I can’t watch Revelations

I tried. I really tried. But I just couldn’t watch any more of it.

It may be because I’m not much of a horror fan, which this miniseries was most obviously turning out to be. It may be because I just can’t stand to watch really poor handling of scripture. But I couldn’t put more than about an hour or so into this.

I think I just couldn’t stand the idea that someone somewhere thinks this is what I believe because I’m a Christian. The entire plot (what I watched of it) was an occultic good versus evil plot. Satan/antichrist is working to do his evil while God is working for good. And of course both of them need so much help from the human hero and antagonist.

Sometimes I wonder what the uninformed agnostic/athiest person thinks about Christianity. There are a lot of conflicting and mismatched ideas and imagery in the popular culture that claim to be Christian. Here’s a short list of stuff out there purporting to be Christian that I don’t believe are true:

  • Angels are cute, chubby baby-like beings with wings
  • You’ll go to hell for certain sins, like making fun of a priest, but other sins just don’t matter, like lying to make someone feel better
  • Some things are so good and enjoyable that they must be sinful
  • Prayer is about twisting God into doing what I want
  • Sexual intercourse is sinful in all its forms
  • Peter stands at the gates of heaven and decides who gets in

Most stuff that’s shown on TV and in movies as Christian seems to be more in common with a pagan mindset. For example, the idea that we need to bribe God into treating us well by our good works and prayers is a lot closer to the ancient practices of “appeasing the gods” than what the Bible actually teaches.

Or how about various forms of impressing God via donations to charities, religious fasting, volunteering at homeless shelters, etc.? God isn’t impressed with us when we do these things. Certainly not when we do them out of a motivation to impress Him. Again, this is more pagan than Christian.

In fact, the entire idea of salvation is usually presented in a “you can get a good deal” kind of way. Put your trust in God, and you won’t have to go to hell when you die. Put up with some inconvenience on this side of the grave and cash in on a great reward after you die. It’s a good deal.

I think a thinking person who sees this supposed Christianity has to shake his head and laugh. It’s nothing more than a modern form of attempting to appease the gods into granting us a good harvest at the end of the summer. It’s putting ritual into our lives in order to give us some sense of control over things that we can’t control. But that’s not the message of the Bible, and it isn’t what Christianity is about.

Christianity is about God reaching down to save mankind from His own righteous wrath. God has rescued us because it pleased Him to do so. And Christians should live moral lives out of gratitude to God and because it brings Him glory. All the outer trappings that our society associates with spiritual behavior are only helpful to the extent that they help us understand that.