Sin, or Jesus Died in Vain

There’s an evangelical preacher who goes to university campuses to preach the gospel. He’s been doing it for forty years, and his provocative style draws crowds and quite a bit of a stir wherever he goes. I’ve known him for twelve years, and I see him every now and then when he comes to Southern California.

Since we are friends on Facebook, I get to see pictures and comments on his preaching endeavors. The other day he posted a picture of a Washington State student holding a sign stating “If you don’t sin, Jesus died for nothing.”

Now, it just so happens that Jed, the preacher, counts among his Facebook friends people from all walks of spiritual life, even people that strongly disagree with Jed’s evangelical outlook. They befriend Jed because they like to poke at his Facebook posts and stir a little commenting love in the process.

One such person, a fellow by the name of Brad, immediately posted a comment, noting how the sign was funny.


“It’s only funny until the next time someone sins against you,” I replied to him.

“That’s a bummer of a situation,” he said, “but it doesn’t make the sign less funny.”

“That sounds a little cynical,” I said

“Well, I don’t believe in God, and the sign is still funny,” he said.

I showed him the picture below

This image was taken in Sudan during the 1993 famine. A little girl is crawling slowly and painfully toward a food distribution center, while a vulture follows, waiting for her to die to eat her. The photographer, Kevin Carter, chased the bird away and then sat, sobbing uncontrollably. Carter later won the Pulitzer Prize for the photo, but a few months later, the pain caused by all he had seen overcame him. He killed himself.

“Is sin still funny?” I asked.

“Who said sin was funny? I didn’t. I don’t even believe in “sin” as used in the religious sense. I said the sign was funny. And it is to me,” he said.

Sin is not funny, but the sign is. To him.

You’ve go to love postmodernism.

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