Tuesday, May 15, 2007

An un-Christian Christian

I was in Niagara Falls on the weekend, and there in the parking lot opposite one of the wonders of the world was this. I'm sorry indeed to relate that the gas-guzzler I saw it on had Ontario plates.

I find this bumper sticker offensive on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start.

Well, start with the obvious, I guess. What makes this clown so sure he's one of the chosen in the first place? Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Seems to me anyone who's sure he's going to Heaven, ain't. QED.

Second, what kind of jerk would God have to be to do this? Let's break it down. First, a God who supposedly loves us all is presumed ready to let most of us roast in Hell, but scoop up a few others, and why? Because they're willing to "believe" without question. Other than that, inch for inch, pound for pound, they're probably morally no better than you or I. On top of that, once this fellow (and millions like him) have been shredded to ribbons as the Lord sucks them up through the roofs of their cars, homes, and offices in the name of conducting them to Heaven, those of us apparently condemned to Hell will be sent there that much faster by pilotless vehicles skating back and forth across our highways, city streets, harbours, and dropping out of the sky. Nothing like a loving God to make the end of the world a laff riot, huh? Nah, I'm sorry. I have a hard time believing that a loving Creator of the Universe would be a bigger asshole than I am, and a much bigger one at that. I can't be better than God. Ergo, this couldn't happen. If I'm wrong, well, then God's a prick and there's no measurable difference between "good" and "evil" except the power base (are you listening, Mr. President?).

Thirdly, what does putting a bumper sticker like this on your car say about your character? To me, it means that deep down, this guy is a smug, arrogant self-aggrandizer. I wonder what it implies for his conduct with other human beings. If you’re of a 'wrong' religion (and thus damned, no matter how good a person you are), or if this guy decides, for whatever reason, that you’re not saved like he is, how might he treat you differently in subtle, or not-so-subtle ways? Knowing you won’t be standing at the right hand of Jesus on Judgement Day, would he be tempted to treat you as unequal or less worthy? To me, there’s something nastily celebratory about this message. It presumes that he’s saved and you’re not; the warning is for you because it’s his unmanned vehicle you’ll have to deal with once God has saved him and forsaken you. Would a true Christian celebrate this? I would expect, knowing what I do know about Christianity, that this would be a source of sorrow for a sincere believer, not an occasion for an in-your-face joke.

What I’d love to see is the moment of the Rapture arrive, this guy standing there with arms upstretched, watching others lifted away while he stands earthbound with the condemned, and finally squealing, “But what about me?” And there’s Jesus — GLING! — and He says, “Sorry, no, you’re an asshole. I mean, just look at your bumper sticker. So long.” — GLING! — And the guy’s standing there with his jaw dropped, and we all laugh at him as we go to Hell.

But that’s what happens if you’re Protestant. I’m Catholic (at least officially), so I think he gets another chance. For me, Purgatory and Hell are the same thing (though that’s a personal view)… a separation from God and all those you love and all that that makes you happy, combined with a hunger, a yearning, a need for all that that increases with your distance from it. And you stay there till you 'get' all the reasons you can’t be with everyone else. The worse a person you are, the longer it’ll take you to learn the lessons; the longer you suffer. But once you’ve purged yourself (hence the name Purgatory) of your backwardness, you are admitted to Heaven.

Well, to me, this bumper sticker’s a ticket to Purgatory on the Highway to Hell. What a jerk.

1 comment:

m_o_o_nspells said...

Yeah, the kind of sentiment this bumper sticker seems to represent is one of the reasons I ended up abandoning organised religion way back when. I find raging hypocracy kinda leaves me cold, spiritually...
By the way, I bumped into Gary on Facebook...yup, he's gay. I KNEW it! ;o)