I let my mom and mother-in-law guilt me into going to my old church this past Father's day. Deep down inside though, I think that's my last time going there; although, I haven't voiced this to my family, yet.
Certain elements of the pastor's message really irked me. For starters, he stated that the sort of people who want results before they can ever be convinced would have a hard time being Christians. Christians need faith, he asserted. And he defined faith as trusting and believing without any results or evidence. If you need evidence or results, Christianity isn't for you because you don't have faith-- that is, according to the pastor's sermon.
I was also bothered by how he constantly insinuated that Christians have happier marriages and home life. He frequently suggested that believers always had "blessings" following them while disobedient Christians and unsaved people would always have trouble as their constant companion. I particularly take issue with that idea. Having been Christian, I don't see that trouble has followed me now that I am atheist. In many ways, my life has become far easier. Yes, I still have problems . . . but that was true while living as a Christian, too.
I think what bothered me most from his sermon, though was his key point-- his encouragement to "just keep waiting". He encouraged the congregation to just keep waiting for Jesus to return . . . just keep waiting for God to turn around a situation that seemed impossible. Just keep waiting for God to reward you for your faithfulness.
Just keep waiting.
Then, he gave an analogy of a school child waiting for a bus. That child never leaves the bus stop until the bus comes-- even if the bus seems to be running late. Just keep waiting-- that bus is sure to come.
For as many times as my kids have missed the bus, this was a poorly chosen analogy.
The bus has passed by my house without me hearing it. So, I still send my kids out. The bus (of course) will never come. At some point, I've need to understand that we've missed the bus. At that point, I must take matters into my own hands.
But, you may say-- Ah, the bus did come . . . you just missed it.
Well, there have been a few occasions where I know I was on time for the bus, but it never came to pick up my kids. (Sort of like in Waiting for Godot).
Buses do break down, you know. This has happened one or twice. We also had a situation where the bus driver stepped off the bus between stops for some reason. He twisted his ankle while going down the steps, fell and tore a tendon. He couldn't finish his route. Another bus never came; I had to take my kids to school myself.
You know how I found out the bus wasn't coming? I looked at the clock and compared it to the time the bus usually arrives. That time had long passed and I realized I needed to take matters into my own hands.
Influencing people to mindlessly wait for anything is regressive at best. Discouraging the desire for supporting evidence is folly and worse than being regressive.
It's actually quite dangerous.