On "Getting Excited About Jesus"

The following is an email I sent to the President of the Southern Baptist Convention about a year ago.

Dear Dr. Page,I heard you preach Sunday morning on our local channel about “getting as excited about Jesus as people do about their favorite ball teams”. I (as a former Baptist preacher) must say there is a major difference between the world of everyday reality and the religious world view claimed by faith.

For example, would Taylor's' First Baptist Church get so excited about Jesus (as based on the claims of the Bible) that you and the deacons would drop all the fire and liability insurance on the church? If you look closely, most all steeples crosses have a lighting rods sticking out of their tops. This is a reality in our world that the Biblical writers knew little if anything about and “getting excited about Jesus” will do nothing to change this fact and would Taylor's' First Baptist Church get so excited about their faith in Jesus that they would cut the cables grounding the church's lighting rods atop the four spire's?

Would you or any of the staff at Taylor's' First Baptist Church get so “excited about Jesus” that the entire church staff would “step out on faith” and drop all their health insurance, thus proving their total faith in Jesus; that he is retuning soon (1 Thessalonians 5: 1-11) or that Jesus (as God) will provide for all the faithful (Matt. 6:19-34 / Luke 12: 22-34)?

When a natural disaster is about to hit, do you, your deacons and the entire church find yourselves “getting as excited about Jesus” and leaning on him for protection or is reality trusting in your insurance agent and the policy of liability for protection written on your church?

Preachers seem to think that people should live a life of faith that seems to exists on "Cloud 9" or some "Pie in the sky in the by and by". The forced reality is that our secular life's way of reasoning will win out over the Bible and theology any day of the week as a means of shear survival. Most people would never invest their money in the Stock Market the same way faith is sold in sermons. The Bible (and the idea of “getting excited about Jesus”) is an idealism better left to live in a mythical context of church fellowship on Sunday morning.

As opposed to faith, reality is that the faithful suffer greatly and died, often at young age. Many churches burn down every year when hit by “fire from Heaven” (lightning) and getting “excited about Jesus” will do as much to stop this as getting excited over one's ball team.

Finally, religious faith can not compete with reality and defaults into its own philosophical realm: the world of theology. Thus, it is of little wonder that most everything Christianity claims as evidence of religious truth can not be sued in a court of law anymore than a person who is declared mentally insane can not be sued.

Sincerely,

Harry McCall


Dr. Page never replied.

20 comments:

bpr said...

For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Matthew 5:45

Any Christian who claims that God controls the weather to part the clouds around churches is misinformed. The same laws of nature apply to churches, I don't see what the problem is with taking proper precautions.

Darren said...

"Dr. Page never replied."

Probably because he couldn't stop laughing long enough to compose a response.

Harry McCall said...

So bpr, just how do you interpret Matt. 6:19-34 / Luke 12: 22-34 and the fact that anyting a believer ask in Jesus neame he will do John 14:13? Or are you just going to "theologize" your why out the promise of Jesus in John 14:13?

darren: Dr. Page realized that his sermon was a joke too? or the joke on Jesus.

Harry McCall said...

bpr stated: "Any Christian who claims that God controls the weather to part the clouds around churches is misinformed."

Hey, just read the Bible as in Noah's Ark or when God closed up the heaven in the days of Elijah.

Harry McCall said...

If either bpr or darren is right, please tell me what the whole point of Dr. Page's sermon "getting excited about Jesus" is about anyway?

Obviously, the excitement about Jesus is his claims in the Bible since the Biblical text only way Jesus can speak that’s considered objective truth. Obviously, he promises miracles to those who believe John 14:12-14.

So just why should the believer get excited about Jesus?

Darren said...

harry:

Seriously, look at those verses you keep citing and tell me where they justify reckless living as "Doubting" John Loftus suggests. It's like a conversation I once heard:

"I don't bother to wear a seatbelt when I drive because I figure God will protect me if I ever get in an accident."

"God doesn't protect fools."

Stargazer said...

Darren said..."God doesn't protect fools..."

Apparently, neither does God protect children from the actions and accusations of unscrupulous church leaders. That was pretty clear in the article sited a few posts back. And I'm sure a at least a few of them, all being from church-going families, were praying to God for help. But perhaps they were just fools as well.

Darren said...

And of course that story has absolutely nothing to do with "Doubting" John's suggestion that church's remove lightning rods from their buildings.

