Author Krista Tibbs

Easter Admission

In Commentary, Spirit on April 4, 2010 at 4:31 am
We all hope that when we’re faced with a moment of truth, we’ll stand up for what’s right and for the people we love. I want to believe I’d run back into a burning building for my niece. So to know the moment is coming and to lack the strength to live up to it…it just makes me sad to consider the possibility. So whenever I think of Easter, I think first of the story of Peter, which I think is the saddest story in the Bible.

If you haven’t read the New Testament or have forgotten the story: Peter was Jesus’ best friend, and as Jesus was taken off to be crucified, he said Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. Peter was sure he would never do such a thing, but each time someone pointed out that he was an associate of Jesus, he said it wasn’t true. When the rooster crowed the next morning and Peter realized what he had done, he cried.

If he had admitted to being Jesus’ friend, Peter also would have been brutally crucified. In this day and age, the crucifixion is a little more subtle; it works on your character by negative connotation. I think it’s the reason the percent of Americans identifying themselves as Christians dropped from 86% in 1991 to 76% in 2001.

Those 10% are part of a larger group who have converted to the category of “no religion”. I think many have the same core beliefs they always did, but they don’t want to associate themselves with those who give organized religion a bad name; either the radicals who perform bad acts, or those who make an example of the bad acts to disparage the religion.

And I understand. When I started the notes that turned into this blog, I wrote down what I believe, and then wrote 16 pages explaining why I have considered atheism and agnosticism and why it makes sense to choose to believe in God, and what I think about who Jesus was, and all the ways that I’m not a “radical Bible-thumping wingnut”, to quote a famous judgmentalist. Usually in person, I shortcut to the point that I believe in reincarnation, which is a great way to water down perceptions, and is my own personal brand of denial.

It’s a good thing Easter comes every year, because it reminds me that I don’t want someone else’s actions or perceptions or judgments to define my belief system. I’m not in a burning building, and I’m not facing an angry mob about to murder my best friend, but for what it’s worth:

I choose to believe in God. I believe the Ten Commandments are written on the heart of every person, and it’s called our conscience. I believe in free will, and because of that, I am thankful for Forgiveness. There is a verse in a frame on my living room wall because it speaks to me: “Live by the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control.” It happens to be from the New Testament.

Amen.

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