Monday, October 17, 2011

Now Is a Bad Time

When you say "Christian," there are a few words that pop into my mind, as a knee-jerk reaction, before I can catch myself and remind myself that I'm stereotyping. I understand that there are Christians out there who aren't like that - there's more than a few, and they certainly don't qualify - but honestly, sometimes it seems like those of you who aren't are a minority. I see why, and understand why, the term "Christ-follower" is picking up popularity. I honestly feel sorry for those of you who have a shared group identity with these people. Damn near every time Hitchens opens his mouth on the Middle East or Islam, I feel the same way.

One of the most appalling things about religion and it's believers is the drive that some of them have to use tragedy and human despair and pain to further their own aims:

Person A: "My Mom died this Weekend."
Person B: "Oh, that's terrible. Did she accept Christ?"
Person A: "Pardon?"
Person B: "If she didn't, she's burning in Hell right now."

If you don't see anything wrong with the above, congratulations. You too may be an evangelical, spreading the "Good news" that someone's parent is rotting in Hell because they didn't believe in your petty and pathetically tiny God (left wing evangelicals excluded. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting one in person, though, so I'm still not sure they exist yet).

I'd love to say it's a subset that have poor tasting in selecting the proper time to witness people. I hate being witnessed anyway; it's a waste of my time and a waste of yours. Even worse than the guy who witnesses after a funeral or uses emotional blackmail to try and get converts, is the guy who uses human tragedy or death the further the aims of his religion, and then wonders why everyone calls him an asshole (It's his "lot" in life; it's just a further example of persecution. Never mind that at least sociopaths can feign interest and understand when to and when not to use certain types of manipulation).

Allow me to present to you one of these people, at Defending. Condescending.

Steve Jobs, a man of the world, passed away at what seems like a young age of 56 after a massive struggle with cancer. His inventions and life changed the lives of others in ways not imaginable just 30 years ago, and maybe even less than 20 years ago. There has even been a great outpouring of grief from many in the business world.

I don't write eulogies. I didn't know anything about the guy other than the fact that he worked with his company to make awesome toys (I used my iPod today when I was out for a run). I learned a long time ago that some time it's polite just to keep your mouth shut, especially if you don't know anything about the person. I strongly suspect that this guy has no idea what the hell he's talking about with Steve Jobs, and this is just a disingenuous effort to appear like he cares, before jumping into the "real point" of this.

We do not demean or seek to belittle the grief that his family is going through, or even the great outpouring of grief from many in the business world.

We're all familiar with these kinds of statements: "I'm not a racist, but..." or "I'm not a sexist, but..." or "I don't mean any offense, but..." Oh yes. We're all familiar with them.


The reality is that Mr. Steve Jobs had an appointment with God that no amount of money or inventions could prevent from taking place. With his death, there are questions that must be asked.
And... there it is.

He might as well have come right out and said "Mr. Steve Jobs had an appointment with my God," because I guarantee you that his image of God is decidedly... different... from other people's images of God. So he had an appoint with this guy's vision of God. Once you insert that, you see all the different things wrong with it, including the basic assumption that his God is the "proper" God (when, in reality, there's no proof suggesting any kind of god, angel, ghost, holy spirit, or anything else, thus allowing me to confidently say that, so long as there's no proof to suggest otherwise, they don't exist). No amount of money could prevent it. And with his death, there are questions that must be asked...

Yes, there are. Like, "why are you writing this?" His death, his "eternal fate," if there is such a thing, is none of your concern. It's just not. Go live your small life through someone else. The man is dead. Show some humanity for just once in your petty life and shut up.

In the light of eternity, what difference did he really make? Did his inventions change lives in a way that brings glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ? He changed many people and many businesses but what difference has it really made. With the current advances in technology, the devices designed and invented over the last couple of years will be replaced with something better and newer. Some of them will only be found in museums while others will pass into the dust piles of oblivion. Sadly, the fame and knowledge of Steve Jobs will go the same way as past great business men like Howard Hughes, Lee Iacocca, Eli Whitney, and others who have impacted their world. One day, children will hear of Steve Jobs only in a textbook and wonder what the big deal was about this person.
In the light of eternity, what difference does anyone really make? I can't make an impact so that I'll be remembered for ever. Even if I achieve Einstein levels of fame, everyone will remember me because I get pigeon-holed into some nebulous category as "really smart."  And I doubt I'll even achieve that.

Oh, wait, he's talking Salvation, and bringing the glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. I remember hearing this somewhere before - oh, that's right. That's what the Kansas Bastard Baptist Cultists were saying about him, too. Posted from a iPhone, no less. Protip: If at any time you start to sound like the WBC, it's time to shut the hell up and rethink your life.

*Sigh*. Someone should probably inform him that's what textbooks are for. After all, children aren't born with a genetic memory. A new born child isn't likely to know who Jobs was. They're going to have to learn about him from a text book.

