The Jesus problem

The ‘toe-the-line’ Christian propaganda is: accept Jesus Christ as your ‘personal Savior’ or burn in Hell. There are people who genuinely believe this, and if you don’t, it can be a bit difficult to hear anything helpful in the rest of what the proselytizers have to say. This is awkward for those of us who love Jesus but think he can take care of himself; who believe when he professed to love everybody he meant it. I think there may well be a Hell, but I don’t believe anyone goes there forever.

In fact, the ‘hang-with-our-own-crowd’ Christians are pretty easy to ignore (except by friends and loved-ones rejected in their pursuit of perfection). They’ll think of you as a sort of walking dead, and you’ll feel pretty much the same about them. The Jesus problem is different. The Jesus problem is: he’s right. If you don’t accept what he has to say, you’re just not going to make it as a contented adult. Because what he says is: you need to accept people as they are, you need to care for those different from yourself, you need to regard your own faults before tearing into the fellow across the street, you need to be kind, charitable, and forgiving. And on and on.

If you try to show your disdain for the holy-roller on your doorstep, you can sound like you oppose any basic goodness at all (and this has become an enthusiastic theme in popular ‘culture’). For their part, the ‘only us’ Christians have to swallow the nonsense so many otherwise wonderful human beings will eternally soak in flaming tar pits. As I mentioned, I think Jesus can take care of himself. He’s a great and wonderful human being, and he’s right. If you don’t want him hanging around with you in eternity, or you don’t want eternity at all, I’ll still be happy if you marry my children.

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