What is it about Christianity that most of its believers want the rest of us to worship as they do? Christians are convinced that if Jesus isn't your Lord and Savior you're not getting into heaven.
Why's that? You mean to tell me that people living in the jungles of Brazil who don't know Jesus from a totem pole aren't going to heaven despite their humanity and their humble way of life? Do Christians ever think about that? And what about atheists? People who don't believe in gods or spirits or holy ghosts. People who don't feel the need to pray or follow the teachings laid out in a book more than two thousand years old. What happens to them? Do they all rot in hell because religion makes no more sense to them than a witch doctor with rattles cures cancer?
The Bible never mentions` the Earth is round or explains what the moon is. . It never mentions electrons, protons, DNA or other essentials important to life. If the Bible is the word of God, how come it never tells us what the sun is or where it came from? The Bible didn't say it was a star like all the other pinpoints of light in the night sky because when it sets the light disappears. Therefore, how could it be a star? It doesn't shine at night.
The Supreme Court will waste it's time taking up another issue this term regarding the legality of saying prayers before public meetings, such as those of the town council or the water board. The prayers ask for guidance from God. Do you think the Creator of the Known Universe cares whether or not dogs ought to be licensed or the water bills raised? Does God really have time to go over teacher contracts or blueprints for municipal improvements?
Moses is said to have parted the waters so God's chosen people could escape from the clutches of slavery. True believers argue that God intervened, giving Moses the power to alter the laws of physics. Many of the Ten Commandments are impossible to abide by. You have no conscious control of lusting after your neighbor’s wife. You see her and get turned on. You don't "will" yourself to ignore the feelings going on inside your body. You can decide not to pursue those feelings, but can't prevent yourself from having them.
The same goes for killing people. The Ten Commandments make no exemption for war. It says thou shall not kill. How many Christians worked on the atomic bomb, or joined the military, knowing full well they'd be going into combat to kill the enemy? How does Christianity justify the crusades?
When I was seven or eight years old I read the entire Bible. It was the most uninteresting, incomprehensible, and boring books I've ever read. I had to force myself to finish it. I didn't learn anything from reading the Bible anymore than I would have if I'd read the phone directory.
Religion brings great comfort to many people. That's fine. But the idea that saying a Christian prayer before a public meeting violates the separation of church and state and is one of the more egregious religious intrusions into the lives and beliefs of other citizens who aren't Christians. Keep prayer to yourself or openly worship in a church but not at a public meeting where people from all philosophy's, beliefs, and circumstances gather, not to hear a prayer, but to exercise their rights as citizens in an open democracy without the specter of religion hovering over them.
Before it became a popular sport to chase tornadoes in specially equipped vans, friends of mine and I used to do it all the time. As the skies darkened throughout the day, we monitored the weather reports on the radio. When we heard funnel clouds had been spotted in the southwestern part of the city, we jumped into our cars and took off. We knew that tornadoes travelled from the southwest to the northeast along a reliable line that was dubbed "tornado alley".
The air turned an eerie green color. Even though it's in the daytime, skies get so dark that streetlights come on and drivers have to use their headlights, most people stayed in their homes or, if a tornado was reported touching down, would flee to their basements and tuck themselves into a protective corner in case the house was ripped off its foundations. The winds become so violent that the tops of large trees would dip down to the ground. Branches would snap and power lines would sway back and forth like jump ropes. Lightning flashed and cracked. Thunder boomed. The front end of my car was pushed sideways by violent winds. Branches torn from trees flew through the air. It started to rain, then poured, making it difficult to see through the windshield.
I'd head for tornado alley, knowing that if a tornado did touchdown it would move in that direction. I kept the car radio on and listened as meteorologists tracked the storm. Funnel clouds formed but were sucked back up into the sky before they could reach the ground.
Once I reached the northeast, I drove to the high ground where a panoramic view of the city spread out below me. I'd watch the threatening skies as the storm raced through the air, waiting for the tornado.
Storms would often move so fast over the metropolitan area that tornadoes didn't have time to funnel down. Still, the winds were so fierce that pieces of shingling flew off roofs and huge signs were mangled and ripped from their mounts.
The storm passed over me as fast as it had formed. The wind and the rain settled down and the skies began to clear. I drove home and by the time I got there, the sun would be out as if nothing had ever happened.
A friend of mine and her sister lived in tornado alley. Their parents were out to dinner when a funnel cloud touched down in their neighborhood. She and her sister hopped into her parent’s bed and hid under the covers as ferocious winds slammed into the front of their home. The noise was deafening. When the winds passed and they crawled out from underneath the comforter, the bed they were in was in the front yard and the roof over the bedroom was torn off.
I was never caught in a tornado but I grew up with plenty of warnings. I'll always remember the wind, the warning sirens, and how the daylight vanished when the skies became black as night and the air turned green. And of course, as always, the lights went out and I was alone in the dark in the middle of the day.
DEAD ON ARRIVAL
Are you afraid to die?
Death is the oddball among the fascinating assortment of certainties faced by every human on this planet. While we're so familiar with living, we're strangers to death. We don't often think about death because frankly we really don't know anything about it. And while you can believe you'll float up through the clouds and find a plot for yourself in the real estate development of Milk and Honey, it's still a belief. There is no evidence whatsoever that such a place exists in any cosmic corner of the Universe.
Of course you can always argue that heaven is a "spiritual place" that exists in an entirely different dimension, accessible only by dying. An invisible kingdom of eternal peace and happiness.
The obvious fault in this assumption is that in the absence of unhappiness you have no way to of knowing what happiness is. Just as "no" is necessary for "yes" to exist as a word, being miserable is like a cloudy day. You know eventually you'll adapt or feel better and the cloudy skies of misery will give way to the shining sun.
We all know we’ll die but few of us obsess about it. I do wonder "how" I'll die, whether it will be a fatal accident or old age. I certainly don't want to die hooked up to life support while wasting away with a terminal illness. I want to go quickly. A slamming heart attack that puts me down humanely while I sleep. To me, that's the perfect way to pass.
People fear death so much they silently reaffirm themselves that their death, unlike others, will be merciful and painless. That they won't suffer in agony or die in a rude, chemical coma. That they won't be thirty thousand feet over Pittsburgh when both engines fail and the tail section breaks off.
The best way to deal with the fear of death is to die while you're still alive. Take time to think about the worst possible scenarios and emotionally experience them while your eyes are still open and not closed.
Death is a good friend. It dropped you off here and it’ll come back to pick you up.