I often wonder why it is that Xians are so ready to lie for Jesus.
Image by Lel4nd via FlickrI remember doing it myself when I Was a believer. Not big lies, just stretching a point about how gos loved me so much he answered this prayer or provided that opportunity or met that need. I remember, partly through ignorance, preaching the creationist, inerrant-bible version of Xianity. Why did I do it? I don’t know. Perhaps it is a reaction to the inevitable cognitive dissonance that believing in a loving saviour and god who turn out to be inactive and uncaring naturally engenders. It is an overstatement of faith which has three purposes, it seems: to convince myself that god cares; to convince others that god cares and to convince god that I believe that god cares.
I led the worship singing, “My god will provide for all your needs, according to his riches in glory.”
I led the prayers thanking god, not so much for what he had done to meet our needs, but for what he was going to do.
If I could just display enough faith, then god would provide, or move someone else to provide in response to my display of faith.
I think THAT was the moment when I realised I was merely a salesman. When witnessing, I was selling the god product and my commission was paid on my fulfilling the Great Commission. When praying in private, I was seling my faithfulness to god and selling god to myself. When praying in fellowship, I was selling god to the people or my project to the people and god, the payoff being their support.
That realisation led to the questions, “If god knows everything, why am I having to sell him to these people?” and “If god knows everything, why do I have to manipulate people into supporting the work that is supposedly god’s will?” No matter how much faith I mustered, it always seemed as though god was testing it and never rewarding it.
There is an old joke about a fellow who dies and is consigned to hell. When he gets there he finds everybody standing knee-deep in shit, drinking cups of tea. Thinking this wasn’t so bad, he jumped into the midden to join his fellow damned souls. Just as he was handed a cup of tea a whistle sounded and a voice called, “Tea break over! Back on your heads!” I discovered Xianity is the same thing, except the tea-breaks are a lot longer.
You are never good enough for god, which is strange when you consider that all your sins have been covered and all your transgressions washed away in the lamb’s blood. Those are only for the recruiting period. Once you become a member you discover just how much you have to do before god will even consider listening to your prayers, let alone answer them. If you give more time or money to the church; If you give up having a beer with your non-Xian friends on Saturday nights; If you gave up smoking; if you lose weight (your body is a temple of the holy spirit); If you trim your hair; If you suppress your desire to “be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth”; If you do this or don’t do that, then god will answer your prayer.
The lies begin when they are recruiting you and continue once you are a member. Xianity turned me into a liar, because it taught me that it was OK to lie for the cause.
Eventually I learned that god was not ignoring me. I discovered that he was not saying “No.” Or “Wait.” When I asked questions or place my needs before him. No, he was listening and answering as intently and purposefully as only a non-existent deity can.
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