November 25, 2009

I'm Thankful Christians Haven't Killed Me Yet

Thanksgiving turkey

I have never cared much for Thanksgiving, but I especially hated that tradition of making everyone at the Thanksgiving table go around and say what they are thankful for. It often seemed to be dressed up in sectarian prayer, and that usually makes things worse. I found it to be yet another pointless ritual I could do without, and I couldn't help noticing how many people turned it into an opportunity to brag about how much better off they were than the rest of us. But this year, I actually do have something in mind for which I am thankful. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful that my evangelical fundamentalist Christian neighbors haven't killed me yet.

Many fundamentalist Christians are fond of claiming that they believe every word of their bible, consider it the inerrant word of some sort of god, and attempt to base their lives on it. Some even refer to it as "holy" at every opportunity. So you can imagine my concern when I picked up one of their bibles and discovered that it tells them to kill nonbelievers.

What has kept me alive here in Mississippi, deep in the American bible belt? I'm not sure. Perhaps it is the fact that the overwhelming majority of Christians, including those who make the claims mentioned above, do not actually believe much of what they claim to believe. Instead of complaining about their hypocrisy, I think I'll choose to celebrate it. And so this year, I am thankful that so many Christians do not really believe what they often claim to believe. If this wasn't the case, they would have murdered me long ago.

Not fair? I'm not the one insisting that their bible is anything other than a book. I'm not the one unnecessarily capitalizing words like "scripture" in a desperate attempt to elevate one book above all others. I'm not the one making people swear oaths on it in court. I'm certainly not the one claiming that it was divinely inspired in any way or that the events it describes ever took place. No, I'm just one of the people it says deserve to be murdered.