Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right:this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way:and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was:and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
To me, it is irrelevant whether the events in this story happened. It does not matter whether there is a God or not. It does not matter if Jesus existed or if he actually told the story.
What matters is that this story is one that nearly everyone has access to in their bibles. Many Christians claim that they believe every word of what they call the Bible, Good Book, or Word of God.
Those who do believe that this story is from God should consider which character is most like them. Are they one of the thieves who hurt the man in the first place? Are they a priest or levite who did nothing? Are they the Samaritan who tried to help the stranger he didn’t even know?
For people like me who don’t believe in the God of the Jews or Christians, this story is an example of what happens all the time. The story may not always happen in the way described, but there are people who have been injured terribly or need something that they cannot possibly get on their own.
I was once the injured man from this story, but now I plan to be the Good Samaritan. My moral philosophy is heavily based on the Golden Rule and the Good Samaritan. I do enjoy the fact that this story is easy for anyone to find, but I am sad that very few have read it or live as if they understand it.
If verse 27 is true, I will most certainly not inherit eternal life because I can’t love a God I don’t believe in. This will not prevent me from loving my neighbor as myself.