Here is an email I received in response to one of my essays on religion.
A Christian who is keen on seeing you rot in Hell is an oxymoron. To be Christian is to imitate Christ. Christ lowered himself to take on a human nature, suffer, and die in order that you and I and even those who might prefer that anyone rot in Hell, could instead be rescued from such a sentence.
Although the Catholic Church proclaims the Bible, when properly understood, to be inerrant, it certainly does not consider it to be a science book. That is an absurd belief. Fundamentalists, our separated brethren, believe that the Bible is the only authority on the Word of God (sola scriptura). I think we both understand, by pure logic, that their argument is circular. In addition, nowhere does the Bible state it is the only Word of God, including II Timothy 3:16. Instead, fundamentalists often misinterpret the Bible to their own destruction II Peter 3:15-16.
I’m puzzled to understand the relevance of II Peter 3:15-16. Perhaps you got the numbers wrong.
I perceive that your friend Damon was tragically caught up in a counterfeit Christian cult; perhaps even the church of Christian Science or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both cults believe in depending on God alone for medical treatment. Please understand, Roedy, that these and similar cults are some of the most twisted examples of the 30,000+ organizations which call themselves Christian churches.
Damon died of AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome), refusing all medical treatment, convinced that prayer would suffice. He was still in his twenties. I’m not sure which church denomination he was involved in. Other than this trust in prayer, he seemed to be a quite feet-on-the-ground kind of guy. I’m angry that Christians talked this handsome, sweet black man into needlessly killing himself.
You are correct in stating that prayer is both a lie and a superstition, if we are after a free lunch. Instead, the true efficacy of prayer would be in ourselves being molded, on a daily basis, into truer imitators of Christ. This is the example presented to us by Mother Theresa and by the Saints, who showed us that prayer is extremely effective. A person who prays with selfish motives believes that they can practice their selfishness in Heaven. But in Heaven, there is no room for selfishness. That is why we should pray to be free of such a burden. I was warmed to see Mother Theresa and Saint Francis of Assisi on your list of favorite people. They reflect the true teachings of Christ very well.
May we both become more like Christ.
As I said at the head of my Combating Kristianity, “When I say ‘combat Christianity’, I primarily mean combat the narrow-mindedness, intolerance and cruelty done in the name of Christ. But I also mean, combat the magic and superstition. I don’t mean combat the philosophy. My complaint is not with Christ, it is with his intolerant followers.”
If other Christians had your enlightened attitudes, I would have no complaint with them. In an odd sense I am a Christian preacher myself. I am constantly prodding nominal Christians to behave like true Christians, verbally scourging them, after the manner of Jesus. The only catch is, I’m not particularly free of sin.
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