Thursday, August 07, 2008
A-Team, Messiah Contender
Remember the old TV game show, To Tell The Truth. Three contestants all claiming to be somebody, e.g., a fireman, an olympic athlete, etc. The panelists grill the contestants and try to figure out who is the authentic person and who the impostors are. The show always ended with, "will the real ________ please stand up?!" After one or more false starts, the real deal would stand.
Well, in the spirit of 1950s gameshows, we have a new contender for Messiah... The way the Ball bounces' own... A-Team!!!
[cue frenetic sports music - dun dun-dun, dun dun-dun...]
Here are the contestants:
We have Messiah-A, Jesus Christ; let's throw in Mohammed, not exactly messiah material, but a prophetic contender nonetheless, as Messiah-B; and... wearing the black trunks and in the atheist corner, Messiah-C, A-Team!!!! (OK, the boxing analogy breaks down with three contenders, but, trust me, through random mutation and natural selection, this analogy will evolve into something better!)
OK, A-Team. Give us your best Messiah contender creds.
Here we go:
1. "If that's all it take to convince you of something, fine. I'll say it: I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me. -- A-Team
OK, A-Team! You are 1/10th of the way there!!! Cosmic, eternal words that suggest someone who transcends time and space. Well done!!! (Although, you may lose a few points on the originality/plagarism thing, but, hey, what's a little plagarism among darwinfriends?)
Here's your remaining list of requirements to be crowned Messiah:
2. Demonstrate your compassion and selflessness by going about doing good, healing the sick and oppressed. Demonstrate a variety of healing methods and exhibit compassion as you do so. Oozing divine healing virtue, so that if people of faith even touch your favorite leather jacket they get healed, will result in bonus points being awarded.
3. Engage in a knock-'em-dead teaching ministry. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of human nature and God's nature by talking about the inward disorder within human beings, and contrast this with the righteousness which God requires, which goes to the heart of the matter - inward thoughts and dispositions and not merely outward appearance. Your diagnosis of the human condition must be 100%, and remember, no copying from Contender-A -- that would be "wrong" (I put wrong in finger-quotes because I realize that right and wrong are tough concepts in a purely material, uncreated cosmos that has no purpose).
4. Demonstrate your authority over nature. As a suggestion, you might start with walking on frozen lake water and work your way up (or down, depending on how you make out) from there.
5. Demonstrate your wisdom by refuting your detractors with sayings that reflect a complete understanding of Scripture, God, and the human condition and leave others speechless or plotting your death (or, at least, sending you unflattering blog comments that suggest you have violated the Law of Darwin and/or are a fairy tale).
Speaking of which, A-Team, we are getting some static here. We're receiving a lot of blog feedback to the effect that you have not adequately demonstrated your existence. How do we know it is you, the one real and authentic A-Team, speaking, and not your disciples, and that 30 years after the fact of your alleged existence? How do we know you are not in fact nothing more than an automated internet atheist-comment-generator? How do we know that you are not some phantom, channelling Darwin? And can we even know that you, like cheezies, actually exist, and have "come in the flesh"?
But, I digress.
6. Demonstrate your love for and submission to God, and your oneness with God your Father by willingly submitting to him and obeying him in all matters. Tell us a bit about your existence with the Father prior to your gig down here on earth.
7. Arrange for your Father in heaven to personally commend you on at least one or two occasions, and, no, we will not accept a mere biplane overpass with a trailing message "A-Team is My Beloved Son in Whom I Am Well Pleased".
Doing OK? You're 70% of the way there, only three more to go!
8. Fulfill as many Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah as you can pack into your short 33 year life. You should be able to arrange the riding-on-a-donkey one without too much trouble, and we'll even accept an eco-friendly motorized vehicle as long as it's not an SUV, because we know according to the Goreacle that the Messiah does not do SUVs. The called-out-of-Egypt one you'll have to get working on. I suggest you contact Egypt Air as soon as you've finished reading the list. They're at egyptair.com. You're welcome. Arranging to be born in Bethlehem might be a bit sticky; were you born in Bethlehem, PA, by any chance?
9. Next: die on the cross as an offering to God for the sins of men, including those who love you and those who hate you. Do this without cursing God or man as the nails are pounded in and the cross uplifted and popped into the hole. Let the forgiveness that wells up from inside of you flow out toward those who crucified you. You must not show resentment towards those soldier guys who rifled your pockets and the one who took your iPod and the other guy who took your cell phone with its special Messiah ring-tone you paid for and legally downloaded because you're the Messiah and take the do-not-steal thing seriously. While you are busy dying, make a nod in the direction of any penitent thieves who may be in the area, and make appropriate arrangements for the care of your mother.
OK, that was a big one, but very effective at establishing your Messiah creds. I did, however, forget to mention one small detail. In order for your death on the cross to "count", you must have lived a sinless life. If you would prefer this in non-churchy language, let's just say you lived an exemplary, blameless, faultless, life according to God's original intention and design, and that in every thought, action, and reaction, towards both man and God, you hit the bulls-eye dead-on each and every time -- you were a perfect and exact representation of your Father in heaven and you perfectly loved God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and your neighbor as yourself (including, most importantly if you expect to be my personal Messiah, RkBall).
Any slip-ups, and you're back to step one, which is a bit of a problem (as Basil Fawlty might say), because you're dead. But, look at it this way. You're in good company. The vast majority of messiah-contenders strike out somewhere along the way.
10. You're on the home stretch. Now, rise from the dead. Show yourself, ascend to heaven, pour out your Spirit in real-time on those sincerely seeking to find the way, the truth and the life, and wait for the Big Reveal.
And that's it! You've demonstrated your Messiahship in 10 easy steps!
Let me now ask the contestants.
[cue the frenetic sports music - dun-dun-dun, dun-dun dun...]
[cue the Vegas announcer's voice, reverb on]
Ladies and gentlemen!
In a unanimous decision, by a decisive knock-out, the still Reigning Champion, Lord, Saviour of the World, Only Wise God, Faithful Witness, King of Kings and Lord of Lords...
Jesus Christ !!!!
Hallelujah! Let the worship begin! And may it never end! May unending praise be offered to Him! Inspirer of 10,000 songs, and more on their way!
[cue happy, grateful hearts]
"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"