For a long time, I’ve been puzzled by the hatred against Christians. I have more than a few devoutly Christian friends and acquaintances, and they’re far from obnoxious, and very often, they’re very, well, Christian: eager to help others regardless of creed, striving to live up to their own moral standards, and engaged in their community. When religion comes up, I can talk about mine, and ask questions about theirs, and we’re listening to each other. Sometimes they invite me to their churches, and sometimes I go, and sometimes I don’t. It really doesn’t matter, because I’m confident in my religion, and I believe they’re confident in theirs, so there’s no point in arguing religious superiority.
Today, I was shopping at the mall with my children, and they found a floor video game they wanted to play. Nearby was a booth labelled “God Talk,” which I mistakenly believed was associated with the KGO radio show, which in my experience, is talking about Christianity (and other religions as they relate to Christianity) with an open mind. They had a book, so I thought while I was letting my children play, I’d ask them if they had any recommendations on a good, non-proselytizing book on Christian philosophy. So far I haven’t found anything I can use in a good way with Neil. The best so far has been a Teaching Company course on Christianity, but it, like most of the best non-preachy sources I’ve seen, is very much on a college level. Neil’s smart, but he’s still only 9.
I soon realized how stupid I was for expecting an intelligent answer from anyone working a kiosk at the mall. Before I could even phrase my question, one of the staffers asked me to fill out a questionaire with questions like “Do you believe in Jesus?” and “Do you want us to pray for you?” As I stared, incomprehendingly at the questions, I explained that I was a Buddhist. After being asked a few stupid questions like “how do you deal with sin?” I got lit into. The final upshot was that if Buddhism is right, we’ll all get reincarnated, but if Christianity is right, I’ll go to hell unless I’m Christian (and believe everything the Bible says)…so I’d have better odds at the afterlife lottery by being a Christian. Uh, if I had such a cynical view of religion, wouldn’t my odds be even better if I were a Muslim? Unfortunately, playing such a game would mean having to hang out with self-righteous Bible-thumping Christians like the one in front of me or having to wear ugly Muslim clothes for the rest of my (earthly) life, inspired only by the fear of a hell I don’t believe in, so I think I’ll just stick with the Buddhists, thanks.
Does this “you’re going to HELL if you don’t believe in JESUS” angle actually work with anyone? I think I’m going to not ask Christians I don’t know for advice on good Christian philosophy books any more. And yes, I was a total ‘tard for thinking all kinds of Christians are cool like my friends.