I walked out of church today. I did not know that it was going to be a Palm Sunday service, and I was not quite mentally prepared for that one. I am not particularly proud of standing up and leaving; in fact, the whole thing was pretty disturbing for me.
I just could not sit there listening to the preacher going on-and-on about Christ’s riding on the donkey, the palms, and the triumphal entry as some kind of literal, historical fact. He even had the congregation stop and think about the fact that “on this exact day” so many thousands of years ago all of this was unfolding.
Either this person is a fool, or he is taking me for one. There is no in-between option that I can come to on my own.
Let me explain myself…
If this preacher is a scholar then he must be aware that the holiday was a pre-existing one; that the god-man riding the donkey, and being celebrated with the waving of the palms were already part of that pagan holiday and was later integrated into the story of Christ.
If a preacher being educated on these facts, knowingly preaches this event to me as a unique and literal fact of the life of Jesus, then he is taking me for a fool. He is knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately misleading, manipulating, and insulting my intelligence.
If a preacher is not aware of these facts, then he is uneducated, unlearned, and is no scholar. A man such as this is not fit to hold the pulpit.
If a preacher being educated on historical facts knowingly rejects them as a statement of faith, this man is a fool of the highest sort. True faith is not simply rejecting or choosing to not believe historical or scientific facts that do not line up with a personal belief system; such a thing we call stupidity.
If it were against my religion to believe in the country of France, or that the world is round, should I be applauded for my great faith in choosing to believe such nonsense despite the reality of the situation? No, never! Such a thing would be considered to be mere self-delusion and idiocy.
Wouldn’t it be better to educate the people about the religious history of that region and what the image of the god-man on top of a donkey represented in that culture? What the palms symbolized? How we can apply this to our spiritual lives today?
I do miss my old child-like faith; I am not bragging about the loss of it–I mourn it. However, I am not about to go down that road of trading knowledge for faith–I know where that leads. There has to be another way. I wonder if anyone has any words of encouragement for me in this time? I feel very down today about all of this for some reason.
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