My neighbor and I have identical snow blowers, and we confer during a storm about the best time to go out, the best techniques, whether we have enough gas, stuff like that. Yesterday she told me she was going to do another neighbors’ sidewalk in addition to her own because, as she put it, “I’m a good Christian.”
I like my neighbor. I’ve never thought of her as a “Christian.” She never talks about God, she doesn’t go to church; the only remotely “Christian” thing she does is work at the thrift shop of a local church. And so, for her, it was just a turn of phrase, not a declaration of belief.
But this is exactly what I found so irritating. Why are “good” and “Christian” synonymous? Here’s the subtext of her statement:
“I believe that the baby who may or may not have been born 2010 years ago, who may or may not have died on a cross 33 years later, was actually the son of, and the proof of, a supreme being; and because I believe this I’m a good person.”
I would really like to believe all this about the baby, but I don’t. And just to prove that atheists (or agnostics – I’m so unwilling to commit to a system of belief I can’t even call myself an atheist) have access to the same realm of moral values, I rushed right out and cleared the other neighbors’ walk.
It wasn’t really because I’m a good agnostic, though. Snow blowing is fun.