Earlier today I read two articles as they were making their provocative way through the viral atmosphere. Both of them were written by people I believe are Americans. Both articles were characterized by a hopelessness caused by an inability of their writers to comprehend the things of God. I am writing in response to one of those articles that carried the name reflected in my chosen title for this article.
I believe that in some way the author, one Oliver Thomas, wrote with the specific intention of being the devil’s advocate and in more ways than one open the religious version of Pandora’s Box. However, I believe the article in itself is a potential cause for the “speculations” and hopeless futility that he intended so scathingly to address.
In the article, published in the USA Today online edition of August 8, 2011, Mr Thomas asked the important question of what happens after death. But as one reads the article it becomes clear that he is not so much concerned with providing an answer to the question as he is with attempting to prove that Christians and believers in Jesus Christ have been surely misled due to the misinterpretation of Jesus’ words as they referred to hell.
The author suggests that a God who will punish an act of evil for all eternity is not as terrible (and somehow I infer he means obtuse) as the people who will actually believe in such a God. He used his parenting code to suggest he will only punish his daughter with an action that fits the disobedience. He refuses to believe that a place of eternal punishment exists, claiming that the “Christian Old Testament” only talks of the dead existing in a “dreamlike place.” One of the things about reading informatiion is that one can select bits and pieces to drive one’s point home. And generally Christians quote scriptures to get their message across.
However, Oliver Thomas basically condemns the believers in the Bible for their vulnerable gullibility because they believe something just because the Bible teaches it. But then he goes and quotes from the very same Bible he is claiming is erroneously misinterpretted and indicates that Solomon in Ecclesiasties proclaimed that “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might for there is no activity or planning or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.” This he says, clearly trying to convince the really undecided and scared readers that no real action comes after the human heart stops.
Well, Mr Thomas, Solomon whom you quoted was speaking as the wisest man on the earth who ever lived. But how is it, Mr Thomas, that you did not mention that Jesus had this to say in Matthew chapter 12 and verse 42: “…one greater than Solomon is here.”
The author of the article is trying desperately but to no avail to reason and understand the truths of the universe. The created being will never know as much as the creator. Do you think man will ever make a product that is equal to man’s capabilities or that surpasses man’s individual greatness?
Jesus Christ came to earth because there was a problem of significant eternal ramifications that warranted His intervention. Don’t you see the British Prime Minister who is on holiday leaving his happy time to return to deal with the escalating riots in London? Aren’t you hearing persons in your beloved America asking that the President recalls Congress from vacation time to deal with the economic woes? So, if human beings can see the need to leave their comfort zone to face a serious challenge that no one else can fix, then don’t you think Heaven will do the same? Mr Thomas, if the consequences of sin only led to a dreamworld of shadowy appearances, why would the creator of life Himself leave the infinite happiness of heaven to suffer the agony and shame during the crucifixion?
Or, how is it you didn’t think it convenient in your echoing of Satan’s manifesto to include the parable Jesus told of the rich man (who signifies the typical “American dream”) and the torment he endured from the moment he died? Go and read St Luke chapter 16 from verse 19 to verse 31.
This once wealthy fellow who was probably the beneficiary of the Wall Street of his day will not agree with you that misinterpretations from King James have been creating an unfounded fanaticism and religious fear. That rich man is still in that very place being tormented today. I hope that as you read, Mr Thomas, you will realize it takes something extraordinarily true, serious, and real to gain the attention of a wealthy person and make them beg for a vagrant or thug to put his once itchy finger in his mouth to ease his pain.
Please note as well that the end of this story saw Jesus making the point through Abraham that the living people on the earth have to choose on their own to listen to the preachers of the day. You are choosing not to listen. In the Caribbean we have been told time and again by our parents that “he who does not hear will feel.”
Are you hearing, Mr Thomas?
Now the article really makes one wonder about Americans and their acceptance of the Christian message. Hmm. All I would say is that the Bible has indicated that Christianity is not on the earth to win a popularity contest. In the months and years following the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, literally millions of His followers and believers chose to die a horrible death rather than deny Jesus and live a few more years on this earth.
Mr Thomas, I am certain you know that no sane person dies for a lie. And certainly even you, Mr Thomas, must agree with me that the millions of persons who allowed themselves to be killed in the most gruesome of ways cannot be all crazy.
Your article runs the risk of allowing some unconcerned soul to think it is all right to face their death day without answering the Jesus question. I really hope that your readers see beyond your verbally brawny logic. If not, you risk finding yourself having to explain to your Creator why you chose to propogate the ideals of Satan. When your state department released home videos of Saddam Hussein after they had killed him, they muted the audio because they saw the wisdom in not giving an outlet to his ideals and so corrupt the listening audience.
In the same way your article, in an attempt to create viral publicity, has chosen to be an outlet of Satan’s message to keep humanity from taking the reality of Jesus Christ as a personal responsibility with present and eternal benefits or losses.
I look forward to reading your follow-up article that is motivated by humility and inner inspiration and not just intellectual myopic panic.