What If?

What if you started a cult and no one came?
What if instead of joining you,
What if they loved and were loved too?
What if you started a cult and no one came?

What if you knew yourself but knew no fear?
What if you gave yourself a break?
What if “judge not” meant your own mistake?
What if you knew yourself but knew no fear?

What if you worshiped God but did not hate?
What if your loathing died away?
What if a “yes” replaced your “nay”?
What if you worshiped God but did not hate?

What if you and what if I?
What if we could only try?
Could we? Should we?
Your reply?

34 thoughts on “What If?”

    1. Ok. I guess so.

      “What if you started a cult and no one came?”

      Well, the world would be a better place I suppose.


    2. “What if you worshiped God but did not hate?”

      “Does worshipping God equate with hatred?” That doesn’t make sense to me.

      Isn’t there something about worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth? That would make it impossible to hate, wouldn’t it?


      1. Doubtless there are those who believe that they worship God (or Allah, or whoever) but still lead lives imbued with hatred.

      2. Nah. If you worship God in Spirit and in Truthâ„¢(patent pending), then you will naturally hate those who don’t. After all, you are assured you have the truth while everyone else is in the dark. And the poor shmucks won’t submit to you telling them the way they ought to do it!

        Outrageous! And Jesus said that if they reject us, they are really rejecting Him. That makes them God-haters, worthy of eternal hell, and you ought to send them there as quickly as you can, haymen? The Wrath of God abides on them, so He won’t be fussing at you for doing His Work on them heathen.

        And you know you can look forward to ruling with Christ. Why Jesus will give you your own throne! And you will rule like Christ, with a rod of iron — no mercy to the da*n sinners who want to think for themselves and won’t do what they are told! But Christ will fix ’em! He will fix ’em good! Immediate judgement! Hell fire! Rebel for 5 minutes and get an eternity of torture! That should teach them to not believe the great almighty *you*. God is on your side and you know it!

        And Christians who “believe the Bible” love the passages about how the world will fall into Great Tribulation and suffer when Jesus comes in the Rapture. You get to go to heaven and say to your sister (who just *had* to kiss her boyfriend! the sl*t!) nyaa nyaa na na naaa! Cause she has to face demons and disease and the mark of the beast and the four horsemen and Jesus will dance in her blood, too!

        If you has the Truthâ„¢, you don’t need to have love or compassion or such sissy stuff.

  1. Darrell, I like the sentiment of your poem. It means a lot.

    The trouble is that anyone who “follows the Bible” *will* hate other people for believing differently. God not only allowed, but demanded the extermination of people who did not worship Him the way Israel did.

    And even though Jesus was a good example of how we ought to believe and treat others, Paul and John presented exhortations of intolerance. John even portrayed the Lord Jesus as dancing in the blood of those who did not have faith in Him — people he had died to save!

    I am afraid that there will always be those who will not move beyond the hate. Hate is contagious. It is worse than ebola!

    As for me, I need to be able to forgive my own sins and shortcomings. But it is awfully hard to do when the ones you love most won’t forgive you.

    1. Rtgmath—no doubt you sincerely believe this but where did John say that about Jesus dancing in blood? I didn’t recall ever having read this, so I did a Google search and scanned through Revelation but couldn’t find this account. Your cynicism is understandable but misrepresenting what John said isn’t helpful in making your point. Granted their is gruesome allegory or metaphor in Revelation but my perception of God when the entire Bible is considered is that He is both loving and just.

      1. Look at Revelation 19:15, where Jesus is treading the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

        John is partly quoting, but definitely referring to Isaiah 63:3. I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.

        Call it stomping, if you like. But treading a winepress is more like dancing. You gather the grapes together into a huge vat, take your shoes off, clean your feet, get into the vat and dance.

        John shows that God is very vindictive. Those who do not believe, no matter what the reason, are treated horribly.

        I am grateful for the way the gospels portray Jesus. I am unable to deal with a vindictive, hateful God. While I would like to believe that God is loving and merciful, I really can’t at this point. The hope is that God will continue to actually be loving and merciful so that I can see Him that way.

