3/20/2015 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Rachel K ~
I am an atheist and it's been several years since I've posted here. I am profoundly amused/ confused about the subject of the second coming/ end times and Christians true emotions about death and the afterlife. I only realized consciously that when I used to be a Christian, since childhood, I never REALLY believed in heaven. I used to lay in bed and give myself a pep talk in my head, trying to convince myself that truly one day I would be in an actual heaven standing in the presence of God/ Jesus! I didn't really buy it. I knew deep down that the lights just go out and it's over.
It is my understanding that so many American Christians are adamantly against the Affordable Care Act, different foreign policy decisions, and worried about the sex lives and reproductive rights of others because they feel that these things might bring about the very end of the world! They believe that when things get bad enough, it will trigger the end times and are always on the lookout for signs of the antichrist, etc. Hold on, isn't that what they want?? It is like my dear little old Granny who has praised Jesus every day of her life and talked on and on about spending eternity with her savior. Then why is she fighting death tooth and nail, as if she had inside information that she is going to the exact opposite place? If you long to be with the lord, lay off the surgeries, medications, and everything else that has kept you ticking along for decades and rush into his loving arms!! I would love to hear how sitting back and letting god's plan unfold naturally is wrong, and fighting nature using every technological and medical advancement you can afford to thwart god's plan is right?? Is that how Christians define "trusting in god's plan"? By that same logic, they should all be doing everything they can to fight climate change. Because on a world-wide level, god is in control, humans have no business trying to change nature or fight disasters resulting from climate change because god would never let anything happen to his precious creation that wasn't spelled out in the bible. Why does that reasoning not apply on an individual level?? Where is the talk about the arrogance of going to the doctor, or having cancer treatment or taking medication, when god is in control and we should trust him to take care of us and not meddle in his will. Very convenient! In this line of thinking, the nutty Christian scientists and other cults that rely on prayer and refuse medical treatment are more theologically coherent than the Christians who might do a little praying, but only on top of a big dollop of medical care and insurance. What about my aunt, who had mysterious debilitating pains, rashes, and reactions, and all the medications and treatments either didn't work or made her feel worse. She was praying and being prayed FOR the whole time. Why didn't God just give the doctors the magic treatment instead of making her suffer? For that matter, why did god give her husband, my uncle the southern baptist mega preacher, brain cancer that destroyed his brain and left him with pain killer addiction? He prayed, preached, and led people to the lord for 40 years. He ended up drooling, cheating, and losing everything. According to other Christians the devil attacked him for being such a righteous man. Why did god let the devil do that, and secondly, why didn't he provide the strength to make him victorious over the devil? Why did everyone's prayers go not just unanswered, but have the most disastrous and life destroying consequences imaginable?
That was a digression. My point was, Christians use medicine to try to prolong their lives just like everyone else, with a panic that belies a certain level of uncertainty. How do they rationalize the deaths of everyone else with calm faith, but when their own life hangs in the balance, the fight is on! How come if death and eternity is so welcome, a brush with it invokes absolute terror? I've seen my elderly, Parkinson's ridden Grandmother rushed to the hospital from her nursing home numerous times, with no expense spared to keep her going for another day, regardless of the quality of life. Praise Jesus! It is the same with the second coming of Jesus. All the hymns I remember as a kid seemed to be begging Jesus to return. "We can't wait to see you ride up on a white horse in all your glory from on high" kind of stuff. Even all the politics over Israel seems to do more with an end-times excitement and not for any true love of the Jewish people, who I heard my whole life were lost souls for rejecting Jesus and may have brought their own suffering upon themselves.
Why in the world are Christians so terrified about "accidentally" bring about the end-times by providing people with health care, or allowing gay couples to marry or anyone to use contraception? Shouldn't they be saying "bring it on!!" Let us have our health care, our contraception, our gay marriage, and don't worry about it. If it has the seriously doubtful side effect of causing Armageddon, then you're welcome! I will sign a disclaimer saying you tried to tell me and I won't sue you from hell. If you think my sinning might cause you to die in the indiscriminate wrath of the always-around-the-corner judgment day tornado/flood/hurricane, take heart for your savior will be waiting to welcome you to heaven, remember? Or does your screeching and terror about preventing the end of the world betray a secret fear that maybe you picked the wrong team? That Jesus' horse will gallop right on past and not recognize you, since you were a Baptist and not a Pentecostal or something?
Here's how I feel: until this god comes down from on high and clears up the monumental confusion and suffering that has been caused by his ambiguous, contradictory, and morally dubious religions, we should stop worrying about whether or not he exists and start worrying about our world and the people in it. I know that is hard to do. After all, religion automatically gives people an excuse to STOP worrying about the world and the people in it and blame all the results on god's will. I would say that it is religion's main selling point! Let's forget god unless a being shows up and clears things up. I haven't lost a minute's sleep worrying about whether there is a supernatural being who will take up this challenge. After all, if exists and is truly omniscient and all powerful, surely he would be more wise and understanding than say, Kim Jong Un of North Korea who demands incessant, robotic praise and makes anyone disappear who questions why his loved people are starving and dying. If that is not what your god is, then let him prove it to every single person, what, is he short on time? The bible was obviously a bust, both on clarity and morals, supposedly our eternal souls are important enough that he should give it another go. Even god must see that revealing the most important information of all time to a superstitious people was going to warrant an update for a more savvy and skeptical time.
I think if Christians truly cared about people, and believed what they said about the end times, they would act completely differently. Their sacred freedoms to kill themselves and others with guns, alcohol, and fast food would expand to include freedom to love and marry whoever you want, and plan your family however you want. They would focus on the physical care of our planet and medical care for all as much as they do for their own bodies. As secular humanists let us show with our actions what caring for people really looks like- and maybe we can change hearts and minds toward a better world. It's difficult during this time in our country not to get jaded and bitter toward the hypocritical and hateful.
I'll end with a quote from W.H. Auden:
"If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me"
Filed Under: Opinion