Mall preachers raise questions

CASH is a group for those who question dogma and think for themselves.

This year’s arrival of the turn-or-burn Northrop Mall preachers has attracted considerable attention (much of it negative) from the campus community. The quick actions of many Christians to distance themselves from the preachers’ message belie an uncomfortable truth: the fire-and-brimstone crowd may be out of touch with mainstream Christianity, but they’re dead on about the message of the Bible.

While the faithful often speak of the New Testament’s message of love and hope, at its core is a horrific and amoral threat of physical violence – believe or go to hell. John 3:16 is well-known for telling of God’s love for the world, but in the very same gospel, Jesus tells it like it really is: “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6) When, in John 14:6, Jesus speaks of being the way, and the truth, and the light, and of being the only route to heaven, the plain meaning of the words is that all non-Christians are bound for eternal damnation. Is this love?

Of course, not everyone believes that the Bible (or any particular holy book) is inerrant, literal truth. Most Christians, for example, have found some Biblical concepts of which they approve (the Golden Rule, loving thy neighbor, etc.) and others they’d rather live without (like the Bible’s advocacy of slavery, holy wars and murder of infidels).

In this sense, Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists is a student organization for those who question dogma and think for themselves, regardless of their position on the belief/non-belief spectrum. At 7 p.m. every Thursday in 324 Coffman Union, we have social events, guest lectures, discussions or debates. Our group seeks to promote dialogue, tolerance and a better understanding of our differences so as to educate and support a community of those who want to create a more rational and humane world.

If you found the message of the mall preachers offensive and out of touch with reality, then please come check out our first meeting this Thursday.

Andy Buttler is on the executive board of Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists. Please send comments to [email protected]