Way to miss the point. I'm beginning to wonder if this is a genetic trait with Right-wingers.
For Steve Jobs, the reality is that no matter his position in life, the money he made, the inventions he created, or the lives he impacted, he is still facing the Creator of the Universe. He must now give account for his life. It is claimed that Steve Jobs had converted to Buddhism a few years ago. This means his name is not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and he will now have to find himself spending eternity in hell with no chance of a re-boot.
Oh my.  Oh. My.

See, this right here. This is what I was talking about in my opening sequence. "Your mother died? What a shame. She never accepted Christ either, so she's burning in Hell for all of Eternity. And if you do, when you die and go to Heaven, you'll be separated from your mother, who you loved with your heart and soul for the rest of eternity. But don't worry, because that love is entirely meaningless. God will replace all of it so you will love him for the rest of eternity and forget all about your mother. Doesn't that make you want to just turn to Christ immediately?"

This is actually the point where I started my trip to atheism. This right here. See, I haven't actually been faced with aggressive witnessing like this, but I know it exists. This article right here is proof. But the introspection caused by death had me focus inward. I asked questions there was no answer for:

If there is a Hell, and you get saved but someone you love doesn't, then that means you'll be spending an eternity without that person, because you'll be in Heaven and they won't be. If, for instance, this person is your significant other, or a child, can it really be considered Heaven? Imagine if you, as a parent, were forced to split from your child for the rest of eternity by a "loving" God. You're in "heaven," and they're tormented forever in Hell. Can you really say you're in Heaven?

And if God does wipe away your tears and replace your pain with love, what the fuck was the purpose of having your love for that person in the first place? God can just *poof* and replace it. And replace it with love for Him. So you become a happy, brainwashed slave in the name of God. Happiness is Slavery. Heaven is Oceania.

Furthermore, if you die as a parent and your child is still alive, can you really call yourself as being in Heaven? You can't help them up when they fall. You can't hug them when they cry. You can't support them when they need it. You can't be there for them at all. You just have to watch.

Is that really heaven?

There's a lot of focus on Hell. I suspect the focus on Hell is to try and divert people away from the logical problems and the morality of Heaven. There is no morality to Heaven. Heaven in the way it's usually presented is as a immoral domain of slavery for the rest of eternity, where everything that mattered to you in life ceases to matter, replace with never ending devotion towards an abusive God who splits up families based on whether or not they believed in Him.

This is the authoritarian version of Heaven. One where God splits up families along basic lines of belief, and lines of actions, and condemns the parents of children and the children of parents to burn in Hell for eternity, and then erases any memory that the person had of their child. It's easier when it's a person you don't know - but when it falls into the Dunbar number, then things get a little more hairy.

It's easy for them to make these judgements about Steve Jobs, because, as the guy reveals, he never knew Jobs personally. I never knew Jobs personally, either. But his concept of Heaven is little different from my concept of Hell. So at the end of the day, the real question to these people who want to witness me is this: How is your Heaven any different from my Hell? And if that's the case, why should I care about your Heaven anyway, if all it's going to mean to me is torment and slavery? And what, if anything, should it have meant to Jobs, or anyone else?

Of course, people who take this approach are usually too self-centered to even stop to think about these things.

I couldn't end this post without observing, however, that he's really comparing and contrasting the lives of two men. One of them was a pastor, who, if the post is to believed, did some good for the world. His name was Pastor Gbarwee, and he lived in Liberia. Providing this isn't a case similar to what I've seen people do with Mother Teresa (she was a heartless, vicious, and cruel woman), then it is a sad thing that he nobody heard anything about it.

Of course, regular readers of this blog can probably spot reasons other than religion as to why Jobs gets the attention and not Gbarwee. We can start with the name, then move onto the money, then move onto the fame, then onto the race, and finally, onto the nationality.

In an ideal world, if Gbarwee was every bit the good guy the article makes him out to be, he would get equal share to Jobs, because the passing of both men is sad. This isn't an ideal world. Jobs had more money. Jobs was White. Jobs was American. And is being reported on by the American media.

None of the above is Jobs' fault anymore than being African and Liberian was Gbarwee's fault. This is just a picture of the society we live in.
One man, Steve Jobs, lived well, but did not end well because his faith was not in Christ. The other, Pastor Gbarwee, lived poorly based on earthly standards, but he finished well! What a way to live!
I'm sorry, I just threw up a little. Excuse me. 

If Gbarwee - and I'm suspicious, because I know how Western religions are used to exploit the people on the African continent, especially American Christianity - was the guy this quote paints him to be, then he's one of a thousand who undeservingly go unmourned every day. It's sad, but men like him don't live to be remembered by "Earthly standards" anyway.

This isn't to suggest Jobs wanted to be, either. Or that he did. I can known nothing about the man. So I don't pretend too. What we have here is a case of apples and oranges, which does both apple and orange a major disservice, while showing just how small and narrow the person writing it actually is.

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