        As for “just,” well, the more I think about it, the more I see the Biblical concept of Justice as variable, unjust in the extreme at times, and I am horrified that I ever bought into it.

        But the rationale for that is complicated. I will have to write a book. If I post snippets of it on a blog of my own, would anyone be interested? NOT that I want to take away from anything Darrell has done! SFL is one of the best things that I have ever participated in. (And Darrell, if this is out of place, tell me and it won’t happen again.)

        1. I suspect this is why dispensationalism appeals to so many. It has “easy” answers. We can just say, “Oh that was an earlier dispensation. God dealt with his people in a different way under a different economy.” This keeps us from having to deal with these huge issues that you’ve expressed so very well.

        2. I’d certainly read your blog, and book. I hope you write. Just don’t leave us here at SFL.

      2. Mark, at times God put entire peoples under the “ban” or “herem” in which they were devoted to destruction. The Israelites were to be the hand of God in this.

        Deut. 20:10-18 lays it out pretty clearly.
        1. offer peace
        2. when they refuse, lay siege to the community
        3. kill all the men with a sword
        4. take the women, children, livestock as plunder
        5. BUT if it’s one the cities the Lord is giving Israel as an inheritance, they are not to leave “anything alive that breathes.”

        I don’t see any cynicism in rtgmath’s posts. This is what the bible reports that God told his people to do.

        1. Wow. That sounds like Islam, doesn’t it?

          Has anyone else noticed that modern Jewish fundamentalists are almost identical to Muslim fundamentalists? The only thing lacking is the will to commit terrorism. But in just about everything else, they are so much the same!

          They must have a beard.

          They don’t work. The women do the work. The men consider it their duty to study their respective scriptures and derivative words to be more holy and devoted to God/Allah.

          They believe in the Annihilation of their enemies. Yes, Jewish fundamentalists call for the extermination of Muslims and Arabs.

          The rules of warfare as demonstrated above are identical. Genocide by killing all the men and fathering babies on the women is not only permitted, but encouraged.

          Men are supposed to keep themselves away from women. The women should be kept to themselves, should do what they are told and be entirely obedient to the men.

          Both see God as gracious and merciful, even as He allows them to terrorize their opponents, kill them, rape their women and children and steal their land and possessions. It is the nomadic, tribal mentality demonizing the “other.” God is viewed as being interested in land and territory.

          Interesting comparisons.

        2. Witness Israel’s behavior in Gaza. There’s a bit of scholarly debate as to whether or not it constituted genocide.

        3. Rtgmath and BJg:
          Ok–so that’s a lot to digest. I want to respond to what you both said, but I’m sure I’ll miss some of your points. First off, I want to say I didn’t mean to offend in using the word cynicism. Rtg—thanks for explaining yourself. I had actually wondered if the wine press was what you had in mind. I don’t see what is referenced there in light of my understanding of prophecy as being vindictive so much as it is justifiable killing in a battle against aggressors. Sort of like, if the US military went in and slaughtered the Islamic State fighters and kept them from massacring any more Kurds in northern Iraq and Syria, most people (at least in the West) would applaud their action. I guess that’s who I think are depicted as grapes in those verses–those involved in a war of aggression, not simply everyone who is not a “believer”. BJg—yes, I agree that it is easier to deal with God’s seeming inconsistency by simply ignoring it. No, I have never heard a convincing argument for why it was ok for God to give genocidal instructions to the ancient Israelites. I know this will be an extremely unsatisfactory answer, but here goes. Not being an ancient Israelite, I don’t consider that my concern. My conscience allows me to follow the teachings of Jesus and Paul and other writers of the NT. I believe that God loved the whole world so much that He sent His only son Jesus to die for us–and that if we believe in him, we will not suffer an eternal death, but rather have eternal life. Obviously I am not telling you guys anything you didn’t already know. I’ve read this blog enough to know that you all know what the Bible says and how different people interpret and apply it. BTW, rtgmath, please write a blog/book . I will read it.

        4. Mark, thank you. You are very kind.

          I consider also II Thessalonians 2, where Paul asserts that because people “received not the love of the truth that they might be saved” God “will send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (10-12).

