A person chooses to follow the faith as it is taught right now in the churches. They say a prayer to believe in Jesus, then they confess their sins/repent, and they are now allowed into community (and are officially saved). This the beginning and end of the whole journey. It literally starts in the same place it ends – and leaves many a person guessing if and when they might lose their ‘salvation’ through-out their faith experience. But that is it – you just ‘believe and you are saved’.
A person chooses to go into more depth on the actual teachings of Jesus. No simple prayer, looking into the depth’s of what ‘repentance’ actually means, and what is the person’s role in ‘salvation’ or ‘community’? The journey has a beginning but no true ending – it’s quite open and living it makes the whole thing acquire some depth. Life is the constant in this scenario – and how the teachings of the faith help to fill in a value system the person lacked insight into.
Now which of these 2 people would be widely accepted in most churches of the day?
Therein lies the core of the problem…you see the the idea the steps to this faith are easy as 1 (pray to be saved), 2 (repent), 3 (you are saved) is way too simplistic. Actually, in all honesty I cannot find a single place in the gospels where these 3 things are co-joined so easily in one teaching. What this actually does to someone’s faith is cheapen it. There is no depth – no need for all the teachings Jesus does lay down – no need for anything – you are saved (end of story).
I have come to see this is a tragic farce. People need to start looking into the ideas and getting some real answers. What does it mean to ‘believe’? What is the role of prayer? What is ‘repentance’ and what role does is serve? Are we to be involved in the idea of ‘salvation’? These things need some depth applied to them or at best they become routine/memory…at worst they make hypocrites.
I cannot even define the amount of times I have met people that believe the system laid down by the faith (steps 1-3) that behave counter to most of Jesus’ teachings. They say they know what repentance is/means (and how to do it) – but have no clue what being ethically ‘responsible’ includes. Churches teach us to merely believe in Jesus – yet they never explain what the term encompasses. Belief is a much stronger term than is being portrayed in the majority of church teachings and we need to start defining it better. Salvation, as a term, is only seen in Jesus’ act upon the cross – not in his life (according to church teachings)…we serve no purpose whatsoever in that term. I think the term can be opened to greater meaning personally, in that Jesus lived a life of salvation (there is no way to deny that) – and if we are called to be under him (he’s our rabbi) – just possibly we are called to that same road (same cross and all).
Recently (in a personal situation), I have come to see the reality of this paradigm and it works out exactly as I thought. Good Christian folks can do and say just about anything and still think they are following Jesus – while someone that is living the teachings is ostracized by them, disliked, and even ‘prayed for’. In reality, the person being ‘prayed for’ could give life lessons to the whole batch of phonies on what true ‘repentance’ means and forgiveness. But that’s reality folks. Hypocrisy runs wild when the system lacks any depth in it’s teachings – if only they could actually ‘believe’ the very words they can quote so well. They have no clue what they are saying – cause what they are doing is way too simple and never gets any substance (it’s rote and routine over and over) – and the hypocrite’s best friend is always ‘accusation’.
I am calling this one out – hypocrisy (which means ‘acting’) has to stop in our churches. It is actually helping to destroy communities and defend the religous status-quo (which is ludicrous) at the same time – and it’s getting appalling. You have people that have as their only 2 commands to ‘love’ discriminating and hurting people in God’s name. You have people that think repentance means to say a prayer and it’s done but they never change their value system (nor take responsibility) for their actions. You have a whole system that tells you ‘believe’ something and don’t question it (or your doubting like Thomas) and when someone does this they are shunned (there is no teaching about this). You have people that believe they are ‘saved’ but act as if they hold the keys to ‘hell’.
I could go on and on – but you get the picture. So what do you truly believe? Or do you even believe what you are saying? Is salvation a moment in time or is something you can participate in? Do the things you believe the most have any real meaning? Who are you?