I’m a non-believer, and it’s not uncommon for believers to tell me that I’m going to hell. (For my own benefit, of course!) I brush these comments off, because, hey. What can you do? The kind of people who tell me I’m going to hell are probably not about to listen to reason. I mean, it’s not like people are just walking around, sinning against God. Nope. It’s just us heathens. Oh wait. There are a million wacko sins out there. Here are a few in order of how hard they make me laugh.
1. Divorce. According to Mark 10:11-12:
He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
OK, this isn’t funny at all. Except how hilariously common divorce is. But seriously. Don’t get divorced, because then if you ever get married again you’re committing adultery. Which, if I remember right, is like, one of the big 10 no-nos. When you say “til death do we part,” you’d better really mean it.
2. Women speaking in church. It’s not your husband’s fault! It’s God! It’s all right there in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35:
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
Look, God needed a woman to actually birth the Lord, but that doesn’t mean he wants to hear her yammer on and on. Ladies, God needs you to shut your yapper for five minutes so he can hear the thoughts and prayers of the men folk. You can talk at home, where you belong.
3. Dancing. In Galatians 5:19-21:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God….
OK, OK. This one isn’t really fair. There are several verses to support pro and con positions. But John Lithgow is a powerful force, and when he said no dancing there is no dancing. Until Kevin Bacon liberates us!
4. Harry Potter. OK, any magic. The Bible is pretty clear on this one. According to Exodus 22:18
Do not allow a sorceress to live.
Yikes! Because it doesn’t matter what you do with it, or that it’s not real. Harry’s going to have to bunk with Draco in hell, which would either be the best or worst sitcom on ABC Family.
5. Christmas trees. Jeremiah 10:2-4:
This is what the Lord says:
Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
though the nations are terrified by them.
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
Only heathens cut down trees and decorate them! No silver. No gold. No tottering prevention. Although, to be fair, the Bible is silent on plastic trees, so those are probably cool.
6. Wasting seed. And by seed I mean semen. Stand back while the Bible gets a little kinky in Genesis 38:9-10:
And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also.
To be honest, I only laugh at this because I have the emotional maturity of a 13-year-old boy. I’m almost inclined to give this one a pass because it spawned (hur hur) the classic Monty Python skit above.
7. Wearing gold. This is a new one. I guess I don’t read Timothy 2:9-10 as often as I should.
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
Oh yeah, and this is one of those that just applies to women. Because…reasons? God doesn’t like slutty women, I guess.
8. Haircuts. Leviticus says, “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” Oh man…Brooklyn hipsters are in for a world of hurt.
9. Being Lady Gaga. OK, this is a Westboro Baptist Church thing. God is suspiciously silent on sin status of being Lady Gaga. But the Phelps’ seem pretty sure. She’s evidently the “devil spawn,” evidently. I think they might be trolling themselves.
10. Being a Nerd. Another WBC thing. This time they are coming after me and my people. The nerds will not inherit the Earth! We are idolaters! Because we worship Batman and Superman, apparently. And Isaiah 2:8:
Their land is filled with idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their own fingers have made.
Ah well. Fair is fair.
Top image: Danielle Walquist Lynch