Friday, June 1, 2012

My Neighbors and Me

My neighbors believe that their god is going to send everyone who doesn't believe in him to hell for eternity. They supposedly want me to believe that too so I can "get saved" and not have to go to this place of torture and damnation.

Why then do they never come to my house and talk with me about hell or even invite me to church? Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining - but it seems that if they're really serious about hell, they'd not miss a chance to warn me.

So I wonder: do they really not believe in hell? Or is it that they do believe but don't care enough about us "unsaved" people to do anything about it? Either way, it makes it hard for me to take them very seriously.

Before I get too far up on my high horse, however, remember that I supposedly believe in a whole host of issues too - reducing poverty, improving education, reclaiming our civil liberties. What do I do everyday about those issues? Pretty much nothing - nothing that makes a difference.

Am I really so different from my neighbors? 


  1. There's a very interesting concept I've read about called 'meta-atheism', which sort of explains why the everyday behavior of most Christians doesn't seem to match up with the beliefs they tend to profess, either in an introductory sense or when attempting to assert authority in moral/legal matters (gay marriage or abortion, for example).

    It helps explain why Christians deeply grieve the loss of loved ones, even though if you were to ask them to compare heaven to earth, they would paint a picture such that earth would take on the appearance of a torture chamber from which their loved one has just managed to escape. Most people would be relieved and elated to see a loved one released from despair and torment -- yet, they fight against pulling the plug on terminally ill relatives; they fight to bring all fetuses into the world whether they're wanted or not; they believe that DEATH is the ultimate punishment for a murderer (even IF the murderer has since accepted Christ and is alleged to be on his way to heaven upon death); they wear seatbelts and buy as much healthcare as they can afford to stay alive; and on and on and on.

    Basically, meta-atheism is something of which they're really not even aware, but is plainly observable in nearly any Christian you meet. They've no qualms CLAIMING to believe there's a God, and will execute any number of rituals or procedures in order to demonstrate that belief, but when it comes to plain, uneventful, everyday life -- most live and think as if God doesn't exist.

  2. I am a devout Christian. I firmly believe that all souls were created by God and all souls will finally go back to God. God is not a man, like us. His love knows no bounds...He is love. Please seek Him.

  3. Great post - lots to think about in my own behavior.

  4. Nooooooo, Tweenky, don't encourage them, noooooooo! They'll knock on my door! Don't you know they treat posts like that as invitations to proselytize?
    * locks door *
    * hides *

    But seriously, maybe they think everyone is aware of religion and the Christian heaven/hell stuff, and is free to seek their Jesus if they want to. Honestly, I can't imagine being ignorant of that stuff while living among Christians, or anywhere with books, film, internet. Perhaps they are simply being decent by not bugging you about it. Not all Christians think it is their sacred duty to be pushy, nor that being pushy logically follows from believing in hell. Some Christians are even iffy about hell and decent non-believers going there. Mormons don't even have a hell. (I won't weigh in on whether Mormons are Christian with all that extra bonus dogma they tacked on, let the religious bicker among themselves about that.) I don't actually know their motives, you'd know better since you know them.

    Have you considered For $25 dollars, you can help fund a microloan to a small family business or borrower group, and help someone increase stock, improve their home, upgrade their farm. Get the $25 back when the loan is repaid, then use it again to lend. Added bonus, you can legitimately call yourself a global financier! Extra added bonus, you can optionally join the A Team (atheists / agnostics / freethinkers / humanists) and/or Team Flying Spaghetti Monster. My one issue with kiva is they don't lend to American borrowers even though they lend in other developed nations. So I emailed local credit unions to see if they'd partner with kiva to administer kiva loans like CUs in other nations do.

    And don't feel like a hypocrite. If I were even a quarter the social activist you are, I'd be happy.