I'm Tired of Hearing About What
Jesus Wants Me to Do
By Bill Fairchild
I was driving to work the other morning and surfing through the radio stations when I heard a woman tell me "Jesus wants to burn in your heart." The more I thought about what she said, the angrier I got as I realized how stupid that statement is.
First of all, I am scared to death of having Jesus burn in my heart. The only time I ever saw anyone's heart burning was in the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark". At the end of that movie the high priest, who had just put his hands down inside the ark of the covenant, got zapped in the chest with a flying flame, his heart started to burn, then his whole body exploded. I don't want that to happen to me, that's for sure. So nobody is going to burn in my heart.
Of course that's not what she really meant, but she was speaking so intensely I couldn't help taking her words literally at first, then I remembered that cool movie scene. What she really meant was that Jesus wants us to be excited about him, to be zealous doing good Jesus kinds of things, tell others how wonderful Jesus is, etc.
Once I stopped thinking about having my heart burn or my whole body explode and I realized what she really meant, at first I thought that was OK, because a lot of other cool guys also said the same things that Jesus did, like love your neighbor as yourself and treat others the way you want to be treated. These other cool guys lived a long time before Jesus did, too. There were plenty of moral philosophers in ancient China, Greece, and other cultures who figured out the same things that Jesus said many centuries later.
In fact, another equally valid moral philosophy is found in the movie "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." In that movie, the two main precepts for living a decent life far off in the future were originally uttered by the two San Fernando Valley dudes Bill and Ted, who said, ca. 1990: (1) Be excellent to one another, and (2) Party on, dudes! Truly a latter-day Buddha-Jesus has spoken to us through the mind of a Hollywood script writer. Or we could go with the John Lennon and Paul McCartney philosophy: "Let it be." That works, too. It's all good.
But then I realized that here was a total stranger trying to tell me what Jesus wants, and, by implication, what Jesus wants me to do. And then I got really angry at her pathetic attempts to manipulate me. I figure that if Jesus wants to tell me what he wants me to do, he ought to have enough balls to tell me himself directly rather than expect me to take some total stranger's word for it.
I have a boss named Ron. He tells me what to do some times. He doesn't go out onto the street, select a passer-by at random, and tell him "Go tell Fairchild to do such and such". Ron calls me on the phone himself and tells me directly what he wants me to do. Or he sends me an email. I would think Ron was pretty stupid if he expected me to do what a total stranger said Ron wanted me to do without checking with Ron first to verify it.
I am a professional computer programmer. What if a total stranger told me "Ron wants you to write a computer program to translate from English to Russian", I start working on that, and six months later the real Ron finds out I have been wasting six months on a program that my company can't sell to anyone? Ron just might fire me from my job.
What if I were to find something Ron had written 30 years ago and assume that is what he wants me to do today? That would be pretty stupid, too. The same thing is true with trying to figure out what society was like in the days of the New Testament and live literally like that. The Bible says that Jesus is supposed to be our boss. I understand that. I don't expect my boss Ron to rely on other people to tell me what Ron wants, nor do I expect that what Ron wants me to do will never change, so why should Jesus be any different? Also I know that Ron is a real person, so when I get a message directly from Ron then I know the message is authentic.
In late 1965 I was radio surfing one night, and heard another intense voice telling me what Jesus wanted me to do. I began wasting 30 years trying to do what that liar said Jesus wanted me to do. That was the voice of Armstrong, Inc., sometimes incorrectly called the Worldwide Church of God. So now this burned child dreads the fire, and I will no longer believe any human being who tries to tell me what Jesus wants me to do. If Jesus wants me to do such and such, then I am going to have to have a message directly from Jesus. And it will have to be done in such a way that I know for sure it is Jesus, and not a lying spirit. Even the Bible, which I no longer worship, says I'm supposed to verify spiritual messages, because there are false apostles, false messages, false angels, false everything. Hell, there might even be a false Bible for all I know.
Let's analyze this a bit further. I have come up with three possibilities on this Jesus guy:
(1) He's a total fake, all his sayings and deeds were written much later by people with a major agenda of greed and power, they made up stories to make it look as if Jesus fulfilled all sorts of Old Testament prophecies, and they pulled details out of the most popular god-myths that people believed in at that time so that everyone would be able to feel comfortable in this new synthetic religion they were creating as a way to control people. In other words, there is no historical Jesus. If this person never really existed, then how stupid would we be if we were to try to figure out what this non-existent person wants us to do and then do it? If Jesus never really existed, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to live moral lives, because we have plenty of evidence that there really was a Confucius and a Lao Tsu, and they promoted the same kind of morality as Jesus.
(2) There really was a Jesus in the first century, he was an extraordinarily fine human being, he had great charisma, he had a wonderful moral philosophy, but he wasn't an eternally living divine being, so he died. Confucius, Lao Tsu, Buddha, and quite a few other people have done just as much and just as well in figuring out how we should live. I try as hard as I can to live by the Golden Rule, not because Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, or Confucius may have said it but because IT MAKES SENSE. Suppose I were to be a really nice guy, too, and promote a moral philosophy which, for some bizarre reason, becomes the new world religion 500 years from now. Should people then try to figure out and do what Fairchild wants? I don't think so. What if they find these writings and then tell each other "Fairchild wants to burn in your heart?" Get a grip, people. I don't want to burn in anyone's heart now or 500 years from now, when I will have been long dead. "Be excellent to one another" is enough moral philosophy for any age.
(3) There really was a Jesus in the first century, he was a divine being, he died for my sins, then he was resurrected and given all power in heaven and earth, and he now is eternally alive again, ruling everything, sitting at God's right hand in heaven, etc. etc. blah blah the quintessential male sky-god. If all that is true, then this guy has enough power to tell me directly himself what he wants me to do, so I am waiting for the message to come from him and not some total stranger. I already tried believing a total stranger who claimed to know what Jesus wanted me to do, and that stranger raped my mind and cleaned out my wallet for 30 years. Never again. From now on I want to hear Jesus' messages directly from Jesus.
Personally, I think possibility number (1) above is the most likely, but there is no way to know for sure.
Anyway, I think I am already doing what the Biblical Jesus would want me to do. Namely, I am living by the Golden Rule. I try to treat other people fairly. I try very hard not to cause any other person to suffer any emotional or physical hurt because of something I do. I just want to be excellent to others, and hope that they will be excellent back to me. If I mess up and hurt someone else, I apologize and try to be forgiven by the person whom I injure. And I don't believe total strangers when they try to manipulate me into doing something. I check them out, think about what they say, and reject their false teachings. I am using my head, doing independent thinking, and, since I may have been bought with a price, am steadfastly refusing to become the servant or slave of any human.
Nobody, not even a slick-mouthed, fast-talking radio preacher, is going to do my thinking for me. I have been down that road before, and it cost me plenty. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
And that is why I am really sick and tired of hearing other human beings pretend that they know what Jesus wants me to do. I am totally confident that Jesus, if he is real, wants me to be excellent to others; no more, no less. And if this woman radio preacher were really going to be excellent towards me, then she wouldn't be telling me what Jesus wants me to do. She would just let it be.
Douglas, Mass. 08 JUN 2003
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