I fancy myself a fiction writer, and as such would like to spend this time together engaging in some: what would Jesus do? It’s an interesting question, to me anyway.
Let’s pretend like Jesus (Christ, I mean—the magic Jesus—not the guy who wears expensive cowboy hats every Sunday) was a real guy. From what I’ve heard, he was a bit of a rebel. He rejected Roman and religious authority and preached a doctrine of peace (we’ll get to that in a moment.) He recommended people stop the eye-trading nonsense and turn the other cheek. And when the Romans grew fearful of this freethinker and cried for him to cease and desist, did he? Hell, no. He kept right on going until they tacked him up on what might as well have been a middle finger to everyone who ever doubted him.
I’d love to believe that. I like the stories of Jesus being called “The Wicked Priest” because he fought church dogma and taught compassion in the face of ceaseless cruelty. Buddha (and other Christ-like figures who predate Jesus) would be proud. If that were the whole story of Mr. J, I’d steal one of those “WWJD” bracelets for myself. Unfortunately, however, there’s more.
Jesus, who won’t retaliate if you punch him in the face, will burn your literally GD soul forever if you don’t obey him. Surrender to him or it’s infinity in Satan’s barbeque (naturally, I’m sticking to a literal interpretation of the story—don’t take any of this too seriously.) So, this rejecter of authorities and preacher of peace (hippie) demands total submission or he’ll subject you to endless torment.
God, if He exists, is greater than I am. He should be able to love more deeply than I can. Why then, does He punish His children for eternity? When my children misbehave, I punish them, but I could never find it in my heart to punish them forever.
My point? Maybe a literal reading of the Bible (and other religious stories) isn’t the way to go. They’re great stories (I’ve heard), and like all good fiction, they contain profound truths, but it’s vital to remember they’re just stories. If they’re not, I’m in real trouble.