churches are everywhere, in every corner of this nation and anyone can start a church and it seems at times, at least in my community, anyone does.
2,000 years have passed and it still hasn’t happened. For 2,000 years leaders have been preaching a message of fear, of staying in line, the end is near, we can only save ourselves. Sodom and Gomorrah, false prophets, the mark of the beast, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
2,000 years and we still haven’t brought the Kingdom to the people here on Earth as Jesus asked. Why is that? Why do so many in the Christian faith community focus on condemning and converting rather than loving and helping? What are the lessons they are trying to impart on the rest of us by their actions and their words? I hear the same argument all the time, that there are more “good” Christians than “bad” ones. It’s funny though, the “bad” ones speak loud, and the “good” ones speak softly. Maybe it’s time you “good” Christians changed that. Don’t wait 2,000 more years.