From Pineview Baptist Church in West Columbia, SC:
"Jesus Christ is the only hope for humanity"
This seems rather straightforward and predictable on the surface, but, much like yesterday's post, it belies so much that it's worth mentioning.
From the perspective of the believer, it's all quite sensible: the rules laid out state that belief in all that silliness - everything surrounding divinity, crucifixion, and resurrection - is absolutely necessary to achieve everlasting life. But let's not even dwell on whether everlasting life is worth having. Let's not even broach the topic of whether or not Jesus was a real person; you can fish around the Why Evolution Is True blog for Ben Goren's posts, and you'll find he routinely rolls out evidence against that particular bit of crazy. Instead, let's look at what they're saying to everyone else by putting this out there.
If some long-dead rabble-rouser is "humanity's only hope", then what does that say for all the things we do to improve our lives? Striving to improve our health? Waste of time. Cleaning up environmental messes and trying to find cleaner energy sources? Bah, run on Jesus Juice! Scientific research and advancement? God did it anyway!
But what's truly astounding is the underlying cynicism of such a message, the negativity inherent in telling total strangers that their lives have so little value as to be hopeless without some ancient book, a book that can't even have the decency to be internally consistent. It takes quite a large disconnect to say something so profoundly rude to someone else and yet believe that it's done for a good cause; it's Lying for Jesus 101, maybe even 001. It's more fear-mongering from a faith that fellates love and peace; it's another bit of emotional blackmail intended to warp the minds of the fearful, the weak, and the marginalized. And it's absolutely necessary for those who believe such bilge to say such cynical things, as it's nigh impossible to mold some poor sap into the nice, quaint, unquestioning little Jesus Juicer you want unless you first break their spirit and resolve. When selling snake oil, you must first convince the buyers of that awful, otherwise-intractable disease they're carrying around all the time.
Believers will drive right by this billboard and grin. I think I'd rather vomit, and it routinely receives a good-luck salute. And frankly, this is tame for the kind of stuff the church typically posts; I'm sure they'll have some return appearances to this section.