Stargazer said...

I think it very much does--it's connected in the way that we are taught, from a very early age, that we can trust Jesus, God, the angels, whatever to protect us, that God will come to our aid. So whether we are talking about lightning rods, insurance, physical safety from attack, you name it, Christians are 'hedged about' by God's protection. If something goes awry, the standard responses are either WE have done something wrong, or God is trying to teach us some important lesson. It can't possibly mean that God is not able to actually protect us. It's just that for some reason, he is choosing not to in whatever particular circumstance. It's the church's own version of 'blame the victim.'

Brother Crow said...

And the issue is not what "Doubting" John says, but what bastard cowards like Page and the rest are saying. They - like the Nigerian pastors who encourage people to kill children - are con artists, masters of deception, who berate people by the challenge "get excited for Jesus," and encourage them to live and act irresponsibly. I know this because - in a sense - I was them for a number of years as a pastor.

They are cowards because they are building their careers and reputations on the backs of parishoners. They are lying MF'ers because they challenge people to live in a way that they don't.

These men (and sometimes women) are simply cogs in a machine, enjoying their ability to stir up capital campaigns, hobnob with true accomplishers, and be power brokers in their communities.

They will never respond to any challenge like this because they don't believe any more than Harry does.

May more Ted Haggard's be revealed among us. May these scum be seen for what they truly are...the greatest debunking tool for the evangelical world would be for Toto to go behind the curtain and reveal the assholes working the Wizard Machine.

goprairie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
goprairie said...

"Christians are 'hedged about' by God's protection." yes, and when pushed to the edge on being asked to defend one of their illogical claims, just when they would have to give in and say 'you are right, that makes no sense at all' they revert back to 'it is a matter of faith. without faith, you will never understand' or 'well, we really can't know ANYTHING for certain now, can we?' or 'this is special understanding you can't have without being filled by the holy spirit' as my fundamentalist friend tosses at me on a regular basis just when i should be my win.

Darren said...

I think it very much does--it's connected in the way that we are taught, from a very early age, that we can trust Jesus, God, the angels, whatever to protect us, that God will come to our aid.

Actually, the Bible makes it fairly clear that God is often content to leave us to our own devices, for good or ill. It's like a joke I once read (though it's more thought provoking than funny):

"When I get to heaven, I'm going to ask God why he didn't do more to ease the suffering in the world."

"I'm afraid he's going to ask me the same thing."

But to bring the topic back to "Doubting" John's unintentionally hilarious email, there is nowhere in the Bible where God promises to rescue us from our own recklessness.

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goprairie:

"Christians are 'hedged about' by God's protection." yes, and when pushed to the edge on being asked to defend one of their illogical claims, just when they would have to give in and say 'you are right, that makes no sense at all' they revert back to 'it is a matter of faith. without faith, you will never understand' or 'well, we really can't know ANYTHING for certain now, can we?' or 'this is special understanding you can't have without being filled by the holy spirit' as my fundamentalist friend tosses at me on a regular basis just when i should be my win.

No offense, but your friend sounds like an idiot. Even I laugh at Christians like that.

goprairie said...

darren: are you confused on who wrote the letter that is the subject of this post? And to continue to call John that on his own website IS disrespectful. It certainly makes me take YOU less seriously.

Harry McCall said...

Darren stated: “Seriously, look at those verses you keep citing and tell me where they justify reckless living as "Doubting" John Loftus suggests…God doesn't protect fools."

So you are telling me that God’s protection (as described in the verses I quoted) is based on the intelligence of the believer, plus the fact that people often do “reckless living” by shear mistakes of judgments.

Darren there is one thing I (as an Atheist) can relate with you on; it’s that anyone who trust Jesus’ claims as promised in the Bible is indeed a fool.

Let’s take a Biblical claim and see the resolute. In Mark 16:17 -18 “And these signs will accompany THOSE WHO HAVE BELIEVED: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; THEY WILL PICK UP SERPENTS, AND IF THEY DRINK ANY DEADLY POISON, IT SHALL NOT HURT THEM;

Fact is Darren, the State of South Carolina had to pass a law banning tent evangelist who proved both their faith and salvation by handing Rattlesnakes and drinking poison - usually watered down Strychnine. In fact, one of these faith preachers died here in the up-state after he missed judge the Strychnine level in his revival show. So Darren, are these promises of Jesus “reckless living”?

