When it comes to religion, I just want to win. In the world of western religion winning means backing the right savior at the end of days. So I am hedging my bets until there is a clear winner. The way I figure it is this: if the end times happen during my lifetime as millions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe, I will look out my window and see whom it is God has sent. If it is the Twelfth Imam- I’m taking the Shahada (the Muslim affirmation of faith: There is no god, but God, and Muhammad is His Prophet). If it turns out to be Jesus—I will, without any hesitation or reservation, accept Him as my Lord and Savior. Or, if it turns out to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, I’ll burn my books by Spinoza and Mordecai Kaplan, grab my tefillin, and rush off to buy a black fedora.
You see it makes no difference to me who it is; I just want to win.
While this seems completely logical to me, many people with whom I share my strategy for salvation and eternal life in the winner’s circle find it disconcerting. Where is my loyalty? Where is my faith?
The way I look at it, there is no point in backing a looser. If I back the Rebbe, by all accounts a spiritual genius and very loving, albeit currently deceased, man, simply because I am Jewish, and then it turns out that Jesus is really God’s Son and God is really pissed at us Jews for not recognizing Him as such, God isn’t going to give me points for loyalty. He is going to roast me in Hell for all eternity. So it is better to keep an open mind.
I have some Jewish friends who are appalled by my thinking. They claim they would never accept Jesus as the messiah, but I think they are being unduly stubborn. It’s like going to the track, betting on your favorite horse, and then, after being informed that your horse has just died of a heart attack, cheering him on anyway: “Get up, boy! You can do it. Common, boy, you can still beat ‘em. Just forget you’re dead, boy, and run!” It doesn’t make sense. Bet on a different horse.
Now my analogy breaks down when you factor in the horseracing rule that says you cannot place a bet at the end of a race when the winner is clear. It is because of this rule that some of my Christian friends think my approach is doomed. God isn’t going to welcome me at the last minute. It is no great act of faith to believe in Jesus when Jesus suddenly returns to earth after a 2000 plus year hiatus. I mean that act alone sort of clinches things. But I disagree. Jesus’ parable about the laborers says that even those who come to God very late in the day receive the same reward as those who came on board at dawn. No penalty for waiting at all, so why rush things?
No, I think it is best to take a wait and see attitude: just wait and see who the messiah is, and then rush out to get His Name tattooed on your … well, I’ll leave that up to you. Anyway, I hope this little tip on avoiding eternal damnation is useful to you. After all, if you are going to play the religion game, you might as well play to win.