Back to Basics

So, as I may have previously mentioned, I’m not the hugest fan of uncensored public forums on the internet in which any uneducated Joe Schmoe can get on his soapbox. But of course, it’s that same freedom that lets me do this each week, so I’ll live and let live I guess… :)

But, earlier this week, a friend of mine sent me a link to an article about how less and less of the country is identifying itself as “Christian” in the traditional sense and how the people drawn to religion-less organizations like [some] mega-churches is absolutely skyrocketing. On one hand, I totally identified with the article. I sure didn’t grow up a Christian, and what initially drew me to Christ wasn’t the fact that taking my hat off to pray made sense, or that I just had this inkling that I was more holy for doing some obscure version of pew-aerobics during the sermon, but the simple fact that Christ was the epitome of love laid down for others.

But, on the other hand, I clicked the red X in the corner of the window with a heavy dose of dismay. Because see, I couldn’t help but read a few of the comments left by anonymous internet pirates at the bottom of the page - the kind of comments that make you glad that the people can’t see your face when you read them.

Rather than talking about the topic of the article, the comments quickly deteriorated into debates about the validity of Christianity as a whole. Which, as a minor aside, I LOVE [loathe] when a single person thinks he or she has the logic and mental capability to refute our entire history of religious tradition and thought. The notion that one person knows better than hundreds of religious scholars who have influenced the way we approach Christ today is simply the pinnacle of DUH!

Anyway, back on topic…

Despite my dry heaving, I couldn’t help but notice that a majority of the comments were aimed at things like the timeframe in which God created the universe, how God first created man, and [this is my favorite] a rabid rejection of Christianity on the sole basis that God making Eve from Adam’s rib was too difficult to grasp. The people arguing against Christianity were focusing so intently on the miraculous and unimaginable things that God did that they never even bothered to say a single word about Jesus himself.

And, with that, I couldn’t help but wonder…

What are we doing so wrong that the unbelieving world only sees God’s magic tricks? At what point did we stop communicating the simple fact that Christ was HUMAN? To everyone who doesn’t know Jesus, are we just silly people who want to believe in a God who can snap his almighty fingers and answer our misguided prayers? Why don’t people get that it’s about Jesus, and nothing else?

I mean, from a purely argumentative standpoint, we can debate whether the story of Adam and Eve was literal or allegorical until we’re blue in the face. But at the end of the day, despite the fact that none of us will ever know if we’re right or wrong, will it ultimately make what Jesus said or did untrue? I mean, let’s say God didn’t actually make Adam from the dust of the earth, Eve from his rib, or a garden for them to live in. Let’s say that God never actually spoke to Abraham commanding him to sacrifice his son, or that Moses’ parting of the sea was nothing more than a timely gust of wind. Is our faith in Jesus totally bunk based on those things?

But, back in the bigger picture, why are those things the subject of so much debate, and why is Jesus so often left out of the picture as if he was just an accessory in the grand scheme of the Bible? It seems that people need to be able to grasp the concept of God having superhuman powers before they will even consider the fact that Jesus may, in fact, have been who he said he was. And to an extent, that’s so silly. That would be like me demanding that a person explain all of his quirks, personality traits, habits, and opinions before I decide whether or not we can be friends. But, in reality, it’s often the opposite, right? We befriend people, and the parts of them that may have been tough to stomach in the beginning tend to fade into the background. Why is it not that way with God and Jesus?

As with so many other things in life, I don’t know the right answer. I really wish I did, but I don’t. I know that when people ask me about my faith, I’m going to talk about Jesus’ model for our lives and how it’s nothing but awe-inspiring. I’m going to talk about how his limitless endurance in everything he did inspires me to be a better man. And I’ll definitely say that my life is a million times better now than it was when I tried to get all the answers on my own.

From there, I can only hope and pray that my conversation partner managed to see the point of it all.

1 Comment:

  1. Anonymous said...
    I love this post. As one who struggles with some of the stories in the Bible- Noah's Ark, Jonah and the whale, creation itself as you stated in your blog, you put all of these questions into a much better perpective..."so what?" God is still love and our creator and our hope for eternal life.

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