Last night Derek and I were watching Law & Order. I'm a bit of an addict of that show. Me and TNT have a very special relationship thanks to their dedication to keeping this show alive and well in reruns. It kind of intrigues me in the same way a good book does--the characters you love to hate, the passion, the way the law has to work a certain way, etc. Normally, I won't change the channel for any other show, but last night during a commercial surf, I saw something that grabbed my attention.
Did any of you see Primetime on ABC last night? If you didn't, you really need to read this story:
It's a bit scary to me. There is a man who is saying that he is the resurrected Christ. He claims it was a vision he had several years ago where two angels came to him and told him he was Jesus. Now, I don't doubt that there are several people out there saying the same thing, but I wonder if they are gathering the following this guy is. (Estimates put his following at one million members.)
His followers have the numbers 666 tattooed on their bodies because of their disdain for organized religion. He also preaches that there's no need for prayer because Jesus (this man) is alive and living in Houston, Texas. This man teaches them that there is no such thing as sin. What about murder or stealing you say? He says there is such thing as crime and that is punished while we're here on earth, but there's no need to worry about heaven, we're all guaranteed a spot.
This man openly drinks, smokes and has a criminal record. And the biggest draw for his followers seems to be that idea that you live however you want to live without any need of fear. He says that's one of his main reasons for opposing organized religion is the fear it engenders in people.
While I was watching this with my mind reeling, I was so glad that the leaders of my own church don't resemble this man in any way. Seriously, almost the entire time he was speaking to the news reporter, he seemed to have a crazy grin on his face that said, "Can you believe that other people actually believe me? That they follow me and give me money to live like this?" And his supporters do dish out the money too. One man and his wife have given him $2 million in the last couple of years. His people are supposed to pay a 10% tithe, but it's not required.
I guess I just don't get it in so many ways. He's completely against organized religion, yet isn't that exactly what he's created? The woman that is his public relations organizer walks around scantily clad and when the reporter asks her about it, she said, "This is just my body. I worship with my mind. What does it matter what I wear?"
I remember hearing when I was younger that people would mark themselves with the mark of the beast and I thought, "Who would honestly do that? That must be symbolic in some way." Apparently not completely symbolic. I was always taught that my body is a temple and that what I wear and how I present myself is an open reflection of what I believe and what's going on in my mind and yet this woman is telling me the two are completely separate.
I guess I really feel like if you do believe what he's teaching, why do you need to go to his church? He's telling you to live however you want, so you definitely don't need to have someone teaching you. He's made himself obsolete by the words from his own mouth.