I was talking recently with a liberal Christian, when the conversation turned to the Bible. At one point, I said that I didn’t see any value in trying to extract the “true” message of Jesus, given the contradictory verses that are purportedly his own words, not to mention the problem of trying to read the book as a coherent text written for the purpose of providing a historically accurate account of precisely what was done and said. He stuck to the party line, though, insisting that there is a common message of love to be found through the Gospels that takes primacy over any inconsistencies or disturbing passages. Anyway, that’s standard stuff. I then said that I personally didn’t find his words to be all that inspiring in the first place, to which his immediate, incredulous response was, “Not even the Beatitudes?”

In case you hellbound deviants don’t have them memorized, here’s a refresher:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I said that I actually preferred the Beach Boys song, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”:

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong
You know its gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through
The happy times together we’ve been spending
I wish that every kiss was neverending
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice…
Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do
We could be married
And then we’d be happy
Wouldn’t it be nice…
You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But let’s talk about it
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice…

Same sappy, pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking, but with good music in this case. Did Jesus ever write any songs as brilliant as Brian Wilson? I rest my case.