Does God Understand Letters Not Written In English?

The Hierophant’s Proselytizer Questionnaire is one of those strange old things you find every now and again on the internet. It is a list of over a hundred questions that some arrogant atheist has posted so that any potential monotheists can save time by getting to know him and instead just fill in the form if they want to share the truth. Well I used to be an arrogant atheist but now am an arrogant Christian and pompous to boot so I think I might have a go at answering these questions over the coming decade. The thing is, I want to try and do it through narrative answers. Too often I express my faith as a concept or an intellectual structure that needs to be grasped when really it is a passionate, living relationship thing. So I’m going to try and tell stories as a creative challenge. Zoomtard was first conceived as a kind of theological sketchpad and so my Hierophants Response category entries will really just be bringing that to the fore. Feel free to ignore though.

The first problem posed is:
Explain why your god’s only son had to die so we can go to magic happy land when we croak.

Ernest Gordon was a British WWII veteran who was captured along with some buddies 2000 miles out to sea trying to escape the fallen Singapore. He converted to Christianity while held prisoner in the Japanese POW camp charged with building the famous bridge over the River Kwai. 16,000 soldiers died during that project and Gordon only survived because 2 believers, one Methodist and one Roman Catholic, nursed him back to health in a way that incarnated the love Jesus had for us. This event sparked a spiritual revolution within the camp that saw the prisoners forgive their brutal jailors and their love, compassion and co-operation saw many more live through the ordeal than should have. Interestingly, he ended his life as the Dean of Chapel at the college I’ll most likely go to study at in time, which is cool. He told his remarkable story in his memoir To End All Wars which was recently made into a movie starring Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Carlyle.

At the end of another hard day of work the prisoners were gathered in the centre of the camp while an inventory on equipment was done, just like any other day. The soldiers, tired, weak and thirsty were forced to stand in line while every shovel and pike was counted. On this day, the count was returned one short. A shovel had gone missing.

The Japanese were terrified that any of their POWs would escape, since the building of their bridge was of such strategic importance. Even one missing shovel demanded consequences. The commander walked up and down the rows of prisoners demanding that the guilty party stepped forward. As the tension increased an incentive for confession was provided; they were going to start killing men at random until the perpertrator revealed himself.

In the midst of this, one man cooly and calmly stepped forward. He admitted responsibility. He was beaten brutally and then shot dead. A recount of the inventory was demanded. It was discovered that there had never been a missing shovel. They had miscounted. And that man had stepped forward and sacrificed himself so that others would go free.

That man didn’t just save his brothers physically. In a real sense he must have saved them spiritually too. You can’t see that kind of sacrificial love poured out for us and not be utterly changed.

God’s son died to pay the price for the sins of the world. The Bible says the wages of sin is death and Jesus was able to pay that death debt. We couldn’t. We wouldn’t have survived. But since Jesus was fully God and fully man, he could take that burden upon his shoulders and come back again from where he went. Easter Sunday is the day we celebrate that return and our liberation from the tyranny of death. God is of course, not like the a Japanese POW camp commander. He is not brutal. In Ernest Gordon’s case the shovel wasn’t actually missing so the debt was imagined. In our case, our mistakes, both corporate and personal pile up and God is just. He can’t ignore it or regard it as irrelevant. The kind of God who could look casually over the evil of a Japanese POW camp in the 2nd World War or Darfur today is not a God we could trust nevermind worship. He must uphold what is right. But because of who he is he is driven to love us and have us back in relationship with him. And these two seemingly contradictory demands meet in the Cross, the vertical beam of justice intersects the horizontal beam of mercy and God can welcome us in to magic happy land when we croak (and give us a well that won’t run dry before then). God’s only son died because he was the only one who could make that sacrifice.

Your Correspondent, as serious as cancer when I say that rhythm is a dancer.

One Response to “Does God Understand Letters Not Written In English?”

  1. Dennis says:

    Wow, zoomtard, do you know Sam? I have had the pain of “meeting” him so to speak.

    Have you answered (attempted)all the questions on the list?