Christianity is…

making less and less sense these days (to me).

Had a chance to watch a program on tithing the other day and I was quite flabergasted at the conclusions being made – heck I even argued with the tv a few times (lol). They can put a spiritual ‘spin’ on anything can’t they?

What bothered me the most was the justification and reasoning for the ideas behind tithing. It was practically a litany of ‘no-no’s’ when it comes to interpreting scripture and pulling scripture from here to mesh with this one there (or the old copy and paste idea of interpretation). Top it off, the person speaking wrote a book on tithing – which pretty much floored me. Sometimes you just have to laugh I guess.

I am starting to realize why people would consider Christians ‘dumb’ though…that show revealed a lot to me. At one point a lady comes on the show and tells the people how she has followed the principle to ‘tithe’ and lots of bad things have been happening to her…not as promised by the scripture. The hosts basically ignore the problem and ask her to keep giving and God will be faithful…has the lady wondering ‘when’? But they didn’t hesitate – even when presented with proof against their theory – ‘just be more faithful’ was the answer…the mystery of God’s timing huh?

I guess that type of spirituality just irks me.

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33 thoughts on “Christianity is…

  1. It isn’t just the televangelists… most evangelical churches put strong emphasis on the tithe card. My church did a “spiritual report card” of sorts recently, and I was disturbed to see how often tithing was tied to being a good christian.

    Christianity is exhausting me, I feel my days of attending church are numbered.

  2. “Christianity is exhausting me, I feel my days of attending church are numbered” (Andrew)

    Don’t worry Andrew – Steve Taylor writes a song about ‘sock heaven’ and even the one’s that get lost in dryer are still socks.

  3. Here’s the thing about tithing, the idea of giving is a great one. And learning to live on less(10%) is also a great idea. Here’s the kicker though, most of the tithes are wasted on maintaining the church(heating, electricity, salaries………) If there is a G-d that wants us to give more and spend less, then I am very certain it would prefer we shared it directly and cut out the middle man. 🙂

  4. I have those same reservations about tithing also John – the middle man and those adminstrative costs…but it does maintain a place to meet and share with one another (there is an up and down side to it all). I lean more to the side your speaking of to be honest. But I can understand the other side.

  5. “Christianity is exhausting me, I feel my days of attending church are numbered” (Andrew)

    Don’t worry Andrew – Steve Taylor writes a song about ’sock heaven’ and even the one’s that get lost in dryer are still socks.

    Gee, I’ve been been reduced to lint, I am afraid. Is there any ‘lint heaven’. Personally, I think we all go to lint heaven.

  6. I’m coming to the conclusion lately that many rank-and-file Christians who choose not to think and study…and the pastors and preachers who lead them astray…are the “false teachers” we’re warned about.

    Because they are the ones who do the best job of distracting folks from the core of Jesus’ teachings and convincing people that there’s no value in seeking out a church or reading the Bible.

    It’s sad…but it’s the misguided believers that are killing the faith…so-called “Christians” who are making it harder for more connected “followers of Christ.”

  7. @Deacon Blue
    What ate the “core” of Jesus’ teachings?
    I thought he just came to be sacrificed — his teachings shouldn’t matter.
    (Or which atonement theory do you hold to?)
    Besides, Jesus said nothing new that tons of holy men didn’t say before him.
    Or are you speaking of Paul and HIS teachings? Or are you mixing them?
    And is it John’s Jesus or the Jesus or Mark or Matthew that you speak of?
    Or maybe you are speaking of YOUR Jesus — the one you pick and choose from the amidst all those various authors all with their various theologies. Maybe we need the Deacon Jesus.

  8. Jesus “just” came to be sacrificed? Well, aside from the fact that his sacrifice was hardly some minor matter to be dismissed with a “just”, he spent plenty of time teaching. And what he said was indeed very different from most holy men before him, not the least of which was presenting God as not simply Lord but as a father figure…Abba = “daddy” Sermon on the mount, the two basic commandments, etc…Jesus had plenty of teachings.

    There is one Jesus, and the various gospel authors focused on different themes and aspects of Jesus and his teachings. And as for the teaching of Paul and in the other epistles, though were more doctrinal and adminstrative than anything else, as they tried to bring structure to the early church, for better and for worse. In some cases, those policies have nothing to do with Jesus’s teaching and in many cases, the epistle writers note that it is personal opinion and not from-Jesus doctrine.

    But as you seem to be coming out with guns blazing to simply accuse me of some sort of hubris or to ridicule my faith, I don’t see much point in dignifying you with any more answer than I’ve already given.

    • Hey Sabio,

      You talk about wanting to converse with theists on your blog, but I wouldn’t call this conversing. 😦 Honestly, it’s why I’m a tad shy about commenting on your site.

      • Kay,

        The man made a claim that lots of teachers and pastors are WRONG. He made a claim that Jesus had core teachings that these false teachers are challenging. I asked for a list of the core teachings. You will note that your “Christian” friend then called me an “ass”.

        Christianity gets away with a lot in my country because it is common culture. A Christian in Japan would never be so cocky and bold with the sort of statements I see Americans Christians make in their doctrinal hubris. So I am not gentle with these folks. Most atheists are closet atheists, and are careful not to confront in polite company in American and Christians get away thinking they rule. WIth Christmas music and decorations already up before Thanksgiving, you can feel the love.

        I am confrontive. Sorry, I am not here to baby Christians and let them feel they can say whatever they want without support. Now, if they back down from bold claims and either qualify them or explain them, then we have a conversation.

        Sometimes to make friends of quality you have to feel free to be honest and forthright. Remember, Christians say I am going to HELL, what is more offensive than that???? Christians have told their children not to play with my children and make fun of them at school. Someone has to speak out.

