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Posts Tagged ‘eternal damnation’

WhatGodWantsAfter reading this graphic, posted in an atheist Internet community, I started thinking about the hundreds and hundreds of church services I’ve attended in my years on this planet.

I tried to find recall one occasion where a pastor or church leader “demanded” money from me or anyone else. Just one.

I’m still looking.

Am I saying it’s never happened? Not at all. I’m sure there are despicable hucksters out there, using “religion” (a nasty term that I would never use to describe a person of real, serious faith) to guilt people into financing their cadillacs and acreage estates. Indeed, turn on the TV any Sunday and you can watch some of them in action.

But let’s be realistic: these shameless fraud artists exist everywhere in this broken world. And it’s safe to write that some of them are atheists.

There’s another point being made in this graphic that can’t go unaddressed: the notion that somehow, tossing cash at a “religious” leader will somehow dispose of the “threat of eternal damnation”.

This makes sense only if you believe God is a greedy, small-minded, narcissistic hypocrite. And if that’s the case, why are you reading this essay?

Followers of Jesus Christ — whom serious Christians, and many others, believe is the son of God — know that God doesn’t need us for anything. He WANTS us. And He wants us to:

  • Have wisdom. A section of the Bible called ‘James’ says “Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So he will give you wisdom.”
  • Live right. Another section, called ‘Micah’ puts it this way: “This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God.”
  • Help those in need. A Bible section called ‘1 John’ says “If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.”
  • Come clean on all the wrong things we’ve done and all the right things we’ve failed to do. Proverbs, a section of short sayings in the Bible, says “Whoever hides their sins will not be successful, but whoever confesses their sins and stops doing wrong will receive mercy.”
  • Prosper. Part of the Bible called ‘Jeremiah’ notes “I [God] have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.”
  • Have a relationship with him. There are many, many parts of the Bible that address this. Here are just a few:
    “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James).
    “God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost but have eternal life” (John).

That last statement makes it clear how to have a relationship with God. Believe in His Son, follow His Son, trust in what His Son did for YOU (dying on a cross to make up for all the wrong things you’ve done and all the right things you’ve failed to do). Do that, and all the other things that God wants will start to come easier. And you don’t have to give anyone a single dollar.

Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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