Paranoia and Empty Threats
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One of the risks of replying nicely to a certain type of Christian is that you end up on their mass mailing/forwarding list of good Christian lessons. One I got last week contained over a dozen images of a Christian monument in Groom. Texas, each with a brief commentary explaining why Jesus is so absolutely wonderful and perfect and totally fabulous.
The opening image (reduced in size) and initial comments (also reduced in size) are reproduced below.
What an incredible display. This could be one of the
last surviving Christian symbols in the country!
"...one of the last surviving Christian symbols in the country!" Seriously? I've done a lot of driving on the backroads of the USA, and I doubt there are many places where you can drive 50 miles without seeing a cross or three on at least one person's property. Religious billboards litter the landscape. Numerous residences have their household Madonna on display. Every church is a monument, not to mention the statuary which might be outside the churches. There is probably at least one stations of the cross site in every state. And yet, somehow the sender of the email seems to consider religious symbolism under threat in the USA, so that Groom, Texas has one of the few surviving sites.
It is a confusion about what is permissible on private property funded by believers and what is permissible in the public sphere, funded by everyone.
There is no threat to private religious display. Seeing a threat is paranoia, pure and simple. It is seeing persecution where there is none.
I won't bore you with the rest of the images and commentary, but just jump to the end of the message, the plea to forward it and the empty threat if I don't.
If you believe in God and in Jesus Christ His Son, you may wish to send it on.... If not, just ignore it.
If you ignore it, just remember that Jesus said. 'If you deny me before man, I will deny you before my Father in Heaven.
Right. If I don't believe in God and Jesus, then together they are going to send me to hell. And Jesus won't be my imaginary friend. Boo hoo! As in the previous meditation, they just want to threaten me with the bogeyman (an amorphous imaginary being used by adults to frighten children into compliant behaviour.)
Paranoid with imaginary threats upon their beliefs, this type of Christian think they can defend and promote those beliefs with empty threats. Rational people can see through both empty and imaginary threats.