Unbelievers Are Weak In Their Unbelieving Convictions!

In the eighties when I flew constantly over Brazil and a few countries of below the Southern Hemisphere, I used to notice how many “agnostics” and “atheists” all of a sudden would become “religious” during periods of heavy turbulence or any commotion during flight that posed a danger of a massive loss of life. I even got to the point of exposing a Bible that had my name engraved in golden letters “Rev. Milton Almeida” (although I despise the “Rev” title) only to find out how many people would procure a conversation with the “Rev.” carrying a Bible during a turbulent and uncomfortable flight. It was, pardon me my mean spiritedness, even amusing when people would approach me and ask me questions as to whether I really believed the Scripture and if I prayed for the flight and then confess to me as if I requested, that they were unbelievers.

I remember an occasion when I was flying from the Southern part of Brazil to the city where I used to live, São Paulo, when this, as reported to me later, important and well known psychiatrist was sitting next to me in an Airbus, the same model that had been found to be involved in several crashes during that time which resulted in massive loss of life. When he saw my Bible “accidentally” slipping off my briefcase be engaged in a conversation with me in a sort of challenging and mocking tone asking me if I believed the things written in the book, and then challenging me with issues of mental illness, homosexuality (remember this is in the 80’s!), and took the time to tell me “the ridiculous things that Scripture readers rejected” in a demonstration of his sheer ignorance of what Christians believe and how stereotypical even a man of his knowledge and education can be on issues of religion.

Then, the storm hit! That plane was swinging as a blender… Trust me, I was scared to death! But not scared of death! I always had a sentence in my mind during crisis in airplanes, of which I could write a book as they were many during the 15 years of flying as a management consultant for an international firm and later to a Brazilian firm: I am not scared of crashing… it is the sudden encounter to the ground that scares me”. So, I was attempting to draw smiles, and stay calm, but it was very difficult.  The air movements were so intense amidst the Cumulonimbus clouds that the captain later told us that in one of the “drops” we actually went down 1,000 feet in a split second. Oh, I remember that one! He didn’t have to tell me! No… not because of the impact of the drop, but because the man sitting next to me, had a sudden conversion, not to Jesus, but to me… Out of the thin air, no pun intended, he was asking me if I would be praying for the flight so nothing serious would befall us and that soon we would land safely and survive. I simply told him that all he previously had said about Scripture believers was wrong and that now he was making another mistake which was to expect me to believe for him, in other words, vicariously have faith for him. I mentioned to him that I was a protestant and although I could pray for him I could not believe in his instead… that he would have to find a way to believe himself. Nervous and frightened as he was he actually babbled a small prayer, always that conditional “if you’re there God, do this and do that”. God must have heard him because we did land safely for mine and his joy!

I don’t want to stretch your permission to my “mean spiritedness” in telling you of the occasions when unbelievers called me crying out for prayer when their babies were seriously ill, another one, who owned a company where I worked, who asked me to pray for his dying mother, and another who mocked me every day he would see me calling me “padre” knowing the differences between what I was and a “padre”, a man who had been diagnosed with cancer and consulted me about praying for him, and if in my denomination we would pray for the sick. The point is, however, that unbelievers are not very convicted of their convictions. Well, they are, until they need something from the entity they despise and do not believe. This is good, not bad and not something that followers of Christ should mock, but it is just a real crack on the credibility of those who populate the Internet today to express their unbelief, mocking the Scripture and its followers. I do not see very many Scripture believing Christians resorting to pagan deities when they are in some kind of predicament, so it is fair for me to expect that, the self-proclaimed and publicly open unbelievers, more so yet, from those who make a point to mock believers in virtually everything they write, would have the same convictions; the latter should merely admit that their unbelief is temporary, until something threatens their comfort zone and attempt to refrain from mocking believers.

I am not defending ignorance and that Christians should shun intellectuality and take advantage of every moment of crisis in someone else’s life simply to act in a “I told you so…” kind of stance. Christians should be followers of Christ in whatever circumstance and find wisdom not to appear that they want others to do badly in order for them to be somehow, “attracted” to faith. Followers of Christ should never rejoice in anyone’s suffering, but suffer with them; we should bring Christ to them in their level and not take a lofty stance as if we are not subject to the same fears of suffering. The idea of taking advantage of situations where the other person is in some kind of predicament to “preach at” them and to defend the tenets of the Christian faith is not what I propose with this article. What I propose with this article and the examples herein is just to convey that most believers are fully convicted of their beliefs. Unbelievers, I doubt!



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11 Replies to “Unbelievers Are Weak In Their Unbelieving Convictions!”

  1. If having voluntary Bible classes and asking if someone has a home church or the use of the not scriptural “have you accepted Christ” means to tell others how to live, then, there are not many suggestions and questions as to what is telling someone how to live their lives! I have so many examples of actual “telling others how to live their lives” that are not coming from Christians but I don’t want to inject current politics in this issue. I think there is a lot of inappropriate things that Christians do in their desire of sharing their faith and, in their opinion, improving people’s lives, but it is not necessarily constituted in “telling others how to live their lives”. Again, I will not mention any examples here in terms of “what food to eat and feed your kids”, what type of “stance Christians should have in view of untested societal changes” (the euphemistic “sensitivity classes” ordered by courts)… but… I am almost yielding to the temptation of mentioning such examples just to prove that asking if someone has tasted lamb eyes, or promoting Arab language tests is not “telling others how to live their lives” as it is not when they ask them or mention the things they have in both articles posted. Whew, I resisted!

