sent in by Nathan
This is not exactly a testimony. It's actually a short story, but has to do with issues of religion. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!
“Joshua, coffee’s ready!” Anne called to him. It was six o’clock in the morning and Joshua still had some last minute preparations to make for his Sunday morning sermon. After drinking his coffee, the preacher knelt by his bed to offer his morning prayers. He could feel the presence of God stirring a holy message inside of him that he planned to share in just a few hours. Having finished his prayer, Joshua pulled back the pages of his Bible and immediately, the twenty-first verse of Matthew twenty-one grabbed hold of his spirit.
“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”
Joshua planned on using this verse for his sermon. He knew that the anointing of the spirit was on him that morning, and that this verse would speak volumes to his congregation.
At nine-thirty Joshua and Anne wandered into the seats of their car both meditating silently on the goodness of God. Anne drove this morning, giving her husband a chance to pray silently as they made their short methodical journey to the Charlottesville Community Church.
As they passed a homeless man at twenty miles per hour, Joshua prayed silently for the nameless man on the other side of the glass. “Jesus,” he muttered under his breath, “I know that you love this man. Please put your peace upon him. Be with him, Lord. I love you, Jesus. Show this man your love as you have shown it to me. Thank you, Jesus.”
Each person on the other side of the glass that looked needful of God’s love was bombarded by spiritual uttering as Anne and Joshua drove slowly to church. Just a few blocks from the church their car was forced to a stand still by a traffic light. Looking out his right window Joshua noticed a Muslim imam stopped parallel to him and his wife.
Joshua began to pray again, “Lord please help this lost man who has been deceived. I know you love him, Lord. He knows no better that the path he has chosen. Jesus, please have mercy on him and show him the way of your true light.” He continued to pray as the light turned fluorescent green and Anne edged out into the intersection in harmony with the Muslim. “Father, I love you. Jesus, please give this man your peace, your peace that passes all—“
Joshua’s prayer was cut short mid-sentence by Anne’s screaming, “OH MY GOD, JESU—“ and in the next moment their spirits were taken away as was that of the imam in the car next to them. A truck driver had failed to notice the red light on his side of the intersection. Wondering why he was still alive he stepped out of his vehicle to see blood pouring out of the two cars, out of the three bodies. Shards of glass had burst into Joshua’s skin, cutting through him like a sharpened knife through a ripe fig.
* * *
The gates of heaven were just as Joshua had imagined. Made of pure translucent gold, they towered up beyond the limits of perception, so that no spirit could scale them. There were jewels embedded in the gate in glorious patterns of unearthly splendor. Joshua looked over at his wife and smiled. She knew now that all her prayers had not been in vain. She looked deep into her husband’s eyes and could see with perfect clarity his infinite joy, just as he could see hers.
Suddenly, a sadder thought came into Joshua’s mind. He looked just past his wife and his gaze landed on the Muslim imam whom they had seen just before their spirits were whisked away to Heaven. Joshua began to continue his prayer that had been cut short by death, “…your peace that passes all understanding. Please have mercy on this man, Jesus. Please allow him to enter your kingdom. Do not let his ignorance keep him from your beautiful love.”
A glowing white figure appeared in front of the gate. The light emanating from him was so bright that Joshua could hardly keep his eyes open. The glowing figure raised an arm and pointed at the Muslim man. Fear welled up inside of Joshua’s heart. He wanted so badly to see this man enter Heaven but deep inside he know that God is completely just and ultimately only those who have had communion with the spirit of Jesus would be able to enter. But as the white figure stood by the gate he began to beckon the Muslim man forward with his hand, and Joshua’s heart began to teem up with uncontrollable joy. “Could it be?” he thought to himself, “that God will have mercy upon this man? Oh, the great mercy of God!”
The gates were opening and the Holy man was walking through. Out loud Joshua spoke boldly, “Jesus, all praises be to you! Your mercy is everlasting! All creation will worship you from Alpha to Omega and again forever. Your mercy is everlasting!” The glowing figure turned his face toward Joshua, and the preacher could scarcely look upon him without feeling that he must bow down before him. He dropped to his knees in worship and continued to speak praises loudly. “Jesus, you are glorious! Oh what a mystery your great Love and Mercy are to the hearts of men!” “STOP!” yelled the glowing figure. Joshua knelt in silence as the figure continued, “I am not Jesus, I am Mohamed.”
Joshua’s eyes began darting around, to his wife with a look of terror on her face, back to the white figure, and then to the gate that had just begun to close. He could see thousands of veiled women on the other side of the gate. He looked back at Anne, now with terror in his own eyes. She couldn’t open her mouth. Neither of them could say anything.
Mohamed was now extending his arm to them, only now the beckoning hand that he had shown the Muslim imam had transformed into an open palm of rejection. Immediately the floor opened up beneath them and they fell down and down and down. Joshua thought back over his life. He thought of all the prayer, all of the dedication. He had sacrificed his own life for Jesus! How could this be that he was wrong? The darkness increased as the man and his wife fell further into the abyss. They could no longer make out each other’s faces in the blackness. The end that awaited them was one that they had never anticipated in life. Joshua had never imagined that Muslim hell could be so terrible.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)