Religion Please, Hold The Nuts
Driving past one of the local churches in my neighborhood, their sign read, "God wants faithful followers, not religious nuts." Obviously this church in particular is aware that when you foist onto others too strongly your beliefs it serves to turn people off. Religious nuts won't convince anyone that God is the right path. If anything, what they will do is simply help to affirm for anyone not already religious that they better steer clear of it, lest they be just like them.
There was a lady once at my local grocery store who saw it fit to stop and ask the customers whether or not they believed in God. Watching her I could tell she was on a mission. She stopped one elderly man who was perusing the various bolognas and liverwurst options. "Do you believe in God?" she asked him.
The old man looked up at her incredulously, "What? Get out of here."
The woman leaned in closer to the man, "Well, do you?" The man simply gave her a sneer and went about his business figuring it was better to ignore her than engage her. Clearly she was a woman out of her mind.
As for me, I saw the writing on the wall, and quickly ducked out of sight. It was a late night shopping excursion and so there were not that many customers in the store. If she'd have seen me, she'd have been on me next for sure.
She did catch up to me, of course. As I stood in line at one of the two registers that were open I saw her nearby, perusing the magazines. She picked one out, and then she started heading straight for me. Oh God, I thought, but there was no religious context whatsoever to that. It was only an expression. She came right to my cart and slapped a magazine in front of me, and for the life of me I cannot recall the name of it. But it was clearly not one that they sell in the stores, so I know she had strategically placed it in the magazine racks at one point or another. It also was not a magazine at all, but rather a pamphlet. It had words on it like 'awakening,' and 'Jesus and your relationship with the Lord.'
"God loves you," she said to me. "Have you given yourself to the Lord?"
I simply said, "Really, I don't have time." I was going to say more, my intent was not to be impolite. I just really didn't want to be bothered in the grocery store checkout line...
By a nut.
But she cut me off. She leaned into me like she had done with that old man checking out the liverwurst. "Do you believe in God?"
"No," I said. It was as simple as that for me. Something short and quick just to get her out of my hair.
"Oh, so you're going to hell, right?"
When she said that she gave me the most wicked look. She was excited. Her voice shook ever slightly. I could tell her heart had just sped up the pace a bit. There was fire in her eyes, and I thought to myself perhaps she wasn't a religious nut after all, but rather old Beelzebub himself in disguise drag. Course, I'm certain that had the devil laid a finger on anything even remotely referring to Jesus or God Himself like that pamphlet she'd plopped down in front of me, the devil's hands surely might have burst into flames. That didn't happen so I suppose the logical conclusion was simply that she was indeed a nut.
I simply pushed my cart to the next checkout lane and told her that I really did not have time for her. She seemed to figure that I was a lost cause and she darted off back into the aisles. I surmised she was probably looking for her next victim.
The thought came to my mind that if Heaven were full of people like her, why on Earth would I want to spend my eternity there? What would be the serenity in that? To me that would be more like torture than eternal bliss. And then, wouldn't that be hell?
This is supposing, of course, that a person who does not believe in God can believe in hell. Isn't hell a biblical place? Isn't hell the opposite of Heaven? Seems to me in order to believe in hell, you have to first believe in God. Hell is only mentioned in the Holy Bible.
This is where Homer Simpson might shout out his ever famous, "D'oh!"
The point is not my religion. Neither is the point my thoughts about religion. It's simply to say that this church had it right when they said that God wants faithful followers, not religious nuts. I think it also says that when a person is ready to give themselves to God, they will. They will do it not because someone came to them with The Word. They will do it because their heart has led them there all on their own. And that's not to say it's wrong to spread The Word. It is to say that it is wrong to impose The Word.
It is also to say that the person who chooses not to hear The Word, is not automatically a bad person. It's also to say that not everyone who follows The Word is a good person. Frankly, I think if it came down to it, the woman in the grocery store would have some explaining to do upon her arrival at the Gates to Heaven.
If there is a Heaven, I might like to go there just to see the look on her face when that happens.
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