"I don't care for Jesus personally, and I especially can't stand Christians," recently said some people who I hold fairly dear over some cheesecake and coffee.
"Then you don't know who Jesus is, and you ain't never really met a Christian, People like to think they are everywhere, but they ain't." I answered in my mind.
It wasn't that I was afraid to stand up for Christ in that moment; it was just I know when to argue a point and when I would just be scattering words out on the wind, and I have a deep-seated understanding, born out of experience, that windblown words don't carry all that much weight.
It does makes me wonder why people say such stupid shit to begin with, why they always have to say things like they have a problem with Christianity. Even the wisest atheists who ever lived (talk about a oxymoron) had big time, unresolved daddy issues. God didn't coddle their asses or show them how to drive, he didn't give them money for the tooth fairy, or talk to them about sex, so they developed a deeply rooted hatred for all things related to Daddy because he went off on a cattle drive and left them with their mother.
And then Christ and the religion that sprang up around him happened to be pissing everyone off down at the middle school, so he became an easy target of the pimply crowd and the girls with the stuffed brassieres. They taunted him in the hallways singing Cyndi Lauper songs when he walked by, and the boys in the locker room would taunt him too when he wouldn't listen to their dirty jokes.
His teachers didn't like him much because he always corrected their manners and made them feel guilty for lusting after one another's fleshy bits. The administrators hated him too and were told by their bosses to keep him in Saturday School six days a week, not to let him use the library, and to suspend his internet account. They were also warned not to let him speak in class or to read any of his words that were written on paper. And he couldn't find any peace in the very churches that bore his name because so many of them were filled with judgement, pomposity, and narcissistic wannabes who were fine with their pretending just as long as it only involved virtue signaling and didn't come anywhere close to a nail encrusted cross or cat-of-nine-tails swung by brawny linebacker types with low IQs.
I myself had issues with church when I was young. My Sunday School teachers seemed all too eager to want to cast me in a lake of fire for being curious. They denied my natural urges and told me that all things pleasurable belonged to the Devil and all things dour and sad were of the Lord. Then they tried to make me believe that God had got the best end of that deal.
It took me years and years to dissuade myself from the notion that every time I admired a pretty woman that I was being sinful, or everytime I took a drink of alcohol that I wasn't bathing in gasoline in anticipation of the big reveal.
I can remember feeling ashamed that Jesus never seemed to talk to me directly. Everybody said what a big deal that was, and yet I never heard so much as a whisper. I have always loved and respected him in spite of it. And I always understood the reason why he was keeping mum.
I never blamed his words and teachings either as they seem simple enough. Love thyself and thy neighbor and don't hate people because they act stupid. I'll admit that those things are often hard to do in spite of their simplicity, but it ain't that hard to reason out why they are needed.
Jesus said something to the effect of, "My father's house has fireproof floors and there ain't no use for money there for everything comes to those who ain't pigging out on bread and wine and hoarding coins and to those who can bide their time." He told his people that he was packing a sword too, a big sword to cut away all the rotten wood.
People kind of laughed and dismissed that thought because it troubles them to think of themselves as rotten wood even as their knees turn knobby and crows start nesting on their shoulders. The image of Christ holding a sword like Uma Thurman in the movie Kill Bill: Vol One didn't sit real well with them either.
Truth be told, Jesus did most of his heavy lifting in the early days. He admonished his followers to forgive sinners and to heal the sick, he was friends with both the rich and poor on a first name basis, and he told the Roman Empire that it could go screw itself and keep all of its riches and power right up till the moment that it fell into the grave. That was his way of telling the rest of us the same thing too.
People changed back then and empires too, and always for the better. The first thirty-three popes of the Church were martyred for their beliefs. Tens of thousands of people gave up their stations in life and faced persecution and torture because of his words. He was the first teacher to place the slave and the king on equal footing, and the first one to say that women were equal in the eyes of God. People behaved better when he was around and laws were changed to treat people more fairly.
It was later when the Roman Empire decided to co-opt the message and started killing people in his name, a trend that continued for the better part of a thousand years. Makes me kind of think that all the coffee house thinkers that go through the social ritual of hating on Christians might want to actually read up on the history and the meanings rather than take their opinions off of the media created 'pundits for profit' like Bill Mahar, Stephen Colbert, or Joy Behar.
There are many, I know, who have laundry lists as long as their arms and add to it daily about how Christianity has mistreated, enslaved, and murdered in the name of Jesus. They point with bony fingers at those who judge their sins while pretending that they are not judging people themselves.
They don't seem to understand that it is pretty damn easy to call yourself a Christian, but pretty damn hard to actually be a Christian in this day and age, or in any age for that matter.
If you remember that sword I mentioned, you would understand that people who don't do those simple things that I talked about before have no more standing before the Lord than the meanest of sinners. It wouldn't matter if they financed the building of the great Cathedrals or worked at the Vatican coming up with ad campaigns for the Pope; if they don't open their hearts and forgive their neighbors they might as well be atheists too.
You can dress in ermine robes, wear a crown, and carry the keys to the kingdom around for all to see, but if you are fucking pretending in the least, the universe picks up the smallest doubt and trumpets it for all to hear. The ermine will start to smell like sweat, the crown turn into tinsel and them damn keys you carry around couldn't open your backdoor in a pickpocket's hands.
The reason why people like me have had trouble hearing his voice is simple. He states emphatically that he stands at the door and knocks, and there is only one thing that does that, and it is the certain knowledge of our mortality.
When I was young, I didn't want to hear it. Now that I'm older, I have no choice. I always thought that my ears only heard outside noises, and so it was only recently that I have discovered that the voice of God comes from within.
Jesus said that he who loves this life will lose it, but he who loves God will gain life everlasting. We are going to die someday, that's the fact we have to deal with to give our life on earth some meaning, and without that meaning, life becomes, well meaningless.
He didn't say anything about judging, murdering, torturing, or stealing in his name, so I have to assume that kind of shit is frowned upon and is only being referenced by those who seek to hide the fact that they are unwilling to test their own resolve to live a life with the least amount of distraction from the truth. I mean after all, who wouldn't rather have sex in a hot tube with a Hollywood star while drinking Long Island Ice-Teas than ceasingly contemplating the meaning of life and death.
Bob Dylan even warns about it,
"But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are You're gonna have to serve somebody Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you're gonna have to serve somebody."
So, if you really want to sound less jaded when you are criticizing a belief in a divine purpose for our existence, don't.
If you want to sound a bit more intelligent while outlining your grievances against life, then blame the actual people who caused them including your anal-retentive self instead of a man who simply said to believe in God's existence, to love thy neighbor as thyself, and to forgo hatred in favor of love.