*Disclaimer – I am not writing this to start an all out war on Christianity though I do welcome friendly discussion/debate as I find it to be very intellectually stimulating.
This morning I was sitting on the loveseat watching the news coverage of Muhammad Ali’s death when I saw two older gentlemen walk up my sidewalk. I knew immediately what they were there to do. Because my front door was already open I knew I would have to entertain them which both annoyed and amused me.
They introduced themselves and said they were from a Baptist church in Brogue. They asked how long I had been living here, and I said it would be a year in August. They apologized stating they receive updates of when new people move to the area, but the list isn’t kept after too well as they normally try to visit within a month of someone new moving into the house. They then asked if I had found a church in the area, and I explained that there was not a church that followed my beliefs.
Of course they then asked what my beliefs were. Not wanting to go into a full spiritual discussion I kept it simple and told them that I believe in reincarnation. They asked how I knew that I was going to Heaven after I died. I explained that I did not believe in the biblical Heaven but rather a spirit world upon which our souls work in soul groups to reflect upon the previous life and decisions made and learn from that prior to reincarnating into the next life. I also told them of my visit to a past life regression specialist (which you can read about here) and how that experience, what I saw and felt during it, confirmed my beliefs.
At this point the one gentlemen rubbed me the wrong way in asking how could I be sure based on my “feelings” when we experience all kinds of fleeting feelings all the time. I really wanted to respond with isn’t that how most Christians validate their beliefs – by what they “feel”? How often do you hear someone say they were “moved by the Spirit” or “felt God’s presence”? If Christians are allowed to validate their personal beliefs strictly on feelings then I most certainly can as well.
Not wanting to be confrontational I just let it be figuring they were entitled to their views as much as I am mine. The other gentleman told his story of how he was a cop in Philadelphia and had a gun pointed at him while in front of a church, and that moment he realized he didn’t know if he was going to Heaven or Hell. While it was inspirational in its own right, I feel that stories like those just reinforce the notion that people look to religion out of fear of the unknown and of dying.
He told me how their church prayed for a member who had cancer and she recovered from it. This is probably the most irritating thing I hear Christians say; that God/Jesus grants miracles yet God/Jesus is never to be blamed when bad things happen, particularly to good people. It was on the tip of my tongue to say oh that’s interesting because I know a huge amount of people who prayed for Freddie for months on end yet he still passed away.
He told me that we were living in the end times; that Revelation predicted extreme weather in locations it had never occurred before and we were seeing that now. Again I wanted to stop him and inform him that I took a course in college taught by a minister about the book of Revelation. My study of the book led me to believe it was written as true apocalyptic literature meaning it was describing what was going on during that era (Emperor Nero and the Roman Empire) but masked in imagery so that anyone who were to stumble upon it would not know the author’s true meaning. I also wanted to inform him that I’m actually on the 9th book in the Left Behind series and while I find the books fascinating I most certainly view them as pure fiction.
I think I threw him for a loop when he asked me how I believed the Earth was created. I told him I didn’t argue against the idea of a Creator; I just didn’t believe in worshiping said Creator. His “counter” to that was that we all will stand before God one day and have to attest if we accepted Jesus or not, and that he would hate to think that I could end up in Hell.
I wanted to tell him two things. One – Even when I was a devout Christian in high school I never believed in Hell. It has been and always will be a scare tactic to me. Two – Hell is here on Earth. Hell is a solider watching his comrades be blown to smithereens. Hell is children being sold into sex trafficking rings. Hell is watching cancer destroy the lives of people you love knowing that the world created it.
They asked if I had plans and I explained that my husband and I were actually getting ready to go for a run on the rail trail. They made some other random small talk and asked if they could leave some papers with me which I allowed, skimmed them and promptly put them in the recycling bin once they had left.
I spent most of my 5 mile run thinking of all the things I didn’t say and how much fun it would have been to actually debate with them longer. I know nothing they could’ve said would have changed my views though and anything I would’ve said wouldn’t have changed theirs. They likely feel that my soul is lost and that I will be damned to Hell when I die. Oh well, maybe in the next life we’ll cross paths again and get to debate some more.