Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Will Not Give In To Any Religion Of Fear

As 6pm approached on Saturday wherever you happen to live, you most likely fell into one of two camps. Firstly, there are those who from the outset recognized Harold Camping's apocalyptic predictions as nonsense and you had some fun with it. But perhaps you found yourself in a second group who, while also believing his predictions were foolish, you found yourself asking "What if?" I found myself in the second group a couple of times over the past 2 days.

The Rapture and the end times were always events that I was fixated on while growing up as an evangelical Christian. I ate up books about The Mark of the Beast, and books authored by Grant Jeffrey, and I even caught cheesy 70's movies based on the end times. I got so worked up about things and so afraid, even though I was a Christian, that I would occasionally get up in the middle of the night to peek into my parents room to make sure they were still on the planet - true story. I was always afraid that I hadn't been good enough and that I had been left behind.

But I will no longer subscribe to any religion that wields fear as a weapon, particularly eternal damnation. Indeed, the question of Hell was one of the first big theological questions to come to my mind which in turn led me to leave evangelicalism 10 years ago. "Are people really going to be cast into a lake of fire if they don't believe in Jesus? And who is to say who really believes in Jesus correctly?" Others ask "How could a loving God send people to Hell," and they are often met with the clever response "God doesn't sent people to Hell, people do that themselves." I now believe that the concept of Hell was originally conjured up in order to scare people into believing whatever the powers that be wanted their followers to believe. What better image to scare "the Hell" out of people than to tell them that if they don't believe a) b) & c) that they will burn in an everlasting lake of fire. Finally, on the topic of Hell, people tend to liken God as to a Father. If this is the case, which parent among you has ever sent their child to their room...eternally. A literal Hell is just as ridiculous.

I will no longer be scared into believing anything. Instead I will be drawn in by love, kindness, inclusivity, and peace. Could I be wrong on some of my views? Sure, and that's fine by me. But I will not threaten those who disagree with my religious views with an everlasting lake of fire or impending doom.