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Love Jesus or Burn Forever in Hell… You’re Basic "Love Me or I will Kill You" Religion
“Love Jesus or Burn Forever in Hell.” I first saw this wonderfully encouraging statement emblazoned on the roof of a barn in rural South Carolina. Actually just about where I would expect to find it.
Boy does this little bit of encouragement say reams about the either/or mentality that goes with many fundamentalist teachings. So here is the lesson for the day evidently. EITHER I love Jesus, which I assume means confess him, promote him and do everything he is thought to have said and taught, or burn, not just up, but FOREVER in hell. Whoa moma, what a choice and even better, what a reason to love Jesus! Obey out of sheer fear of annihilation. Spirituality doesn’t get any better than this!
In effect this would be the same as me, a loving parent, telling my kids, either you love your daddy, or I will kill you and not in a good or easy way. Any parent that was reported to have said this to a child would be arrested and probably loose custody of the child. But not “God.” of course. Now any real God would never have such a flawed “these are the rules of love” mentality and this is more a reflection of the human who thought it up as cute or threatening, depending on the desired effect. It’s also hogwash.
The bible often gives rather Taliban-like solutions to loving ones children. Sometimes a “rod of correction” is advised to get rid of children being children. That has proven to be a real hit in modern child rearing results. Opps, nuther pun there! This rod is supposed to “drive it far from them.” It can be used for anything from disobeying “god” to not agreeing with dad, even though dad is dead wrong, again. Of course it is a rule used to control and keep the tribe happy. Actually it makes them turn inward and resentful, or compliant until they have a chance to not be.
Why if we are lucky enough to live until Jesus comes again, we get to see that even He is coming with a great big Rod of Iron to bash his people and all people into submission. He rides a White Horse, no doubt, and pours out plagues, vials, trumpets and trombones upon the world until we all scream in pain, “Ok, OK, you win, we LOVE you.” Is it impossible for these kinds of gods and offspring to set up seminars or classes on why, we as humans can do better and live lives more peaceful and meaningful? Bashing never seems to work. Are we forever going to be motivated by fear of a good bashing so we comply, or as I like to stay, “sit down on the outside, but stand up on the inside,” and be duplistic? I guess so if we don’t come up with another way to be and think.
We’re even told in the Old Testament that as parents we should get up all our courage and stone to death our rebellious kids. Great idea! That’s been a chosen winner in effective child rearing practices through all of human family history. Of course, no parents of those kids would not have gotten old enough to have them under those guidelines either, but that’s another issue. What a great time the parents must have had actually getting to throw rocks at their own kids, and not just to scare them, but to kill them! You know how long it takes to be stoned to death? Long time.
Mom must have been beside herself with glee seeing the child beg for help only to have mom say “ha! You think that was a great hit, just watch this!” Maybe dad actually helped the mom get her shots more dead on as it’s not the kind of thing most parents practice. Or who knows? Wonder if they went out for dinner that evening and discussed how they could have done it better and whether or not they will miss Schlomo. I wonder if dad kept a stone on the mantel and whenever any of the surviving kids goofed off, he gave it loving glance and gave the kid a knowing smile? Maybe child rearing classes in the Old Testament included a segment on “Effective Stoning Techniques Should the Need Arise.”
Actually, a parent being required by religious law to stone their own child is beyond comprehension to me and certainly not a teaching any real god. No, these are pretty much made up gods with made up rules to instill fear. Definitely your “Love Jesus or Burn Forever in Hell,” mentality. So please, don’t stone your kids for being human and forget the rod of iron thing.
There is a lot of “love me or I will kill you,” religion loose on the planet these days. Other forms of this ridiculous idea are “Obey Me, or I will kill you.” “Believe me, or I will kill you.” And perhaps, “Give Dad a big hug, or I will choke your guts out.” All very effective and genuine expressions of a deep understanding of true love and compassion. Almost brings tears to my eyes thinking of how loved I am with this kind of love out there just waiting to pour itself down on me.
Well, at any rate, just kidding. “Love Jesus or burn forever in hell,” is a pathetic statement of what is wrong with fundamentalist religious thinking. It’s all fear, shame and guilt based. It’s key motivator is fear of consequences if one does not comply, and it so often neither works nor inspires compassion or encouragement. I’d love to meet the kids of anyone that would paint on a huge barn roof, this little bit of sage Biblical advice. I wonder if they ever come home to the farm for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or dads birthday? I wonder if they even sends cards? I wonder if they are close to their parents or enjoy their company and perspectives on how life works and what to do when it doesn’t seem to. Naw, I bet not. I bet these kids were stoned to death long ago.
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