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I Might Be Wrong

A Note on Confusion

Your View

I Might Be Wrong

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a man named Jesus. He brought to the people of the world new and wonderful ideas. He showed the people how their old, traditional beliefs were not the way things should be. He enlightened them on amazing, revolutionary ideas. Many flocked to him, to learn what he had to say, to hear truth. Others, though, were skeptical--they were not as eager and willing to accept him as savior.

Why? Why would they not want to join this man? He did, after all, bring new teachings, teachings that made life easier, less challenging, and much happier and more hopeful. With Him, the people didn't have to search for what they sought so much. He had all the answers, guaranteed to be completely accurate, even featuring built-in error-correcting mechanisms. The sheer perfection of his words were what made some distrust him. So, Jesus began proving himself through miracles, which made even more believe in him wholeheartedly.

After this wonderful man of peace, love, and forgiveness had died for the second time and left this world (physically, at least), what he had hoped for came true: faith in him spread over all the world. How? Through the word he left behind, the Christian Bible. This book was a truly great piece of work. In it was recorded all of the traditional beliefs before Jesus, the teachings of the good man, and prophesies of the future, including the end of the earth.

Centuries passed, nations rose and fell, wars were fought, lovers were united, families were seperated-- life continued. But in it, throughout everything that happened, the Faith in Jesus's Word persisted. People had hope and a new reason to keep going. Whenever they had a problem or a question troubling their minds, they would simply turn to the Book and the Faith, because therein lied all of truth. They led lives free of complication and full of certainty, for they knew that what they believed was true. They knew that they were the ones who were right; they knew that they had eternal bliss to look forward to when they died; they knew that the Bible was complete and true; they knew that all of the other ideas out there were not only wrong, but likely sent by the devil to lure them away from the truth.

But there were still those skeptics who were unwilling to let go of their minds in order to believe in the man called the Christ. They saw different things and spent their time mostly in thought and conversation. Those with the Faith condemned the thinkers and told them repeatedly of the hell waiting if they did not accept the truth. The thinkers understood the Faith, but couldn't simply accept it as true. Sadly, those of the Faith could not believe that the thinkers understood them. The two groups interacted amicably most of the time, though. The only times they did not were when they argued matters of faith, and that only led to the thinkers crying tears of sadness at the inflexibility of those of Faith. Ironically, those of Faith just grew a condescending grin that said, "We'll see..." Those of the Faith justified their position (known by some as closed-mindedness) with the reason that they were trying to "save" the thinkers from their own closed-mindedness, from eternal damnation in hell. Man, talk about irony.

>It was a very nice thing that the Man and the Book had done for those of the Faith: it had set up a situation that not only made it impossible for anyone else to be right, but that also made the believers not feel bad about their lack of vision by making them work under the pretense that they were always trying to "save" everyone else. Most people loved and adored the ease of life this religion brought (hence it's popularity). Those of Faith did have one problem occasionally, though: they would read the Book and have a question over what something meant. Amazingly, other men arose and began telling people what it meant. And, of course, they would be right. But something strange happened: occasionally, these other men would disagree on what the Word meant. Hm.

People of the Faith began to divide along the lines of these different views. But how could this be explained, you might ask. It's really quite simple: the man you know to be right is the right one, and the rest of the men are sent by the devil to lure you from the truth, and the poor souls who follow the other men are just lost and should be pitied, cried for, looked down upon the same way the thinkers were, and, of course, shown the "truth."

Time continued to pass. People of Faith began seeing things that their Book said about the future coming to pass. The thinkers examined what they were saying and, generally, did not believe that everything they were being told was true, but, they admitted, "We might be wrong." Those of Faith continued, in the way their man said was right, to preach to the thinkers (and those of Faith unfortunate enough to believe in the other men) about the "end-times" and "salvation." The thinkers were consistent, thought. They never said that they were right, and they never said that anyone else was wrong, either. They said that they individually thought this or that, but there was always the admission "I might be wrong."

Eventually the end-times came. When it began, those of Faith rejoiced; they felt vindicated. Once again there was this man named Jesus. He came this time from the sky. The thinkers and all those of Faith stood before Him. The thinkers, calm and curious, then said inside and out, "We were wrong about this," and they incorporated this new experience into their thoughts. Those of the Faith were looking at the thinkers with that sympathetic condescending expression that lived in them.

"What are you doing?" asked Jesus to those of His Faith. They could not answer Him. "You should have read the book I left for you," He continued, "You should have thought about it. Did it not tell you that one would come posing as the Christ of your lives? That that person would be deceiving you, that you should be skeptical of ease and perfection? My friends, do you not see? I am that deception; I am your antichrist. I wish you all had seen that thought is the only way to the truth of your Christ. Do you even know what 'Christ' means?" He paused to let them reflect, glanced down upon each of them, and continued: "I see the fear in your eyes-- do not worry. There is no hell to which you are being sent, not as you think of it, anyway. The Book and everything in it were symbols, not to be taken literally. You should have thought about it."

Jesus then turned to the thinkers, still calm and curious, and said, "You have learned the beginning. Well done. You are now ready to go to the next level." And they were gone. He turned back to those remaining and said, "You, try again." And God said, "Let there be light." Hence came the Big Bang, again, just like before, and all the times before that.

Notes from the author....

As you have hopefully seen, this has been written as a high-level attempt of communication; if taken literally, it grossly miscommunicates things about me and my beliefs. The point of this story is simply to point out something that I have noticed about people in general, not only Christians (keep in mind, also, that I don't mean all Christians). I have had people get very angry-- to the point of refusing to speak to me-- over my choice of Christianity as the story's base. I do admit that I chose Christianity because it is where I can see this the most and as the best example of my point-- if that offends you, I really don't care. I used to, but then I found that each and every offense was based on irrationality; if you have an argument (for or against) what I have said here (in the story or in this note even), then please read on...

Your View

Do you agree with what I have said? You might have similar thoughts as I. As you likely know, it is the nature of things that on any given topic, you will know more about one aspect of it that I will, and I will know more about another aspect of it than you. So, please, continue my thought, or put in into your own terms so that we might learn to communicate better.

Do you disagree with my thoughts? If so, cool; please show me how and where I am wrong-- I look forward to learning what you have to say. Do you want to tell me how stupid I am, how completely ignorant I am of real things? Great <g>, if you can do that, then please do. I do have one rule, though-- be rational. If you just want to say "you're just completely wrong" but not say how or in what way, I would prefer that you keep to yourself. Whatever you write to me, be sure that I will reply; I won't ignore anyone's opinion.

By Michael West
All Rights Reserved, 1999.

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