Guest Post: "Witnessing," Growing Pains, and the Road to Hell
While I'm on the subject, it's certainly not too late to throw your hat into the ring to guest blog here at AOGB. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would like to have one or two guest posts a week for the month of September, if possible. Right now I'm only at a whopping FIVE volunteers. Come on guys, have a heart and help a teacher out!
There I was, minding my own business. Racing through the channels between Metal Mania on VH1 Classic, beach volleyball on NBC, and the Weather Channel's tropical update.
And then I saw God.
Bear with me, dear readers. This post will take some time to get through.
God did not actually appear on my television, of course...but someone selling his version of God did. More specifically, this somebody was hosting an infomercial wherein interviewers "witness."
They bully people on the street. Prod them to admit their violations of all Ten Commandments. Convince them they have bought a one-way ticket to Hellfire and Damnation, which I think is currently in western Sudan. And the accosted sinners cry like babies. They profess their acceptance of Jesus-or at least the show's interpretation of Jesus-as their personal savior.
Disturbing enough just on the face of it. But what stopped me like a kick in the crotch was the identity of the host.
Our spokesman, our guiding light, is none other than Kirk Cameron.
Maybe you know him as lanky teenager Mike Seaver from the 1980s sitcom "Growing Pains." Well, guess what-he's all growed up now, and he has gone evangelical on us.
For those of you who dare not tread in radical Christian Web sites, let me give you the skinny on his new cause, "The Way of the Master."
The melodrama begins with "Almost everyone thinks they are a good person...but the question you should be asking is, 'Am I good enough to go to Heaven?'"
Thankfully, Kirk and his similarly self-righteous partners will be glad to tell you that the answer is no, and instead you will go to hell. You see, THEY know the one true way, the path to salvation that must be right for everybody. And they are not shy about telling you what it is.
Then we have "Who is God to you? Is he only a god of love and mercy? He's a figment of your imagination. You've created a god in your own mind that you're more comfortable with. You may call it your 'personal belief,' but God calls it idolatry."
Thank you, Mikey Seaver. Here I had thought that your God gave us brains to use them, to interpret things. But now I realize that we should just follow YOUR interpretation rather than think for ourselves, because anyone who sees God differently than you do will go to hell.
They point out a verse in the Book of John (Author's note: They are not referring to the dirty joke book you keep in the bathroom for toilet reading) that says, "He who hates his brother is a murderer." Thus, they claim, if you have ever been angry with anyone then you have violated the commandment against murder. And you will go to hell.
Oops, I am a goner. Because these arrogant proselytizers are triggering some big time anger issues right now.
Kirk and friends also inform the viewer that any man who has looked at a woman with lust has committed adultery and will-you guessed it-go to hell.
But did not God-or evolution, or little green men from Mars, or any creator in whatever system you choose to believe-hardwire us to find other humans attractive PRECISELY BECAUSE it aids the propagation of the species? This wonderful "solution" to the "sin" of lust would leave the world pretty much empty of people in about a generation. Not many people to "save" then, are there?
And it goes on and on. So what, you may ask, are the justifications for these views that should be pounded into everybody? Bible verses.
Yes, I said Bible verses.
But if these verses must indeed be followed literally, as the evangelicals claim, why are they not preaching against eating shellfish-which is clearly disallowed in Leviticus?
Is Kirk going to sell one of his daughters into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus? Where is their "witnessing" for stoning, which has the nod from God as a punishment?
After all, all these things are in the Bible-quite explicitly, actually. (See the amazing "Open Letter to Senator Rick Santorum" for more.)
We are so lucky to have Mike Seaver and his born-again buddies to sort through all those pesky verses for us. It must be a burden to decide for the rest of humanity which verses pave the way to eternal damnation and which ones can conveniently be ignored...but they seem to enjoy it. God bless them.
It may surprise you that I actually think Kirk means well. Maybe my fond memories of "Growing Pains" are exerting their influence; perhaps I just tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.
But he should remember that the road to hell-with which he claims to be so familiar-is paved with good intentions.
So while they break people down in public and lead group prayers on the street, maybe they should read a different Bible verse, from Matthew. It says, in part, "when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others....But, when you pray, go into your room and shut the door."
Kirk, it is far past time for you to go to your room and keep your praying there where your God says it belongs.
Or else you are going to hell.