The Bible (as the mouth piece for Jesus) goes beyond this by the very fact that Jesus walks on the water (when he does not have to, he could have simply stilled the storm as he did in Matt. 8:23-27 = Mark 4:35-41 = Luke 8:22-25, but the Bible wants to complete with the pagan religions of the time and gather new converts with miracle promises) so, Jesus even tells Peter to walk on the sea only to blame Peter for his “reckless living” which ended in failure because Peter doubted Jesus: “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matt. 14:31.

If all the examples miracles as promised in the New Testament are viewed as “tempting God” or as you put it “reckless living” (and pardon my expression), but what-in-the-hell good is salvation as based on the promises of Jesus: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do He SHALL ALOS DO; AND GREATER WORKS THAN THESE SHALL HE DO; BECAUSE I GO TO THE FATHER.” (John 14:12).

Now if, as a Bible believing new Christian, I heard Dr. Page’s sermon on “getting excited about Jesus” hell, I for one would be on fire for the Gospel; but it just an’t so!

In the end, Dr. Page’s sermon about “getting excited about Jesus” is simply beating a dead horse since most postmodern rational people (even though they are church members) just are not that stupid including Page himself!

Fact is Dr. Page did not email me a relay, because my essay called on him to put him faith where his mouth was and even Dr. Page was not that excited about Jesus!

goprairie said...

"No offense, but your friend sounds like an idiot."
No, Darren, my friend is not an idiot. He is a very intelligent man. We have worked together on projects and the end result was better for our teamwork and the ideas we helped each other build and refiine. I respect him preofessionally and intellectually, even though we are at nearly opposite ends of the spectrum on religion. I regard him as innocently mislead on this one issue. But he gets a great deal of satisfaction from his 'relationship' with Jesus, so I do not argue about it with him unless he brings it up or he is about to engage in some behavior that might limit the freedoms of myself or others. He even does good charitable work in the name of his religion. An idiot? Hardly. My ethics do not allow me to be that judgemental based on one area that we disagree on.

Bill Gnade said...

Greetings, All!

There seems to be a premise hidden in here somewhere. Perhaps it is something along these lines:

Should an omniscient God exist, He would protect everybody every second of their lives.

How many of us -- atheist or theist, it does not matter -- would like to live a life that is guaranteed to be free of risk, of danger, of any detour, interruption or disruption? No doubt I have balked at those Christians who teach -- in utterly shallow terms -- that God has a perfect blueprint for every believer's life. Who would want a blueprint? Who would want a map that was perfect, and perfectly certain, guaranteeing success every moment?

Perhaps an omniscient God knows that we need this life of adventure, especially as a prerequisite to any sort of other life that might exist after death.

So, suggesting that God CAN protect us in all things may be the case; but it might also be the case that we don't WANT protection in all things and God knows this all too well. The Lord of the Rings is a powerful story solely because of its uncertainties; if the trek was certain from beginning to end not only would it not be a good story, none of us would read it. I rock climb because there is danger there; I ski because it is unpredictable. I bushwhack alone while tracking animals in large part because I may get hurt or even die. God knows I NEED that! Any other existence would be prison!

Moreover, the fact remains that churches have insurance because the Church understands the way of the world: the world in its worldiness seeks redress through financial means. Insurance is rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's, that's all. No churchman would say that insurance is a security against God's capriciousness. Rather, it is a security against the spirit of Caesar, or even the spirit of greed disguised as the call to justice. The Church understands this; its holy texts anticipate it, and that's that.

Besides, if the Christian worldview is right, that this IS a fallen world, then surely God would not remove the reminders of fallen-ness to a people all too-eager to worship idols of their own making, especially those idols that comfort and protect.

Furthermore, for some of us, lightning only draws us closer to awe, an awe that leaves us prostrate on the ground in rapture, in wonder. That's why we seek lightning out, chasing it from one storm to the next.

As for health insurance, I know many folks who DO indeed drop their health insurance in faith. I think Harry is right, however, to point out that many people who call us to trust in God do not themselves trust all that much in God. Is this a weakness of trust or is it a weakness in God? Can we infer from faithlessness or even weak faith that God does not exist?

