It’s good to be good; to be good for its own sake,
not for material or eternal rewards.
But let me ask you, if there was no heaven; and a voice bid, “do good”
Would you care if or not it was God’s?
Religion is a dicey topic. Of course it should be. It’s what defines some people’s entire perception of their existence. Shaming one religion is like talking to an individual and saying, “Look here, you. Yes you… your beliefs are worthless, and therefore your way of life… that means basically you yourself as a person are worthless, but hey, it doesn’t matter: because here’s how I think, and you have the opportunity to adopt it just because I say so. How do I know I have the truth for sure? Because I believe, that’s why. What’s that? You say you believe in something too? No, no, it doesn’t count. Yours is a false belief. Your existence is pointless. Here, have a tract.”
It’s amusing to recall that I’ve been told by some “evangelists” on quite a number of occasions point blank that I was going to go to hell if I didn’t key into their, well… what’s a kind word to use now… ah let me see… yes, their “philosophies”. These are, by the way, the same people who so lovingly claim to want to save my soul. But anyway, the greater number of milder mannered individuals in comparison, who care to share their message with kindness, cause me not to kill the messenger, but instead take the message. (Yes, even the sweet-sickly, condescending – but at least honest-intentioned – type of message as given to a head of livestock being appraised by the giver of the news as a lost sheep.)
Given the backdrop of “end-of-the-world” messages, prevalent door to door preaching and social media evangelism, an important question to first ask would perhaps be that if Jesus himself could not convince most of the people of his time: who saw him work, who heard him, who watched his wonders, to believe that he was the son of God; then who is a mere follower of his – who more often than not, doesn’t even understand the full extent of the message Christ preached – to convince the people of this modern age to believe in him; a time less forgiving of assumptions and self-convinced assertions without requisite evidence to justify said spiel.
So a valiant attempt is made by the believers to explain God to those they interact with; the ones they wish to come to know him. But therein lies a challenge of sorts, since faith is a prerequisite for belief in God, and it is this belief that is what goes ahead to strengthen faith: A cycle that the “uninitiated” – who the well meaning evangelists wish to convert – cannot very easily tap into, considering the predisposition to favouring a more logical approach to things; putting further strain on an already worn-thin rope of explanation; as even trying to explain God in a purely rational way is laughable.
Scratch that, trying to “explain” God and his ways AT ALL is ridiculous. As evinced in the: “God works in mysterious ways”, “his ways are above our ways” and “his thoughts are above our thoughts” one is bound to hear in some apologists defence or other. It is as productive as trying to enamour a rationalist with the ways of idealist philosophy.
Not to mention the constant eventuality where the rope is finally snapped; being that the real truth is that most of our intentions are driven by ego; and much of what is said is for the sake of who wins the argument, who is right in the end, who has the better on who; who is the sane-minded individual and who is the indoctrinated fool that believes in the fables of a document purported to contain the words of the son of a carpenter with claims to divinity; compiled according to the orders of a pagan king.
Jesus was a Jew, and he didn’t actually criticize Judaism itself. As far as I know, he went to the synagogue and taught there on occasion, also even from childhood interpreting the law and “speaking with much authority”. Indeed, what he did was to criticize the ways of life of the supposed upholders of the law, their harsh interpretations of it, their hypocrisy, their hate, their lies and self-deception, their holier-than-thou and judgmental attitudes.
It is not surprising to note that they did not like him very much, and plotted to kill him. But it was all part of the plan.
Well, Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to add to it; so he made things ready, got to the crux of his mission (no pun intended) and ultimately gave the people who believed in him his body to eat and his flesh to drink, so that they may have eternal life; and instructed them to continue this act in every sense of the word. He bestowed on his apostles the proxy to turn bread into his body and wine into his blood.
We have reached the fun part: The apostles actually began to spread this gospel to the ends of the earth.
It was almost as if Jesus’ followers were begging to be ridiculed. If you don’t get the point, read the previous paragraphs again. Jesus at least had the street credibility of performing miracles like raising people from the dead and feeding multitudes, so that for each person who found his words “a hard teaching” to abide, there could be found another who believed him “in spirit and in truth”. But thankfully Jesus did not leave them high and dry. He sent them the Holy Spirit, and so they could speak in tongues, work wonders and do exploits that all may be amazed.