Recently,on my trip down to Florida for TAM 5.5,I made a stop at a rest area where a local Baptist Church had placed small pamphlets directed toward truckers called "Where Is Your Destination?".As I read this short piece of pious propaganda,I realized that it perfectly summed up in its five steps to heaven all the propositions of religion-and in this case,the Christian beliefs-that I find so appalling and disgusting.
First,I'll give you the pamphlet in it's entirety and then I'll make a comment on the description of heaven offered,followed by comments on the 5 steps to heaven it lists.Remember,this was created with truckers in mind,so don't blame me for the lame parallels to truck driving it makes-I DIDN'T WRITE IT!
WHERE IS YOUR DESTINATION?
Where were you dispatched on your last trip?Where are you going now?Where will you be dispatched on your next trip?As a trucker,your goal is to arrive safely at your destination.There is no certainty that you will arrive safely,but you will use all of your skills as a truck driver to attain this goal.
However,there is a final destination that you have total control over.At the end of your life,you will be dispatched either to heaven or to hell.It is your choice to make.Your company dispatcher will have no say-so on his trip,because you are your own dispatcher,and you have the opportunity to choose your own destination.
You could choose to spend eternity in hell,where you would suffer pain,agony,and anguish forever.Wouldn't you rather live in a place of no pain,sorrow,worries,trials,temptations,and failures?None of these exist in heaven;instead,heaven is a place of peace and happiness forever.The Bible says that heaven has twelve fountains made of precious stone,streets of gold,walls of jasper,gates of pearl,and a refreshing river of life flowing through it.Wouldn't you regret missing a place like this for your final destination?Sure you would!Jesus,God's Son,does not want you to miss heaven either.When he spoke to His disciples,He told them,"In my fathers house are many mansions...I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2).Jesus will prepare a place for you as well,if you will simply accept the payment He has already made for you.He shed His blood and willingly gave His life for you,so your eternal destination will be in heaven.
As a truck driver,you follow a map to arrive at your destination.The Bible also gives a map which you must follow in order to become a Christian and live for all eternity in Heaven
ROMAN'S MAP TO HEAVEN
The first stop is that you must realize you are a sinner.The Bible states,"As it is written,there is none righteous,no,not one:" (Romans 3:10). "For all have sinned,and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23).
The second stop on the Romans' map is that you must realize that your sin has an eternal cost.Romans 6:23 states, "For the wages of sin is death..." This death is eternal separation from God in hell.
The third stop is that you must know that you cannot save yourself or pay the cost of your sin.The Bible says, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight..." (Romans 3:20)
Next,you must realize that God has provided the way for you to be saved. "But God commendeth his love toward us,in that,while we were yet sinners,Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8).
Your fifth stop of the Romans' Map is that you must place your complete faith in Jesus Christ.The Bible states, "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe..." (Romans 3:22). "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,thou shall be saved." (Romans 10:9).
Do you believe that Jesus Christ alone can save you?He will,if you will simply ask Him. "For whosoever shall call upon the name name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13).If you will accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour,please pray this prayer or one similar to it:
Dear God,I admit I am a sinner,going to hell.I know that I cannot save myself.I repent of my sins and put my faith in the blood that you shed for me on the cross to pay for all my sins.I now accept you as my Saviour and trust you to take me to heaven.Thank you for saving me.Amen.
Now,as promised,my thoughts.
The description of heaven:
Reading this description of heaven should instantly slap you in the face as to part of the population it is directed toward and meant to be believed by-the poor and credulous.It's no secret that now,and especially in the times these stories were written,the poor far out number the rich and that dreams of riches and plenty are usually the one occupying the minds of the less fortunate.Basically, it panders to the massive majority of the needy,and like some shady huckster makes an offer it's sure you can't refuse.What value would such things have in a place of true eternal happiness?We're told such things in this life are superficial and of no importance or value,yet it tries to entice you to believe through the use of them.Plus,its more than a little contradictory to teach us to try to live a life free of temptation,when in fact your whole life is actually one big journey of chasing a temptation of riches like some sort of Donkey with a carrot hanging in front of it's head.