          Wow. God is pretty angry here with those who for a variety of reasons do not accept “the gospel” or the validity of the message of so-called Christians! Or those who have never heard or understood. “Pleasure in unrighteousness” is such a vague expression, but it obviously seems to mean anything that keeps someone from getting saved. So because they didn’t do it quick enough, God will send them delusions so they can’t get saved, even if they would want to?

          I used to revel in this message. It now makes me feel ill.

        5. Hmm..
          I sometimes wonder if any of us *truly*believe that anything changed when Jesus died and rose again… Or is God still pissed off with the whole world? In that case, Why did Jesus bother…..?

  2. What if you saw it all with different eyes?
    What if the real light turned on?
    What if the scales on them were gone?
    What if you saw it all with different eyes?

    What if your heart felt the way it should?
    What if your soul opened up to peace?
    What if fear and hate would cease?
    What if your heart felt the way it should?
    (What if you and what if I?
    What if we could only try?
    Could we? Should we?)
    My reply.

  3. What if?

    What if I could know as I am Known?
    Trust without reservation?
    Love without discrimination?
    Forgive myself as Christ has done?

    Then I could leave behind the aching heart
    And lift those who fall around me.
    Scales fall off my eyes so I can see
    And live surrounded by love, not set apart.

    I want to, but I don’t know how.
    I try, and I fall.
    I can’t walk so now I crawl.
    But one day I’ll win what I want now.

  4. What if you started a cult and no one came?

    I’m convinced that this would be almost impossible to accomplish. As long as you have at least minimal communication and organizational skills, or have someone working with you who does, at least a few people will follow just about any movement, no matter how unlikely its underlying philosophy.
    Look, for example at all the armed and irate supporters for that deadbeat rancher, Cliven Bundy, whose rallying cry was “I want millions of dollars of federal services and I want to pay nothing for them.”

  5. What if Christians really loved
    The way that Jesus said we should?
    What if we tried to do good
    To those who don’t know Christ above?

    What if, instead of hating those
    Who live contrary to God’s word,
    We showed them the love of our Lord–
    Providing food, shelter, and clothes?

    What if those who wear Christ’s name
    Would just reach out to sinful men
    And show the love of Christ to them
    Instead of guilt and shame?

    What if we started a loving church
    That truly gives instead of takes?
    What if we, for Jesus’ sake
    Helped instead of hurt?

    What if Jesus was extolled
    By his followers words and deeds?
    What if churches met men’s needs
    Instead of exerting fear and control?

    What if people really gave
    The gospel as it really is?
    And what if people who did this
    Didn’t count how many they “saved”?

    What if churches had no name,
    Their members didn’t worship man,
    And pastors weren’t in command,
    And no one cared for fame?

    1. What if, when the Lord returned,
      He didn’t know the ones who seemed
      By word and deed to be redeemed
      And in the lake of fire they burned?

      What if, in eternity
      Jesus said to quite a few
      Depart from me, I never knew
      You workers of iniquity?

      1. What if, in eternity,
        Jesus said to quite a few,
        “Depart from me, I never knew
        You workers of iniquity?”

      1. Believing pat answers makes life easier. Yet, pat answers are worse than no answers at all.

        1. Rtgmath:
          My faith became much stronger when I had to claim it as my own. I believed the Christianity that my parents taught me until I was 16 and went away to Bible college. There I had one prof who said to throw out everything we had been taught and relearn the Bible for ourselves and think about it critically as we did so. That was when I had to decide whether it all really made sense. So now, for the past 30 years, I believe I have truly been a critical thinker when it comes to what is truth vs. what is tradition/opinion, etc.

        2. It has been 40 years since I got saved, and from that day I have been an earnest student of things Scriptural and spiritual. I made it mine fr in he start.

          That said, experience teaches us to reexamine ideas in the light of new knowledge. Sometimes things “make sense” in a certain way, even if the way isn’t correct. Sometimes we ignore inconsistencies until we are forced to deal with them.

          And you will see them differently than I do. Your experience is different. Your references are different. Your level of knowledge differs from mine (you might know more than I do!). It all makes for interesting interaction.

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