The thing I like most about Christianity is how refreshingly, phenomenally uncomplicated it is. If you’re a Christian, the entirety of the Christian narrative for you boils down to these successive points:
1. God created you.
2. God gave you autonomy.
3. God gave you free will (without which you cannot be autonomous).
4. An inevitable by-product of free will and autonomy are such things as selfishness, guilt, existential angst, self-doubt, loneliness, and an unceasing need for affirmation.
5. Selfishness, guilt, existential angst, self-doubt, loneliness, and an unceasing need for affirmation are profoundly unpleasant to experience, and make you do all kinds of crazy things that hurt yourself and others.
6. You’re just like everyone else.
7. People hurting themselves and others creates a tremendous amount of pain and suffering in the world.
8. God, loving people, hates to see them suffer.
9. God needed a way to relieve people of their suffering without violating their free-will.
10. Jesus was that way.
Jesus allows you to be relieved of your suffering: of your shame, your guilt, your grief, your angst, your fear. Relieving you of all that sort of thing — allowing you to be right with God again, so that you can be happy again — is why Jesus came. Establishing that rinse-and-repeat cycle for us all is what Jesus did.
The Christian belief system is fantastic. It works. The fact that it works is why there are so many Christians in the world.
Two billion people can’t all be wrong.
If exercising your free will has led you to not believe in the story of Jesus Christ, that’s certainly okay with me. I know lots of Christians care about who does or doesn’t believe in Jesus — or if those who do believe in him believe exactly what they’re supposed to, or whatever — but I’m not one of those Christians. Why would I be? What business is it of mine how you processes your pain, deal with your guilt, understand the larger context of your life? For all I care you can worship dental hygiene brochures, or beach balls. I don’t want you being mean to anyone. I don’t want you bullying anyone. I don’t want you talking to me about what I should believe. But beyond that? Have at it.
As anyone who’s ever really suffered knows, “Whatever gets you through the night” is more than just a platitude. It’s a reasonable prescription for a guiding principle.
Why in the world anyone would care what anyone else, in the privacy of their hearts, thinks about God, is so far beyond me that it might as well be on Venus. It’s just a realm of concern I can’t understand.
Christians are supposed to want non-Christians to become Christian — or to become the right kind of Christian — so that they won’t end up in hell.
Pffft. Yeah, because the concept of hell couldn’t possibly have anything to do with serving as a total green light for me to be just about as rude, intrusive, and overbearingly obnoxious to others as I’m ever in the mood to be.
Which, what with me being human and all, is quite often.
Evangelist or ego-driven meddler? You be the judge!
Well, you know: or not.
Anyway, concerning yourself with the relative orthodoxy of others is the surest way to find yourself skipping right down Crazy Christian Way. I hate the whole neighborhood around Crazy Christian Way.
I much prefer where I live, on the corner of Just Don’t Be a Dick Road and One Love Avenue, in the neighborhood of Nobody Trips.
I love Nobody Trips. It’s the best neighborhood ever. Jews live here. Muslims live here. Christians live here. Every kind of faith, denomination, and belief system in the world is represented by the people of Nobody Trips.
And you know what my favorite thing is about this neighborhood? It’s that every single day, day in and day out, more and more people are moving here.