Merry Christmas to you! Are you saved? If you are saved then praise be to Jesus Christ, Amen! If you aren’t saved and haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior ™ — well then it’s time to get on the stick and get saved as soon as you can. Armageddon is almost here.
How do we know this? Why because of all the “Swept Away” books cluttering bookshelves and supermarket aisles, you doofus! The day of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is bound to happen any day now. You, the unsaved, may be under the impression that God and Jesus are all about unconditional love. If so you are wrong. God only lets into the afterlife those who worship him utterly. So if you don’t worship the One and Only True Christian God ™ and don’t find God through his personal emissary Jesus Christ ™, sorry, but you’re damned. That goes for all you Muslims too, and yes, of course you misguided “chosen people”, not to mention you vile Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, pagans, Wiccans and most contemptible of all, you Unitarian Universalists. Yes, on that Final Judgment Day ™ you along with all the other damned get to begin an eternity of torment. So says your just and loving One True Christian God.
But you won’t be going straight to Hell, no! Before you are sent down the chute to Satan’s minions, first you must be shown the error of your ways. We, The Saved ™ will be watching you from the peanut gallery in St. Peter’s Heavenly Coliseum. God will be the matador, you will be the bull and in this game God always wins. In will go the knife of justice into your flawed and perturbed soul. You will realize what a stupid and contemptible piece of filth you were for all that whoring or practicing dangerous secular humanism. You should have been attending Bible study class instead, brother! A tiny tear of sadness may escape from us elect watching you bemoan your fate. You will despair that you had so many chances to come to Jesus Christ ™ but didn’t. We will be sad that you chose eternity in torment. But we will also glad that the likes of you aren’t fouling up the serene peace of the Heaven. It’s an exclusive neighborhood you see, and the covenants are real strict. Out forthwith, you heathens, to your perpetual ghetto! We, the saved, will be so rapturous being in heaven and all, and hanging around God, JC and the Holy Spirit ™ will be such a high that we will soon forget about you. Because we were saved! Saved! Yippee! And there’s nothing that gives us more pleasure than to spend eternity telling the God Trio ™ what great guys they are. The afterlife will be all Bible Study and harp playing all the time and it will never get dull, brother! Alleluia!
Okay, I know I said in this entry that I didn’t really care what your religion is. And really I don’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t find religions that say you either accept my religion or you’ll end up in Hell very contemptible. By inference then perhaps I feel that all the adherents who believe in this to be contemptible too. That’s not true. But if there is a Hell, then perhaps God will reserve some small part of it for these sanctimonious authors raking in millions in royalties for these novels. Elmer Gantry and the Landover Baptist Church would be proud.
As a Unitarian Universalist I am clearly on the damned path. We have a history of engaging in dangerous secular humanism. In fact we have the audacity to call the place we congregate a “Church” even though there is no requirement of anyone to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior or even be a Christian! If you can imagine, we don’t care what anyone believes or doesn’t believe. Our mission is simply to help each other discover what it is they believe. Along the way we get involved in vile social action projects like feeding and sheltering the homeless, standing up for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised, encouraging democracy and protecting civil rights. We even welcome (Warning: sit down now!) gays, lesbians and the transgender community. And we don’t even try to convert them! Yup, on judgment day we UUs will doubtless be the first ones dispatched into Hell, post haste. Imagine the confusion of people when we, the heathen and unsaved, try to make the world a better place instead of telling others about God and Jesus. What a waste of our time and money!
I am, it appears, unsaved and perhaps irredeemable at this point. Because I’m afraid the missionaries could be lined up at my door stretching to the moon and not one of them will get me to buy into this saved stuff. My mind appears to be shut to them. While I am not sure what I truly believe about spirituality, what I tend to believe changes over time as I learn and experience more of life. This Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior stuff just makes me shake my head. Pity me, those of you among The Saved ™. I actually believe the Universalist notion. It states that if Jesus really did come down to earth to save us from our sins, he did so for everyone, for all time, with no strings attached. Because, you see, this to me is the highest expression of love. I can’t imagine any entity claiming to come from God, the source of unconditional love saying in effect “I’ve saved you all, but first you have to sign and adhere to this contract.”
So while I am skeptical about the afterlife in general I don’t give it too much concern because I figure I’m already saved. If I have a philosophy of life, I like the one expressed by J.R.R. Tolkien though his character Gandalf in “The Lord of the Rings”: “All you have to do is decide what to do with the time given to you.” For that I will let my heart and my conscience be my guide.
For those of you convinced that the only way to salvation is through Jesus, peace to you. But know this: I know in my heart that if God exists, he is not a jealous god, or a god that sets preconditions. Many Christians see Jesus the way fat people see diet doctors. Whether it’s Atkins or Pritikin, when you diet the goal is weight loss, not the means. If the afterlife or spiritual growth is the goal then the messenger doesn’t matter. If reading your Bible and attending services is your way to spirituality I think that’s great. Jesus is your means of getting there. But try to open your heart and your head to the notion that there are many ways to God. The ways of the Buddhist or the Muslim way may be just as valid as your way. Don’t confuse the medium (Jesus, the Bible) with the result (becoming a more spiritual person). Every human is unique. If there is a God it is clear that God designed us this way — we need only examine our own DNA for proof. I believe there is no one size fits all suit to spirituality. There are infinite suits to try on, and infinite paths. We are all spiritual creatures on our own unique spiritual journeys. Jesus hinted as much, by suggesting praying in your closet might work out better than in a house of worship. Try it for a year or so and let me know how it goes. And try this one for size: we the Unsaved deserve the dignity and respect for making our own choices on this matter, not your pity because we don’t share your particular brand of spirituality. You can start by not buying any more of those contemptible “Swept Away” books.