Most Christians Don’t Believe It

I recently took my family to Universal Studios in Florida.  My 9 year old son LOVES Harry Potter…LOVES it!  He’s read all the books in the series, including the peripheral books – The Cursed Child, Quidditch Through The Ages, and whatever else he can get his hands on.

The sole destination for him in this trip was Harry Potter world.  Rides, attractions, and other features of the Universal theme park(s) were a very distant second.

We walked past the “night bus”, featured in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, complete with a driver and the talking shrunken head with the Jamaican accent, so we decided to stop and take a picture.

night_bus_cropped.jpg

The driver’s commitment to his character was impressive – he never broke character and was always “in” the Harry Potter universe.  He spoke with a blue collar British accent.  If not for our geography, I might have believed that he was a British bus driver.

As I took the picture, he asked me if I was from the Daily Prophet, the most widely-read magical newspaper. According to Pottermore, the Daily Prophet is delivered daily to nearly every wizarding household in Britain.

I replied, “of course”.

He looked at me in stunned disbelief.  “Really?” he asked.

“To be printed in tomorrow’s edition,” I responded.

The driver looked like he’d won the lottery, boastful of his upcoming minute of fame.  He played his role very well.

Fast forward a few weeks to Easter dinner at my in-laws’ house.  The family was there to celebrate the death and rising of their lord and savior, commemorating the “historical” event where Jesus rose from the dead to alert his closest followers that he’s the new boss (Mthw 28:18-19).

As I was at this perfectly lovely family gathering, stuffing my face with mashed potatoes and ham (Jesus’s favorite pork product, dontcha know?), I found myself remembering the stunned look on the night driver’s face when he learned he might be featured in the magical newspaper.

The driver looked the way people look when they grapple with unlikely things.

Yet here we were, in a house jam-packed with mostly Protestant Christians (save for that one atheist in the corner with a plateful of forbidden meat), there to celebrate one of the most holy days of the year, and the kids are looking around the house for the baskets the Easter bunny strategically placed, while the adults talked about sports, cars, hunting, and the other things that are discussed at virtually every single other family gathering, regardless of the holy ambiance.  No one had a hint of stunned disbelief or reverence for the unlikely holy day which served to save their eternal soul.

If they really believed these things, they would be going ape-shit.  They would literally be unable to contain their excitement in the knowledge that their lord and savior conquered death on their behalves.

But they don’t believe it.  Not really.  They’ve repurposed Jesus into a meek and mild buddy figure – a stuffed animal or dashboard hula girl.  Jesus is the better version of themselves who rescues them from their conflicted nature.  He listens to them when no one else will.  He’s the moral ideal who works on their behalf in a world full of dark wizards.

But they don’t really believe what Christianity asks them to believe.  They believe a sweetened condensed version which ignores dangerous implications, and recasts Jesus as a modern and fun-loving gameshow host who, in contrast with the historical Jesus (assuming there was one), actually knows where the sun goes at night.

They live in the modern world where the supernatural serves no purpose except to expose the ignorance of the person arguing that it must exist.  But like Harry Potter,  I’m afraid these ideas belong in the fiction section.

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Author: Tim...Stepping Out

Tim Stepping Out

8 thoughts on “Most Christians Don’t Believe It”

  1. Spot on. This reminded me of this passage from Scott Adams, God’s Debris:

    “Four billion people say they believe in God, but few
    genuinely believe. If people believed in God, they would
    live every minute of their lives in support of that belief. Rich
    people would give their wealth to the needy. Everyone
    would be frantic to determine which religion was the true
    one. No one could be comfortable in the thought that they
    might have picked the wrong religion and blundered into
    eternal damnation, or bad reincarnation, or some other
    unthinkable consequence. People would dedicate their lives
    to converting others to their religions.

    “A belief in God would demand one hundred percent
    obsessive devotion, influencing every waking moment of
    this brief life on earth. But your four billion so-called believers
    do not live their lives in that fashion, except for a few.
    The majority believe in the usefulness of their beliefs—an
    earthly and practical utility—but they do not believe in the
    underlying reality.”

    I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “If you asked
    them, they’d say they believe.”

    “They say that they believe because pretending to
    believe is necessary to get the benefits of religion. They tell
    other people that they believe and they do believer-like
    things, like praying and reading holy books. But they don’t
    do the things that a true believer would do, the things a true
    believer would have to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Who is the better savior? Harry Potter of Hogwarts or Jesus of Nazareth.

    I’d pick Harry all the way since he’s not an egotistical megalomaniac like Jesus (John and Revelation) but at the same time he’s not a wuss (Mark). While both of them came back from the dead, Harry defeated Lord Voldemort with a single shot whereas Jesus already came back from the dead and evil still persists. Also, Harry’s birth story doesn’t involve crazy shenanigans while Jesus (or God) had sex with his own mother to conceive himself. Unlike Jesus who doesn’t know his mother and is a racist, misogynistic prick for calling a Canaanite woman a dog, Harry is good friends with a lot of women especially Hermione and he always remember Lily and James especially when casting his Patronus.

    Between two magic tales, one involves a lot of mental gymnastics no wonder a lot of Christians don’t read their Bibles. Same way can be said with apologetic Muslims but that’s for another story.

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    1. I agree 100%. Harry’s journey is much more captivating, he overcomes personal flaws (including a “thorn” that he can’t seem to shake). And he eventually gets rid of his personal evil with hard work, dedication, and a collection of like-minded friends who he doesn’t call “Satan” (unlike Jesus, who called Peter that).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps a bit unfair as I suspect the Christ stories did have great appeal at the time, and that the versions we have are a bit more sterile for the sake of theology over literature value.
        I think the Toledot gives us insight to a more interesting narrative that makes Yeshu a talented magician driven by a desire to shame those who would brandish him as a bastard.
        In the hands of a good writer, I think there is much that could be salvaged into a good yarn.

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  3. Belief is not a binary option, it is much more nuanced. There are people who just believe stuff because their intellectual capabilities have not been properly developed. For others, belief comes more from a fear of unbelief, and can be a large driver. These people can be the most dangerous kind of believers, and will follow through on their beliefs, however there are also plenty of malleable beliefs in religion. Very few feel compelled to sell all their possessions to give to the poor, and will interpret these type of commandments metaphorically!

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    1. That’s a fair criticism of my point here. But it’s also sort of what I was getting at. I believe that 1+1=2, and I think that this is axiomatic and immutable.

      Most Religions (although I never got a lot of this when I was a kid growing up in an ELCA Lutheran household) ask their followers to believe in their religion the way I believe that 1+1=2. It seems to me that more and more people are being attracted to literal interpretations of the bible (that might just be my perception though). So, as the percentage of staunchly religious people falls, the percentage of people within religious communities who believe literally in the bible rises.

      Liked by 1 person

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