A friend emailed me this statement from a seminary professor: “The bulk of Christians seek salvation.” My friend likes to bait me, and he did so again. In a return email, I used a form of teaching that Jesus used often called didactics, which means one answers a question by asking a question. My questions to him were “What’s salvation?” and “Who is ‘the bulk’?” The truth is, I have no idea what people mean when they talk about salvation because there are so many concepts. Let’s look at a few:
- Some believe that when people are baptized, they are saved. I was baptized when I was three weeks old. Before and after the baptism, I cut loose in my diapers whenever I wanted. I didn’t care what time of day or night it was; I wailed until someone did what I wanted. I don’t get how baptism saved me. I was the same me before and after the event—self-centered and all about me.
- Fundamentalists state if people are baptized twice, or “born again,” they’ll be saved. I have a friend who was on skid row for seventeen years. He was baptized five times (he needed a place to stay and something to eat) but was still was a roaring drunk. He sobered up only when he took total responsibility for his life and worked through an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program.
- Another salvation concept is based on the completion of good works. If a man who doesn’t drink and is nice goes to church, attends weekly Bible study, pledges lots of money, and volunteers for everything, he’ll get a straight pass through the pearly gates when he dies, where he’ll spend eternity with all his friends. His first wife, who was meaner than a junkyard dog, will not be allowed in. I’ll share a secret—not a word of the above is ever going to happen. So why bother being dunked twice?
Here’s my take: Salvation is one of those words the folks in the “Christian club” love to throw around as they ask, “Are you saved?” Heaven help you if you say no. And it’s even worse if you say, “And I don’t want to be.” This question irritates me because it has strong hostile insinuations that if you haven’t been dunked and joined the “Everlasting Love” fundamentalist church, you will live in hell for now and eternity. That question is totally devoid of Jesus’s great message about agape love.
There are many more versions of salvation that make no more sense than the above, but enough of that.
I have no desire to be saved, but instead I seek a way to lead this life to the fullest. I know I have free choice and must be fully responsible for all my actions. No “Jesus, Sacrificial Lamb” is going to cover me or free me from being responsible. Therefore, the idea that Jesus’s death on the cross took away my sins is silly and a waste of a wonderful Jewish man. Finally, the supposed Great Master Planner of this horrendous deed should be locked up and the key thrown away. Today, sacrificing one’s child is called child abuse.
Am I saved? Absolutely not. Do I have the tools to lead life to the fullest? Absolutely yes!
What do my readers think?
Photo in the public domain courtesy of ariesa66.