Someone I love and who loves me dearly chose to share with me, recently, a fairly horrific dream that involved that person going to heaven and me going to hell. This person meant well. Truly. And that’s the thing. That’s what makes it worse.
So naturally, I took to the internet, but not the part people I know look at, to vent all my special feelings about. It’s kind of like a message in a bottle, I guess.
I did not go skipping away from the church and throw my hat into the air. I didn’t stop because I wanted to devote my life to some bacchanalian orgy. I left because I got hurt, a lot, usually by people who meant extremely well. My faith was the seed that fell on the stony ground. It grew initially, but there was no depth. Or it just wasn’t for me. There are a lot of ways to look at what happened depending on your worldview.
If anyone thinks that I don’t think about it all the time, that person is very mistaken.
I am so weary of people trying, at best, to bring me back around by repeating theological points that I already know–I fully understand the concept of Christ being the son of God who was sent to earth to die for our sins, I can easily recite various verses from the Gospels–and at worst, talking to me about Hell. I know about Hell. I began learning about Hell at a very young age. It was the reason I got “saved” in the first place. It was, if I’m being honest, the only reason. I am very afraid of fire.
People repeat theological bullet points to me. And people, who I do understand mean very well, talk to me about hell.
That’s it? That’s your argument? Fear? That’s what you want to use? Why do you need to use fear? Is that stronger than talking about who Jesus is to you and what you believe he stands for? It must be.
THAT IS WHY I DO NOT WANT TO BE PART OF YOUR DEAL. SHAMING AND FRIGHTENING PEOPLE TO PRODUCE A DESIRED RESULT DOES NOT SEEM TO ME TO BE A COMPASSIONATE OR MORAL THING TO DO.
Nobody opens with “The greatest of these is love.” Nobody closes with it. Not to me. Not ever. Not EVER. If you’re reading this and you do use that in your presentation, good. Great. Please keep doing it.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “I’ve never once tried to frighten her about being hell-bound, who is she talking about?” Other Christians who are not you. So maybe you can talk to them. Maybe you can let them know that they make agnostics like me want to run screaming into the desert to eat locusts and figure it out on our own terms.
“But it’s important for you to fellowship with other believers.”
Well, I have panic attacks when I’m around too many of them at once so that’s actually going to be a hard “No” right now.
Oh, and one more thing, if you’re inclined to say of our current president “He might be a Christian, we don’t know his heart,” maybe you could also extend people like me the same generosity of spirit. Because you also don’t know mine.