As some of you know, from time to time I will post about the sign that sits out in front of the church I used to attend. Sometimes I just ignore the sign and just keep on driving, not giving it much thought. Other times, I’m left shaking my head and thinking, “these people just don’t get it do they?”
Again, I didn’t take an actual picture of the sign, but rather used a church sign generator to recreate the sign. Here is what was posted outside the church today:
At first glance, you may not think much of it. The Bible speaks of prophecy that includes trials and tribulations leading up to the end times so this seems about right. However, when pondering a bit, one must wonder what exactly is God’s plan for us if things are in fact “falling into place.”
There is tremendous suffering in this world. Innocent children, old people, young people, sick people and healthy people are all subject to suffering. There are horrible situations that good people face every single day. There is the constant threat of war, famine, hunger, violent crimes, and pretty much any other horrible thing you can imagine. Tragedy befalls both the religious and the non-religious regardless of how much you pray. Bad things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Misfortune does not care how pious you are.
Maybe you are angry about our current president and the policies carried out in his name. Maybe you are heartbroken and distraught about the immigration situation in our country and the plight of the families who are trying to flee a bad situation in search of better lives. Perhaps you see terrorism on the news or another school shooting and wonder, “when is it going to end?” Cancer, AIDS, heart disease, flu epidemics, suicides, global warming, high fuel prices, Republicans, Democrats and the list goes on and on. Something has us on edge at all times. One thing or another is enough to make some of us reach our breaking point.
This world is not perfect. This world is, at times, in complete disarray. Chaos rules the day and we are fighting an uphill battle to try to stop it. Now we are not completely helpless. We can stand up and try to right the wrongs. We can fight injustice when possible and help those in need to the best of our abilities. We can use our technology and our brilliant scientists to combat disease and our energy concerns. We can work together to fight terrorism and end world hunger if we so choose. Or there is an alternative…we can choose to do nothing.
We can choose to do nothing because it’s all part of a bigger plan. That’s the church’s view. The church sees chaos as a good thing. It’s a good thing because the Bible predicts chaos near the end of the world as we know it. If the end is near then their reward of paradise is in sight. Once we go through enough hardship, we will see Jesus again and all will be well. Why fight against injustice or try to stop suffering? It’s all part of God’s plan, right? If so, then to try to fight it would be to fight against God’s plan and therefore God himself. I don’t see why any God-fearing Christian would want to stand up to God. Would that not show a lack of trust in the Almighty’s plan for humanity?
I’m sure it’s probably just my perpetual “misunderstanding of the Bible” that’s keeping me from grasping the concept. To fight is to rebel against God yet to sit idly by is to not help your fellow man and that is also going against God’s teaching in the Bible. Which leads me to my next dilemma. Faith. How does that fit into the message from the church sign above? My Christian faith was my everything for a very large portion of my life. When I began to doubt and lose that faith, I was heartbroken. I was angry. I was lost. I cried out to God and got no reply. If he is there and he was listening to my cries, he certainly ignored every one of them. So when my world was falling apart by losing faith, was it actually just falling into place? Was God’s plan for me to have me lose all faith in him and walk away, never to look back? Is that his plan for all deconverts from Christianity? “My plan for you is to push you away, turn my back and ignore you for all of your days.” Is that God’s message? That doesn’t seem to fit with what we are told on Sunday mornings, does it?
I have the hardest time reading the garbage put out by the church. It’s supposed to be comforting but instead it just confirms what I believed about the church all along; they just don’t get it. They are detached from reality and when tough times stare them in the face, they hide inside a book that tells them to just keep on waiting. Things will get better. Just wait for Jesus. He’ll make it right again. There’s the prophecy right? It says he’ll return to fix the mess he didn’t fix the first time, right? You know, he died, rose again and then what happened? That’s right. He left. He left and for two thousand years things have just gotten worse and worse. When he spoke to people here on earth two thousand years ago, he told them he’d be back in their lifetime. Are there people over two millennia old still hanging around here waiting for him or did they die without Jesus fulfilling his promise to them?
I hate to ramble on and I hate to rant, but I have so many issues with the idea that all of the world’s issues and all of the failed (Yes failed) prophecies are part of God’s plan. The messiah was said to do all kinds of things when he arrived. The Bible does not say he’d leave and come back later to do them. This is what happens when a plan fails, you change the rules. You move the goalposts. Jesus failed to deliver the goods when it came to being the messiah. So when he died, the story was changed from “he’ll fix things now” to “he’ll be back later so just be patient.” Meanwhile, the world is as “sinful” as ever. Sinful is of course a relative term and people interpret sin differently. There is most definitely right and wrong in this world, but there is no sin. Sin is a religious word used for control. The point is, the world is arguably worse off now than in Jesus’ time. The end times were supposedly already here during his time on earth. Over two thousand years later and we’re still here waiting. “Things are falling into place.” Seriously?
I think the church realizes that people are uneasy and feel the need to try to calm people down and placate them. People are scared and angry and people are starting to lose faith in God and Jesus. Instead of telling them the truth and saying Jesus is not coming back because he was just a man, they keep the story going. Jesus is “biding his time”. Jesus is “preparing a place for us.” That’s one hell of a place if it takes two thousand years to prepare. How long did the earth and everything in it take to make? 6 days? Everything we are told by religion is wrong. Every single thing. Nothing is falling into place because that implies a plan and a purpose for unnecessary suffering and unnecessary heartache and pain. What kind of God creates sin, allows us to sin (knowing ahead of time we would) and then punishes us for it, while telling us to bow down and worship because it’s all part of a bigger plan? We are told we need to be redeemed because of our sinful nature. Whose fault is that? We are hurting and suffering all the time in this world yet we are told to “consider it all joy when facing trials.” Consider it joy? Wow. What an awful thing to say to someone going through tough times. So God allows sin to corrupt us, tells us it’s our own damn fault, allows suffering and then says to be happy about it? Remind me why again? Because it’s all part of his plan? Why are we still buying into this? It’s such a disgusting and disturbing idea.
I apologize if I went off on tangents here or if I rambled on in an angry tirade. But I am angry. I am angry that I was ever part of this. I am angry, not at those who taught me this garbage because they didn’t know any better, but at the ones who created religion as means of control and manipulation in the first place. If there is a god, he is certainly not who we are told he is. The stories we are told reek of legend and myth and they are covered in the fingerprints of man. If there is a god and he has a plan for us, he would certainly stick to that plan. It wouldn’t be written down in “scripture” and then changed and reinterpreted to explain away failed prophecy. There would be a clear plan and I am sure an all-powerful god would follow through with it. What we actually have is a made up plan created by man. Made up plans by man will fail. They will fail like all lies fail. To keep a lie going, you need to keep lying and lying to cover other lies. Eventually you’ll get caught and the story will unravel. This story has been unraveling since the very first time it was first told and yet we keep trying to string it back together. It is now frayed to the point of breaking and when it does, no one will ever be able to put it back together again. That day is soon approaching and I believe we will all be better for it.