For the first time that I can think of since realizing I was an atheist, I felt real fear from the normal Christians that surround me. After printing out and showing a few people the dialog from the wonderful “Kissing Hank's Ass” flyer, I got the bright idea to ask a select few of my co-workers a simple question. If they had the power to go back in time, and assuming He existed, would they save Jesus from execution? My answer is predictably a resounding, “hell ya!” Honestly, I expected a few yeses, a few no's, and most to not be able to answer. Imagine my horror when about four-fifths of the people I asked gave a resounding, “No!” A no! I have trouble wrapping my head around this cruelty from a smiling face.
There were a few other responses. Two are still thinking about it. An atheist friend continues to wonder why the results shock me. The sci-fi answer as a vague, “all the movies you watch where you change the past, it makes the future worse” kind of threw me for a loop. A curious Catholic answer that argued having Jesus sacrifice himself to himself was incorrect because Jesus wasn't God, but the son of God. I would have love to further with that one, but work called and I didn't get the chance. The rest, around 8 of them, gave a no. A NO!
The most well read person I asked, who gave a no, said it was because it was all part of the plan. I said that was no different than the plan Jim Jones had for his followers. He didn't respond to this, but did ask if I had the chance to go back and save Hitler's life, would I? Now, other than just comparing Jesus to Hitler, which I think is telling, I said yes, I would save his life. The reason is so he can stand trial. Lame perhaps, but I think the analogy between saving Jesus or saving Hitler isn't correct. Hitler was a ruthless dictator as I understand it. Jesus, according to the stories I have read, is described as an innocent man. If the names weren't attached, would these people I work with, given the ability, go back in time and save an innocent man from execution?
I have said in a blog or somewhere that one of the things being an atheist gives me is lack of fear. No fear of being struck down by lightning, no fear of eternal torture, no fear some transgression against some rule I may be unaware of. As of this moment, I do feel fear. I am afraid that so many of my co-workers are able to smile sweetly while behind that smile lurks an implicit killer that will gleefully watch as another human is tortured to death.