2007-08-07

If I lived like Jesus tells me to . . .

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by Neil Godfrey

. . . . I would not follow Jesus and let myself be angry with thieves in the temple or let myself denounce hypocritical clerics who rob the poor. I would never be angry at all, even if my own mother was fleeced or my own child was molested.

I would not be like God who finds room for anger, who does not ultimately forgive and who does evil to his enemies. There would, rather, be no limit to my patience, my mercy and my kindness — even when I see the desperate refugees demonized for political gain, or local women disappear at the hands of a serial killer, or business company poison with arsenic the drinking water of a local village and deny any responsibility.

My love — which would be in accordance with external command and not from the flesh within — would be for all and would be by cold decree and as dispassionate as the rising of the sun and the pressure systems that decide where and when it rains. There would be no difference between love for my children and love for their abusers. And I would call this perfection, true “agape” love.

If need be, I would willingly die like a Socrates or Seneca at the hand of a tyrant, secure in my righteousness.

And I would go to my grave having lived a completely useless and self-indulgent foolish life. The world will be none the better for my having existed and none the worse for my departing.

The only good thing about my existence would be that I did not allow myself the sexual passion to take a woman and reproduce — thus at least sparing any offspring of having to bear the shame of such a father, not to mention one who never even planned for their future, not even their future meals or clothing needs.

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Neil Godfrey

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