At the Judgment

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, Runtu awakens to find himself amidst bright clouds in front of a shimmering gate.

Runtu: Where am I?

Peter: You’re in the waiting area.

Runtu: Waiting for what?

Peter: The judgment of Christ.

Runtu: Christ? You mean he’s real?

Peter: Yep.

Runtu: Well, I’ll be damned.

Peter: Yes, that would seem to be the point. Oh, it looks like He’s ready for you. Come with me.

The two enter through the gates, where Runtu is made to stand before a large desk, behind which sits a stern-looking man glaring at him.

Runtu: Who are you?

Judge: I’m Jesus, of course.

Runtu: You don’t really look like Jesus. I mean, aren’t you supposed to be the guy who is all meekness and kindness and love?

Jesus (chuckling): Oh, no, that was just a phase. Once the Jews killed me I didn’t have to do that anymore. So on my way back here I kicked some Nephite ass and then settled in to start judging. I must say I’m really enjoying this. Now, let’s get started. It says here you were born and raised a member of the LDS church, served a mission, attended BYU, got married in the temple, served as a high priest. So far, so good. Oh, wait just a minute. I see that you suddenly left my One True Church in your early forties. Care to tell me what happened?

Runtu: I got tired of making excuses for things that didn’t make sense, or worse, things that really bothered my conscience.

Jesus: Like what?

Runtu: Well, I tried really hard to study the scriptures, to learn all I could about them, but the more I studied, the more problems I saw: anachronisms, absurdities, clear plagiarisms. How was I supposed to believe something like that came from You?

Jesus: Well, that’s the beauty of it.

Runtu: It’s almost as if you decided to make it impossible to believe.

Jesus (laughing): Well, duh. If I’d made the scriptures even remotely plausible, you wouldn’t have needed faith. After all, it’s a hell of a lot harder (no pun intended) to believe in something that looks like a fraud than it would have been if I’d made it all look logical and reasonable.

Runtu: So, you did this on purpose?

Jesus: Pretty good work, if I may say so. Bottom line: it was a test, and you failed. Now, what was it you were saying about your conscience?

Runtu: I couldn’t force myself to justify some of the things that were done in Your name.

Jesus: Oh, lots of people have done stuff in my name, but then you’d have to be more specific.

Runtu: I dunno, the whole thing about having your prophet promise young girls and married women eternal life in exhange for their sleeping with him. And it’s kind of hard to accept that you’d want him to send men away on missions so he could sleep with their wives.

Jesus: You got a problem with that?

Runtu: Well, yes, I do. I thought you were all about moral absolutes and right and wrong.

Jesus: I am. Everything I’ve ever told my prophets to do was right. I sent an angel with a drawn sword to make sure my will was done. And since it was my will, it was right.

Runtu: How can you say that?

Jesus: Were you not listening in Sunday School? Whatever I command is right, no matter what it is. Period. End of story.

Runtu: But that’s so arbitrary.

Jesus: One of the perks of being all-powerful.

Runtu: Well, if nothing is inherently right or wrong, why did you give me a conscience?

Jesus: Oh, that. That’s part of the natural man, which, I need not remind you, is my enemy. You were supposed to subdue your conscience and turn it over to me. But, you didn’t, and that’s that.

Runtu: So what happens now?

Jesus: I’m still on the fence. You once had a testimony, didn’t you?

Runtu: Yes, I’m sure I did. I had some experiences that told me the church was true, but I later came to question those.

Jesus: Oh, bad answer. You’re really close to Son of Perdition material. Tell you what, say a few Hail Marys, and we’ll forget the whole thing.

Runtu: What?

Jesus: Just kidding. A little pre-condemnation humor to lighten the atmosphere. Now, on your way: it’s the telestial kingdom for you. You’ll have a lot of time to think about what you could have had.

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6 Responses to At the Judgment

  1. Michael says:

    Almost as funny as the TSM buttoned-down shirt story! Keep ’em coming.

  2. marcus says:

    Very nice. I actually wrote a little one on one judgment conversation with Jesus while I was on my mission. That should have been a sign for me 😉

  3. Tim says:

    I think you highlight a problem with the modern definition of “faith”. Most people take faith to be “something you believe despite no evidence/contrary evidence”. Instead faith as described in the Bible is “acting and trusting in something with varying degrees of confidence”. Similar to the faith you exert to cross a bridge or sit in a chair.

    Many say that proofs for the existence of God weaken the need for faith. In fact they strengthen faith because they add confidence. Faith is different than belief. In the Biblical worldview Satan and the demons have full knowledge and belief in God, but do not have faith.

    You raised a good issue about God seemingly making it difficult to believe as a test. I recommend this audio on why Christians should have great confidence in their faith.
    [audio src="http://www.rockharbor.org/resources/messages/mp3s/2009-08-16.mp3" /]

    • Thanks! Very interesting point about the definition of faith. This definition of faith fits more with my experience and somehow makes me a bit more happy/peaceful. Would you mind directing me to some more literature that describes faith in this way?

  4. Kameron says:

    Very funny post.

    To state that faith is “acting and trusting in something with varying degrees of confidence” is question-begging.

    Aristotle for the win!

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