After the description of the aesthetics of heaven are offered it is then pointed out how much of a shame it would be to miss out on such a wonderful place.This is where you can't deny the parallel between the wish and the belief,which Sigmund Freud points out in his essay "Future of an Illusion".It's a fact that we tend to accept propositions more easily if they reflect something we wish to be true or is more comforting,even if there is no other reason to believe it's true otherwise.Sure,it would be nice if there was a place where we can meet everyone we have have loved and lost,feel no pain,never be in need and live forever.It would be amazing and comforting for a cancer patient to be told that their cancer has been cured even though it was really spreading faster than ever,but unfortunately the feeling of joy and comfort does not attest to the truth of the situation.I cannot stress enough the need to live life to it's fullest and live it in truth,not to treat life as a long waiting room,because there is no reason to believe there is anything after it,this is the only shot we can be sure of.
This first "stop" can be summed up when Fulke Grenville says we were,"...created sick,commanded to be sound.". This is the proposition that we are created disgusting,unworthy,rotten and that we must constantly remind ourself of this.Created purposely below standard and then condemned for it and told to apologize incessantly and wallow in our own filth and unworthiness. A purely masochistic proposition to accept.
This is a continuation of the first stop,but it takes it even further and tells us that the condition we are created in is now the one we are to be found guilty of and are then condemned to an eternity of torture.
Again,another continuation of the previous two.So,now if you combine all three into one continuous story it tell us:You're created in filth and sin to which you are doomed eternal torture and no matter what you do you can't evade this fate since you were already found guilty and sentenced the moment you left the womb. What raging contempt and malevolence.
Ah,now we are told that through love and divine mercy that even something as vile as us have now been given a way out! As if rolling around like pigs in our own feces-that is our sin-wasn't good enough to evade eternal torture;we now have God Himself in mortal form. What are we to do with such a wondrous gift?Naturally we are to torture and nail it to a cross for no reason,and use this person as a scapegoat for our wrong doings.What morality is this?Who of morally sound mind would say that they would agree to the sadistic treatment and sacrifice of another person in exchange for a one way ticket to paradise?Who would treat such an idea as something to be celebrated and relished in?I think all that needs to be said about this point on human sacrifice can be summed up in the ironically chosen name for this day,given by the faithful: Good Friday.
Lets not forget,that before this torture takes place the mild and loving Jesus tell us for the first time of the horrors of eternal damnation,and that it is what you are in for if you don't believe what he says.Basically,"I'm here to protect you from harm but if you reject me and don't do what I say,great harm will come to you".We have a name for things like this:racketeering.This is something that not even Al Capone could offer.This fear and intimidation is exactly why when given Pascal's Wager most people would bet on God-just in case.
I say,that this final "stop" actually discredits all the stories about how Jesus was a gift of salvation that we are to be thankful for.A kind of " got ya" moment in which you find out the whole thing was all a set up.Now,what do I mean by that? Well,it was the plan from the start that at some point Jesus was to have to die.First of all-why would Jesus have to die?Seems to be a disgusting non-sequitur to me,designed to make us fell in duty bound to an event we had no part in and if you were there and consider your self moral,you should try to do everything in your power to stop it.Second of all-Again,this is another part of the design,something set up a head of time to which we are supposed to praise and fawn over.It's like a fire fighter with a hero complex who goes around starting fires just so he can be the first one to put them out and look like a hero.In Gods case,he's doomed you from the start-as part of the design- only so he can come in and save you,and then we are to find Him amazing and wondrous for doing so and drop to our knees with praise.Nope,no deal.
CONCLUSION:GOD-AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
While speaking with a friend the other night,it dawned on me that-if taken out of a religious context-if God was our boyfriend/girlfriend,people would say we were in a unhealthy and abusive relationship with a maniac.
Simply put:You are with someone who tells you that you are disgusting,fat,ugly,unworthy and lucky to be alive and tolerated.No matter what you do,you are always offending them which makes the punishment more severe.After all this though,you are told by your partner that they love you anyways and that their love for you is the only real love you should be concerned with.Now,one day you come home to find that they have murdered a member of their own family and displayed their corpse for you to see,to prove just how much they love you,and if you do not praise this gift of love be prepared for your own horrific and tortuous demise.
I think it's time we broke up with the idea of God.