“Why can’t I worship the Lord my way, like praying like hell in my deathbed?” Homer to Marge while entering the church late in The Simpsons Movie.
Homer may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but this is one instant that I would say he is a genius. You see, he just stumbled upon the biggest loophole in the Christian religion. And he does so without outside help. This is what an epiphany is and not that one induced by some Inuit throat singing.
If you’ll believe what priests and pastors tell you, then attaining salvation would mean doing things their way -dressing up in clothes you would not normally wear and attending boring masses, Sunday schools, bible studies, enduring boring and phony people at fellowship, actually reading the thick bible —and giving donations you wish you’d spend buying pirated DVDs.
While reading the bible can be fun, there’s one passage you might wish to highlight with a yellow marker.
I’ll tell you who the smartest man in the bible is. Roman Catholic tradition refers to him as Dimas. You know, that criminal guy at the right side of Christ in his crucifixion.
From left to right: Dimas (he’s at Jesus’s right), Jesus and Hestas.
This is how it is described in Luke 23:39-43:
39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[a]”
43Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Smooooth, Dimas. Here you are with no way out. You’re nailed on the cross with two others. You’re certain that you’ll die, right? There’s no escaping crucifixion on your own. What hurt would it do you if you at least pretend to care, to revere the other guy, who you’re not so sure if he’s the messiah or just another wannabe Willem Defoe built crosses for in The Last Temptation of the Christ? Nothing, right? So, why don’t you throw in your apples in that basket and hope that he was actually the on prophesied for centuries?
If Dimas was the smartest, the dumbest one in the bible would be (yup it’s open to debate, actually) the one on Jesus’s left, Hestas.
How stupid was that guy when he challenged the ‘messiah’ and told him, “Aren’t you the messiah? Why don’t you save yourself and us?” For him to say that, he could’ve meant either of the two:
1. He was insulting the man because he didn’t actually believed that he was one.
Now, what good would that do him? What purpose would it have served to insult a man on the cross who, however remote the possibility was, could have been the messiah? What, to make himself feel like some bully or something? What was he thinking?
“Oh maybe the Romans will laugh and they’ll let me off because I’m cool?” Was he trying to win their hearts with that put down? Did he consider that maybe the Roman soldiers didn’t speak Jew.
Jesus must be saying, “Let’s see how you enjoy hell, bitch.”
2. Or, maybe, he did believe he was the messiah.
But, is that the kind of tone you’d use to a ‘messiah’? Especially on that occasion? If that wasn’t stupid, you’d have invent a new word. You see a man who you think might be the messiah. You see that he’s lost buckets of blood. He’s been egged on by King Herod to perform magic tricks. He wanted to turn him into a toad or at least give him the finger, but that doesn’t go well with his savior thing. It’s against the objectives of his mission. And here you are criminal nailed on the cross because you deserved every second of it and you demand things from him that he wouldn’t do to a king?
Jesus in front of Herpd in Jesus Christ Superstar
Now, let’s go back to Dimas. Dimas has just showed us the way, people. We can actually live the same life we have now. He actually led a more rotten life that you have. He’s a criminal, so I guess he had led a life of booze, women, stealing stuff, lying here and there, cheating, etc. Yo9u know life modern day rappers, without a record label and album.
What I’m saying is, if a criminal who sucked up to Jesus in the last minute can actually be told that at that moment he is in paradise with Jesus, real paradise mind you, not the one you get when you smoke a joint with a friend, what more if you’ll pray like hell in your deathbed? That’s sure entry to heaven, I’m telling you.
I’m sure, your priests and pastors will tell you that attaining salvation is not easy. It’s because they don’t want to lose revenues. Do you actually believe that they cared for your soul even before they have met you? You’re just a faceless human being who at one point of his life he may have wished dead because you were ahead of him in line when he was getting his driver’s license at the Land Transportation Office.
What I offer you is this church. A church built, not on fear, guilt and donations, but on a solid bible verse (no, not John 3:16)–The Church of Dimas. Live your life the way you want. Watch basketball and cartoons. Then, pray like hell in your deathbed when the times comes.