Do atheists have health insurance? Why? What are they afraid of? Pain? Why? Are they afraid of death? Why? If we came from nothingness and our end is nothingness, then death is what? If the basis of all that is, is simply that it IS, well, cancer and heart failure and arthritis are what they are; the universe has "given" these to us. Why should we refuse them? Why put up a fight? Why do we resist the inevitable, especially when the inevitable is nothing? You know, like in Monty Python: "It's a mere flesh wound!" Why do we think it's more than that?

Peace to you,

Bill Gnade

Harry McCall said...

Season Greetings Bill

You raised some interesting thoughts on your post and I may need to clarify my original post some more.

Southern Baptists, such as Dr. Page, believes in a very “Biblical Jesus” or one taken from the context of “God’s infallible Word”. As such, “getting excited about Jesus” is very real; real in the sense he will do for the believer exactly as Jesus so often promised in the Bible and thus, in my last comment on this post, I quoted scriptures that Southern Baptist would attribute as coming directly form Jesus himself.

Jesus did promise to all who believe in him that “WHATEVER you ASK in My name, THAT I WILL DO IT. IF YOU ASK ME ANYTHING IN MY NAME, I WILL DO IT.” (John 14:13 – 14)

For me the meaning is clear, if anyone doubts what Jesus promised in John, than maybe diagraming these two verses would reveal the full intent of Jesus promise.

So- accordingly- if I asked Jesus to give me a “perfect blueprint” of my life, I believe my request is safely within the framework of John 14.

Yes, omniscient is indeed a Christian attribute of God, but it is of little value until it’s tied to attributes two, three and four: omnipotent, omnipresent and topped off with the cap- stone promise of love as in the famous and most quoted verse, John 3:16. Thus, “getting excited about Jesus” carries real meaning for the true believer.

I noted that throughout your comment you never used the name Jesus even once which places me in left field without my glove on since the word “God” is so subjective in that it does not even have to be a Biblical God; but a god of one’s own creation. (However, that’s a point I think I have discussed with you before.)

Insurance is right for any logical person, but again, we are discussing Jesus’ claims in the context of the Gospels and thus we are forced to read with objectivity of the verses Jesus himself makes discourse on.

Jesus gives the believer somewhat of a life blueprint when he states: “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to want you shall put on, Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather in barns; and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?…And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.” Matt. 6: 25 -29 and again in Luke 10.

So, be it insurance or lighting, the Christian who is “excited about Jesus” has the loving savior’s own promise of his care and protection.

Dr. Page is a true religious demagogue who pipes the tune of faith and expects all believers to dance along. In such a light, I guess in his position as president of the largest evangelical sect of Christendom in the U.S., he is simply on par.

Yes, atheists (in general) are logical and not being “excited about Jesus” they want the things Caesar wants: Health, Life and Auto Insurance. As an Atheist (and notice I use it as a proper noun), I do want the comforts and security on my own terms even when I take certain risks. I am told that riding my motorcycle will get me killed. So be it, but I will died happy.

And, may I ask, just who is not afraid of pain? One would have to be a sadomasochist not to be. I resist disease and pain for the same reasons Jesus promised Heaven to those believers who suffer in the here and now enjoy meant of life / existence.

“If we came from nothingness and our end is nothingness, the death is what?” As an Atheist I answer as a resounding: Nothingness!

Speaking for myself and as an Atheist, life can be compared to a medieval castle on a cold moonless winter’s night. Without windows, there are only uncovered openings in the stone walls. For warmth and protection from the night’s cold, there is a large fire burning in the center of the room. From out of nowhere, a small bird flies in one window and only briefly flies across the lighted, warm castle room then out the other window again in the cold dark night.

My life is like that bird. However, as person who came for nothingness and will return to nothingness, I want to fly pass the warmth of the fire as close as comfort will allow before I return once again into the cold dark world of nothingness.

My happiness is now and not with some god, who for me is…NOTHINGNESS.

Park out said...

What? if your not exited about God either your faith is being tested or you don't kow if he loives you you might not even be a Christian.There is a catchThis coud be God saying I want you to do morae for me so If I weren't exited I would praise the Lord Who made you Loves you and died for you.

Anonymous said...

you crazy God loves and made you if you havent expirienced God check out the Campus crusade website. Also search cross and the switchblade. The cross wins. People were able to get off of heirloin byu Gods spirit. Jesus was perfect and they crucified him.