Normally I receive religious e-mail that threatens me with all sorts of horrible punishments for not believing in god or Jesus. Or, they are extremely condescending sales pitches for a religion, and appear disguised as motivational prose or clever anecdotes, usually accompanied by breathtaking pictures. Yes, you’ve seen them too!
The threatening and pseudo-motivational ones are invariably from Christians, even Muslims, but the e-mails from Hindu’s are revoltingly superstitious in nature and suggest that your luck will take a turn for the worse, if you either don’t do something such as pray or fast; or more absurdly, refuse to forward the mail to x-number of persons within a certain time period. For some reason I don’t receive any religious e-mails from Jews or Buddhists (to their credit); perhaps because the former are part of an exclusive club, and the latter are not really religious.
I was therefore pleasantly surprized, when I received the following piece of poetry which is clearly from a Christian source, but which does not threaten or insult my atheist status. As a matter of fact, it seems to chide Christians, but could apply equally well to persons of all religions; even atheists. ***Note: I personally don’t think it’s the best poem in the world; it’s just titled that way in the e-mail***
Best Poem in the World
I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.
But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.
There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.
Herb, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.
I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.
‘And why’s everyone so quiet,
So sombre – give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said, ‘they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’
Remember…Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian
any more than standing in your garage makes you a car .
Every saint has a PAST….
Every sinner has a FUTURE!
And, while the conclusion is “cute,” I prefer to think of myself as neither a saint nor sinner, but just a human being; and more importantly, I care not for the past nor the future, but the present, which I have control over.