Tag Archives: story

What would Jesus spread?

Yes folks it’s the commercialization of Jesus. This first became visible to me with the WWJD bracelets that popped up in gas stations and flea markets everywhere. I doubt that a single penny went to the ministry. Outside of the obvious irony is the idea that mortals could even do what Jesus would do. I am sure that we would love to feed the hungry with a basket of fish and loaves.

So I say why stop there? So many products could dominate the marketplace with the King of Jews as their pitch man. Why drink bottled water when you can drink holy bottled water? Whose face do you want to see on your angel food cake? The point is, this is capitalism and no one is cashing in. Come on man!

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Coming to a church near you!

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I drove by this beauty on the long way home after work this week. These type of signs and more importantly, the message within them are ubiquitous in the lawns of churches everywhere. I often chuckle while reading the clever sayings. The classic “No Jesus no peace, know Jesus know peace.” Clever indeed! Sometimes they say odd things like “What it is, is what it is, and that’s what it is.” Maybe these churches subscribe to some service that gives you these clever things to put out front. It must a lot of pressure to keep them fresh.

The sign above however, plays on fear. Reminding the reader, it’s heaven or hell for eternity. Do you really have to throw that out there to draw them inside? Lets play nicer on the signs, ok?


Atheist in the Foxhole Part 2

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After settling in the country for the next 4 months, I noticed something very revealing about the Saudis.  When it was prayer time, like clockwork they were all praying.  No matter where they were, I would see groups of them on the side of the road lined-up, left to right praying to towards Mecca.  I was amazed at how faithful they were to their religion.  I wondered, how could there be this other “culture” of people who didn’t have Jesus as their savior?  This is not possible is it?  Why would god let so many people in the world stray down the wrong path?  It must be horrifically unlucky to be born in a culture where Christianity hasn’t prevailed.

Over time I become to accept them for who they were.  I even respected them for following their dogma so strictly.  I asked someone who had lived in Saudi for a while, why the people drive so fast creating devastating accidents?  He said, “If you die in an accident, it’s the will of Allah.”  The will of Allah?  Interesting.  Sort of a “if it happens, it happens.”  This same gentleman also said to me, “You know, Jesus is in the quran, not just in the bible.” “Only in the quran, he is a prophet.” I really found this interesting.  What was disheartening was the fact my own beliefs, were starting to crumble.

 

And so there I was, five months later, sitting in my foxhole.  I realized that spiritually I was no further along than I was entering the country.  Instead I rode a roller coaster of doubt where fear was steering the car.  This was a bad time to find faith.  Faith should be found in the still waters of your life.  Trying to find it hastily gives you little choice or ration in your decision.  I was reaching for something that wasn’t there for me.  It was pathetic.  And if there were a god, he would surely see through this desperate attempt to save myself from the eternal hell that salvation offered.  Oh sure Mike, come to me now when you are afraid of dying!  It was true, but as I looked around at my fellow Christians, a theme started to appear.  The more desperate you are, the more you need god.  It is why so many find faith behind bars.  What do you have to lose?  I have seen so many people who live an unchristian life until something happens and boy do they drop to their knees!  It’s like they pull god out of a drawer and dust him off when the shit hits the fan.  The safety net is if you do commit a sin, you can always pray for forgiveness and get back on the road to salvation.

 

So I am here to call bullshit.  I believe that evolution happened.  I don’t believe in a virginal birth.  I believe that it is not wise to follow or believe anything based upon one source.  I believe that anyone that tells you to believe in a certain way or face eternal damnation is cruel and heartless.  I believe that religion is corrupt and causes pain and death to mankind on a massive scale.  I believe that no one has the answers to life’s mysteries.  I believe that if you are a person of faith and live within the moral guidelines of your beliefs, then good for you.  I believe that a lot of people need religion to fill the gap created by the unknown, and that is ok.  But most of all, I believe in me.

 

Stay fearless my friends.

 


Atheist in the Foxhole Part 1

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I was a member of 2nd Brigade in the 82d Airborne Division in August of 1990.  We were the first ground troops to deploy to Saudi Arabia for the Desert Shield/Desert Storm conflict.  As Gen. Johnson put it, “We are drawing a line in the sand.”   With that said, we were wheels up, headed for the gulf.  The moment we arrived there was fear and tension in the air.  We knew as we landed, we were greatly outnumbered by the Iraqi forces just over the border.  If they attacked us at that point, all hell would have broken loose.  I am glad that Saddam balked at the opportunity.  For it wasn’t long before the follow-on forces were quickly streaming in behind us.

 

When thrust into a situation like this, it is not long before your look at your mortality.  In doing this, your mind imagines what will happen if you “buy the farm”.  You start to mourn the loss of your own life and what it will be like for the people you leave behind.  Do they truly know how I feel about them?  Will this change the course of their lives?  There is so much unfinished business when dying before your time, and with very little notice. 

 

After my mind played out several scenarios, I began to wonder about my “soul”.  I never had proclaimed myself to be saved by Jesus and had always hinged on being agnostic or atheist.  I had come to believe that heaven was too good to be true.  A fantasy ending – to a fairytale story.  But this situation was different, I had to be sure because we weren’t in Kansas anymore.  The stakes were higher than ever, you have to get this one right.  There is no turning back.  And there it was, a military issue bible in camouflage sitting on my cot.  Could the answer be in here?  I started to read.

 

I had read the bible, or parts of it in the past, but this time I needed to give it my full attention.  What I found was things that really didn’t make sense to me.  I could say the same if I was reading Shakespeare.  There are a lot of quotes and bits and pieces that make sense, but as a whole, I can’t put this all together.  They sure didn’t make it easy for the novice reader.  This is my soul we are talking about!  Thankfully there are guides to help you along your path.  Experts in the field to answer these questions and help guide you to salvation.  There are also a lot of common folk who have taken it upon themselves to interpret the bible in the way that they see fit.  I began to understand why there were so many different Christian based religions all based on the same book.  And if you were a part of one of these, you will be covered in the whole soul and afterlife department.  Good!