Monday, May 13, 2013

The Christian Dialog Within

I didn't know why I was a Christian. The members of my church showed an incredible amount of interest in my welfare. They genuinely loved me, but that wasn't enough to keep me in the fold. I left the church as a teenager. There was a 12 year period in which the only time I went to church, any church, was for funerals and weddings. I understand how people get turned off by religion. I think Christians have been one of the best recruiting tools for Atheism. While I was sitting on the religious sidelines I saw the hypocrisy in Christians. I allowed the shortcomings of struggling Christians to sour my opinion of the whole religion. It’s been in the last few years that I went back to my faith. I took my second plunge into Christianity more concerned with the philosophical lessons to be learned. I've come to believe that being a Christian is one of the greatest internal debates we can have. The doctrine states clearly that we are born in sin, and baptism is the only way to remove original sin. We’re taught in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” For me, this is where the Philosophical debate begins. If we are saved from original sin, what is missing from the covenant that allows the flesh to have dominion over the soul and the will? The question of who we are at the metaphysical level is where I compare and contrast the ideas of the scripture with the reality of my flesh. In a nut shell I believe that Jesus died on Calvary to save my soul from eternal damnation, and that no matter how hard I try to emulate him I will always fall short of the glory of God. I believe all of these things more now than at anytime in my life. I've learned that allowing the “world” to have influence on questions of faith is a trap we've been falling into since Jesus was spreading the gospel. If we strive to be more like Jesus and less like Christians the road is easier to navigate. Living a life centered on the questions of being and meaning can be fulfilling, but wrestling inside of ourselves for to long can wear us out. At some point we have to lean on faith. I believe Jesus was the ultimate virtue ethicist. Jesus didn't operate with underlying consequences as his reason for doing the right thing. The example that Jesus left is what I choose to focus on. We lose sight of how we should live when we paint ourselves into such rigid ideological corners. We live in a society governed by laws that are sometimes in stark contradiction with biblical teachings. How do we deal with this reality? I think one of the things we get wrong as Christians is this idea that we can force others to see the world as we do. We agree thou shall not kill. We oppose abortion, yet support the death penalty and every war the county engages in. We preach love thy neighbor while pushing gays, lesbians, and minorities of every race and religion out of the mainstream. As Christians we tend to be more like the Romans than Jesus when it comes to those who are different. God wants us to do the right thing. We say we hate the sin, but love the sinner, yet so few of us go out of our way to show that love to those outside of the norm. Being a Christian means you will push yourself in ways that make you uncomfortable at times. I’m a Christian because of what I believe, not because of some in-group meta-analytic reward. I’ll fall short of the glory of God, but I’ll get up and try again tomorrow.