Here is yet another disagreement with a speaker at my church. The sermon was a few months ago, before I started this blog, but one thing he said stuck with me as untrue and insulting.
He was talking about the trip his family had made to the U.S.A recently. For some reason, they spent a night or two in Las Vegas: Sin City. Unsurprisingly, the kids weren’t totally excited about it. It isn’t exactly a place full of children’s entertainment. The speaker and his wife weren’t impressed either; being uninterested in participating in the sins of Sin City, there’s apparently not much else to do.
Seeing his kids’ disappointment, this speaker explained something to them: “This is Vegas, it’s THE ULTIMATE for non-Christians. It’s PARADISE for them. According to the world, it’s HEAVEN. Their goal in life is to get here. But it’s not very nice though is it? Why would anyone want this when they can have Jesus?” (not a direct quote, just the general gist of what he was on about.)
Firstly, a kid should not understand the appeal of Vegas anyway. It’s a city all about adult entertainment! It seems he’s kind of exploiting their ignorance on this: turning them off an experience before they are old enough to appreciate it. I don’t like that.
Secondly, as a proud member of what my church calls “the world” or the secular culture, I feel as though I am being misrepresented here. The gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol, rock ‘n’ roll of Vegas is not my idea of heaven. Sure, I love a bit of Elvis Presley and would like to visit Vegas one day even, but it is not my “goal” in life.
I don’t understand why Christians feel the need to paint “the world” as a dark, vile place of addiction, hate, greed and selfishness. I’ll be the first to admit there is a lot of that out there, but many people are irreligious and don’t possess such qualities!
I’m an atheist. My goal in life is to give contribute what I can to make the world a better place. I want to get married and have a family. I want to learn about art and philosophy and science and history. I want to read books. I want to encourage love and peace. And GUESS WHAT! I can do all of this as an atheist. Just because I’m not a Christian does not mean all I want in life is self-satisfaction. The Vegas dream is low in my priorities.
A Christian woman I knew used to say “Life’s too short to not live for something bigger.” For her, God was her “bigger”. I reject that God, but I am still living for something “bigger.” It’s called love. I think love is much better than the capricious, “slaughter every woman and child” God of the Bible.