Monday, December 9, 2013

Do what's right... or don't. God doesn't really care.

Another Sunday paper, another column by Billy Graham. This week they featured a letter from someone who is regularly in and out of jail. Graham's reply? Oh, just an offer of worthless 'advice'.
God can give you a new desire to do what's right

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’m in the county jail for the third time this year, once again for something minor. Each time, I’ve said I’m going to do better, but then I get sucked into doing something wrong and end up back here. Why am I such a weak person? I’m about to give up on myself. — R.T.

DEAR R.T: You may be about to give up on yourself, but let me assure you that God isn’t about to give up on you! God loves you, and you’re very valuable to him, so valuable that he sent his only son into the world to give his life for you.
And because God loves you, he doesn’t want you to throw away your life, which you could easily do. Instead, he wants to help you put your feet on a different path from the one you’re now following. How can it happen? You can’t change your life on your own; you’ve already tried and failed. You need God’s help, and he wants to give it to you. The Bible says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
The first step is to turn to Jesus Christ, confessing your sins and your need of help to him, and asking him to come into your life as your Savior. When you do, he will come to live within you by his Spirit. He’ll also give you a new desire to do what’s right.
Then take practical steps to overcome temptation. For example, flee from situations and people that might pressure you into doing things you know are wrong. Instead, find a church where you can meet people who will help you. The Bible says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

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Sigh... It's sad to see Billy always making the assumption that someone who is not living up to his moral ideal must not have turned to Christ yet. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Yes, RT has been in and out of jail. Does that mean he's an unbeliever? No, not even close. Remember... he's asking Billy Graham for advice. So he's probably pretty religious already. 

Statistically, RT's criminal record also makes it more likely that he is a Christian. You see, that's because Christians make up the highest percentage of prison inmates at 56.8%. And the atheists? Sorry Billy, but the chances are that RT isn't one since we only make up 0.07% of the prison population in the USA.  

Considering the fact that more Christians are incarcerated than any other religious group, it's pretty clear that Christianity doesn't provide some magic ticket to becoming a good person. 

Also, if RT is a Christian already, he doesn't have to worry about being good anyway. If salvation is the worry, the Christian god doesn't care. The price for admittance into Heaven is the acceptance of Jesus as your lord and savior. Because Jesus died for your sins, your acceptance means that your sins are washed away... or that's the sales pitch anyway. But the point is that if Jesus is forgiving all sins, it doesn't matter what kind of life you live. 

So it doesn't matter to God that RT's jail stays have all been due to something minor. He could be serving three life sentences for being a serial killer and God would be fine with it so long as him and his son are facebook friends. 

That's a real problem. If Christianity were true, it's god would be horribly unjust. He would actually be punishing people who are generally good, while rewarding some of the worst humanity has to offer. That's not a god I ever want to be associated with.
That makes sense how?

Instead, I hope that RT doesn't simply try to avoid situations where he might find himself tempted to do wrong, and instead genuinely think about his actions and choices. Don't concern yourself with  how your actions will affect the afterlife. Instead,. think about how those actions will affect the people in the hear and now. 

Our actions have real consequences and can sometimes involve those around us as well. Don't make your choices to please a deity. Instead make choices that will please the guy that runs the shop where you get your morning coffee, the nice lady you speak with on the bus, your friends, your mother, your father, and also yourself. These people, and more are the ones that will feel the result of your choices, and have to deal with the outcome. So think hard, and make the best choices you can for everyone involved.

-Brain Hulk

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