“So, are you a Christian?”
A loaded question if ever there was one. I’m still working out a concise yet accurate way of answering it. I know that whether I say “yes" or “no", they’re going to concoct an almost-certainly inaccurate picture of my beliefs.
Growing up and living in and around Grand Rapids practically all my life, I’ve encountered this question publicly enough to see a full spectrum of reactions from unnecessarily inquisitive strangers. Those priceless glares of utter revulsion and condemnation when I was an angsty atheist teenager remain fresh in my mind’s eye. As an eager-to-please little kid, I remember feeling an emptiness behind my claims of faith, but I needed that sweet, sweet validation. Which brings us to the baffled and befuddled stares from trying to summarize my nearly incoherent beliefs as a zonked-out young adult.
I’m going to try to express my beliefs here as articulately as I’m able, but be warned, I’m self-aware enough to know this shit gets weird. I’ll pepper in some comic relief to offset the backbreakingly heavy subject matter, but don’t mistake my humor for flippancy.
Here we go:
I believe in the crucifixion, resurrection, and the immaculate conception of a God-Man hybrid rulebreaker named Yeshua. I believe that by our modern standards, He would’ve been considered “black”, and that He was conspiratorially executed by the State and the Church, though He knew it was coming and did not try to avoid it.
I believe the ultimate purpose and function of this act of self-sacrifice was to conquer Death in both the physical and spiritual realms. In doing so, The Anointed One made way for all souls to be reunited with the pure love of God, from which all souls originate.
I believe the Bible is a man-made, fallible construction. While containing Truth, it’s not itself the literal Word of God, as this was Christ, the Word incarnated as flesh. (This one pisses off “real" Christians a LOT. Sorry your favorite manga is actually a shitty translation. Just keep reading.)
I believe that there is an evil dickhead entity devoted entirely to the destruction and corruption of God’s creation. Furthermore, that this entity is motivated primarily by pain, and a desire to spread its pain: that which it causes itself by continually rejecting Love. I believe God would be capable of obliterating this Evil, if such annihilation wasn’t in direct opposition to the merciful nature of God.
I believe the soul is immortal, eternal, and unceasing. There is a part of you, dear reader, as much as there is a part of me (yes, even I, a ginger) which cannot be destroyed. It exists before your parents conceive your body and continues existing after your body breaks down. It is the part of you reading this, the part of you that says “I am Me.”, the part that aches when someone lies to you or when you lie to someone, and the part of you that loves and cherishes people.
I believe that God is the reason we have free will. I believe “God’s plan" was actually for humans to eternally hang out with animals in a perfect garden, chilling, eating fruit, fucking, maybe even blowing big kush clouds. Then we catastrophically ruined it, and have been fucking it up ever since. We had help making mistakes from that dickhead I mentioned, sure, but we chose.
I believe Heaven and Hell are dimensional planes of existence. Multidimensional travel is fine for Rick & Morty, but I think it’s an abysmal idea for real people to attempt.
Heaven is like the most perfect hotel imaginable: everyone there has their own perfect “room”; you’re free to visit others, but my “perfect” isn’t going to be your “perfect". A fridge is fully stocked with all your favorite things every time you open it, everything is free, everyone is in their best possible form (whatever that means to them), the pool is always open, and it never has pee in it.
Hell, on the other hand, is worse than the absolute fucking worst thing conceivable. Take going to the DMV, set it on fire, throw it in a wood chipper, while all the most indescribably horrifying screams of agony drown out any and all attempts at begging for it to stop. There is also, somehow, an unshakable sense that your suffering is amusing someone or something, though no laughter can possibly be heard through the aforementioned soul-screeching. (I’m pretty sure it’s that piece-of-shit entity from earlier.)
I don’t believe either Heaven or Hell is usually the immediate result of someone dying, unless they were a spectacular bastard or an indisputable ray of light. I also don’t believe in the heinously narcissistic narrative that only “Christians" go to Heaven. I believe most souls go through reincarnation for longer than I’d like to estimate.
Finally, I believe if you actually read all the way through this mess I threw together on my phone at 2 in the morning, I should buy you a beer or something. God bless you. I don’t need this to persuade you of anything, but I do hope it makes you think.