    1. First, there is very little in American public education that is “voluntary.” What’s not controlled through ciriculum mandates is often manipulated through peer pressure in a age range where fitting in is often paramount in an individual’s life.

      Second, not only is there nothing in a law inforcement officer’s job description involving religious proscilization, stopping for a blue/red light is by no means a “voluntary” activity on America’s highways and byways.

      Third, despite clergy claims to the contrary, Christianity does not own the concept of God any more than Christianity is the exclusive property of the Republican Party. In fact, the idea of a Supreme Being was around long before Christianity. For example:

      A. Atenism had a brief run in the 14th century BC.

      B. Zoroastrianism, which influenced Christianity, can be traced to the 6th century BC.

      C. Judaism, from which Christiany sprang, has likewise been around since probably the 6th century BC.

      D. Shaivism has murky beginnings likely around 5th century BC.

      E. Vaishnavism’s principal deity can be dated to at least 300 BC and its origins may be much older.

  2. Have you heard the one about the Christian barber who scared his customers by asking them where they would spend eternity every time he was sharpening his razor blade in preparation for a shave?

    1. Have you heard the one about the customer answering the barber by pulling out a loaded .44 Colt, cocking the hammer, and answering the barber what happens to barbers in this life when they let their razors slip?

  3. I don’t want to get into this discussion. But can’t help but think of a new movie proposal. Directed by Tarantino, of course. What if Jesus and all the disciples packed 44 Magnums. The NRA can produce it, to advance their political agenda of all students and teachers doing the same, to save lives. Temple Mount, medics called as Jesus turns over the money changers tables, and plugs 6 in rapid succession. He wasn’t carrying an automatic with a high capacity clip, otherwise business activities would have ceased forever in the Temple (as the NRA points out, high capacity clips should have been available at the local market). A little later, in a garden, Peter pulls out his 44 Mag, and eliminates all the guards trying to arrest Jesus. The NRA quickly puts out a press release that this is a much better ending to the story than a crucifixion. All 11 disciples then plug Judas, causing both his head and guts to fall out, in slow motion, stop action, much blood in field. A happy ending for all on the right wing.

    1. Of course, in this type of real life scenario, Jesus would have truly been little more than an historical footnote or even thoroughly unmemorable. Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. are memorable simply because their protest movements revealed their opposition to be little more than thugs.

      The apocryphal story of the barber with the razor only reveals the barber’s fear of death. Once confronted by someone for whom death is his stock and trade, the barber’s so-called witness is instantly neutralized. There is no other cards the barber can deal. He’s already played his full hand. In the process of doing so, he’s also revealed his weakness – his own fear of death.

      Quite often, those who’ve stared death in the face no longer fear it. That’s why military veterans scare the absolute hell out of more right-wing draft-dodging god-and-country pantywaisted preachers than many people suspect.

  4. A cut to the chase as an old cliche from Western movies phrased it:

    The most frightening human being in the world is the one no longer fearing death. When this occurs, both secular and religious authorities lose control over that individual. This shakes societies’ control freaks to the core.

    Now, this is not necessary the same as having a death wish. Rather it simply means that either life or death becomes one of two paths to follow. For those so disposed, life or death is much like coming to a fork in the road and not being overly concerned over which road to follow. As Robert Frost might explain it, one or the other merely becomes The Road Not Taken.

    What’s more, if a critical mass of these individuals rebel, they can bring the most powerful society on earth to its knees. They don’t need weapons to do it! Among the more prominent examples in recent history was Estonia’s Singing Revolution during the late 1980s. Even the military might of the Soviet Union proved no match for a bunch of common folks singing their previously suppressed national anthem. Much the same thing happened when half a million East Germans began shouting, “Wir vollen raus!”

    Even individuals of this persuasion are those most likely to bring about social change on this earth. In fact, the influences of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. live on long after they were murdered. Even the spirit of the secular Socrates taunting his accusers and drinking the hemlock still haunts latter day tyrants. it is as if a hand of the dead philosopher is reaching from the grave across the intervening centuries.

    On the other hand, too much power in institutionalized and organized Christianity has been centered on a fear of death, hell, and Satan. This isn’t salvation. It’s merely a cheap, tawdry control mechanism peddled to the masses. Even worse, because it is of men rather than of God, it sets no one free. Rather it enslaves them!

    A decided difference between first century Christians today’s preachers and pew-sitters centers on their attitudes toward death. In this regard, the story of Perpetua comes to mind. According to the written record, this early third century martyr guided a reluctant executioner’s sword to slit her own throat!

    In sharp contrast. far too many Christians these days exude and exaggerated sense of entitlement. Because the lives of today’s Christians are largely without sacrifice, their witness is hollow. Having failed to put a knife to their own throats when seated at the rich man’s table, preachers are particularly onerous in this regard. These men are not God’s anointed. Rather they are his disappointed.

    Hung up of silly culture wars and the things of men has cost the early 21st century church virtually an entire generation of youth. Not surprisingly, because the church has become salt without savor, it is getting trampled underfoot. After all, if later day Christians had been the first century Christians, there would be no latter day Christianity.

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