There’s an intersection a few miles from my house that have three prominent billboards decorating the crappy Ohio landscape. For the last couple of years, these billboards have almost exclusively been rented by religious groups for various theological messages. For several years a local mega-church had feel-good messages up–I don’t remember a specific message, but I think they were mostly about connecting with a community, friendship, love of neighbor, etc.
This past winter (I took these pictures in January) the “Lord is Coming” billboard went up. Evidently, around 6PM (local time) on the Pacific rim earthquakes will spread around the globe. The Good Christians(TM) will be called up to heaven, the rest of us will wait in fear for 153 days, when the whole universe will then be destroyed–that’s October 21, 2011 for those of us left on the ground. Some people are so convinced of the truth of this prophecy that they’ve quit their jobs, and have budgeted their savings so they’ll have no money left on May 21. I feel very sad for these folks. I dearly hope they’ll be able to file a class-action lawsuit on May 22 against the purveyors of this crap. I’m not sure what the offense would be–I’m not sure this is protected speech and wonder if it borders on dangerous speech like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. The news on May 22 should be very interesting–I just hope no one commits suicide as a result.
Turning 180 degrees from where I was standing for the first picture, we see the next one, “After you die, you will meet god”. Its an effective bit of fear mongering or theology-by-threat. It leaves open lots of wonderfully imaginative interpretations, but I think attempts to imply that god will judge you personally then send you to heaven or hell. Lovely.
The final billboard is about 100 yards away, and I’m always driving when I go by it, so I don’t have my own picture. This one is very similar, “In the beginning, god created”.
So at one intersection we have three billboards spouting literal interpretations of the bible: god created you [so worship him], god will judge you [harshly if you don't worship him], and god will kill everyone who didn’t worship him. And I’m supposed to think the bible is the word of a loving god?