        Sorry you don’t feel comfortable to speak out at my site. Perhaps it is better you don’t. I am not meant to be a conversation partner for everyone. To do that, I could just be bland. I try to keep it civil but firm.

        Concrete examples of how you would phrase things or approach things in light of my philosophical and personal issues, may be helpful.

  9. TNT — Laughing ! When people think they are special and unique — be they atheist, christians, jews, hindus, doctors, politicians or whatever, I can’t help myself but run to the rescue of all us normal slobs !
    Maybe I need therapy,

  10. Sabio,

    You make assumptions that I’m setting myself up as something special.

    I said simply that many Christians don’t take a studying/critical/personal approach to their faith. They simply take what the pastor gives them. And the pastors often preach from an angle of trying to spread a particular agenda of their own. So, it’s not about Jesus but about institutional doctrine. Me making this blanket statement is based on years of experience and attendance at many churches. And frankly, I’m in a better position than you probably to comment on Christians, blanket statements or otherwise.

    I didn’t say I was more special or unique than you. I didn’t say that Christians are somehow inherntly more special than anyone else. I made a comment about how church doctrine sometimes goes against Jesus’ doctriine.

    You, sir, are simply an ass, and want to pick a fight with me. Tit for Tat, having gone a few rounds with me on issues, can attest to the fact that I’m more than willing to talk when someone seems to be listening. Your questions suggest to me that you’re simply looking for new ammunition and new avenues to ridicule me. Not interested in playing that game.

    So, “no comment.” You want to know what I believe that much, I have a blog: http://holyhell.wordpress.com/ and that will tell you a lot more effectively who I am than I can do here anyway,

  11. @ Deacon
    Straight from your bio:

    I was born again through faith in Jesus Christ back around 1995 … Once I did, my afterlife was secure …

    I guess I am just defending us insecure, floundering fools.
    Calling yourself special and then denying it is odd.
    I think your god would want you to be proud of your specialness !
    I am confused as to why you deny it in one breath and boast of it in another.

    Hell, if I were a Christian, I’d feel special.

  12. First off, I’ve also made it clear many times in my blog that I think there are many who aren’t Christian and will also find salvation regardless of that. But, by all means, take one snippet from a very brief bio and run with it alone…

    I suppose if I wrote, “In 1995, I won the lotto, and my financial life was no longer a worry…” that would qualify as me claiming that I’m more special than anyone else.

    We all have things that make us unique and special, but that doesn’t make us inherently BETTER than anyone else. You use the word “special” but what you are really saying is that you think that I’m presenting myself as “better” than other people. That isn’t what I do.

    But you sure seem to think that you’re the special defender of people I supposedly look down on. So you just go on with your bad self and keep fighting against nasty people like me.

  13. A pity we couldn’t just say Christianity is … what you make of it. Unfortunately, if it’s what you make of it, then would it need need doctrines? And if there are no doctrines, can there be a settled understanding of the definition of Christianity in order for someone to make something of it?

  14. I think you can say that, to some degree, OneSmallStep. In any system of belief or discourse or philosophy, whether it is religious, political or economic, there is always going to be room for interpretation and differences. And, to some extent, a need for “doctrine.” This is why, for example, you have something like the “Democratic” party in the United States, but there are all sorts of different “democrats,” some of whom differ sharply from the rest. Blue Dog Democrats, for example, can be very different than the average democrat and certain different from a liberal democrats. But they are all still democrats.

    Same can be said of Christians, I think.

  15. Christians ought give from the heart and NOT calculate their giving(Steve)

    Well I hope your church doesnt make it a requirement then. For that would be wrong wouldnt it. 🙂

  16. Sabio,

    I do not know Deacon Blue. He is not my friend. We’ve never met nor talked on the net, so I’m not sure what your point was with that other than to be in my face.

    Your initial question to him to list the core teachings of Jesus (in his opinion) seemed like a good place to start. The rest of what you said seemed confrontational and geared towards putting him on the defensive and shutting down conversation.

    I don’t think simply asking that first thing – the core teachings – would have been ‘babying’ him.

    I’ve never been confrontational. Not as a Christian. Not as an atheist. And not now as a .. well, whatever I am now. 😉

  17. @ Kay

    “Confrontationalism” is much more common among men.
    But it is a trait. Most of us consider our own traits as virtuous.

    Thus a shy person considers themselves a good listener.
    I was confrontational as a Christian and as a Buddhist and as a Homeopath and as an Acupuncturist and as an Atheist. My skepticism is aggressive — internally and occ. external, depending how I perceive the other. When someone tries to show themselves as the great deciding agent for true and false doctrine, well, the gloves are off.

    Indeed, your and my dispositions are different, but that is not unusual.
    I think the “Unique Teachings of Jesus” was a good starting place too.
    Maybe I didn’t have a big enough breakfast that day and was just a bit snippy !
    Smile

  18. Sorry, TFT, I didn’t follow that. My normal use of that is a guy is insecure (in this case, about his size) and overcompensates with behavior – bravado. So you will have to apply the specifics for me if this is the analogy. Sorry — I am a bit dull.

  19. “Hell, if I were a Christian, I’d feel special” (Sabio)

    What’s wrong with feeling special? I am going to guess I will never see another Sabio in all my conversations on the net or in real life…aren’t you also unique?

  20. “And if there are no doctrines, can there be a settled understanding of the definition of Christianity in order for someone to make something of it?” (OSS)

    Institutionally – no there cannot be. Individually – yes there can be. I think with the idea of community we have to accept there are going to be ‘set ways to live’ (rules) that are part of the culture. It’s really a good and bad thing.

    I like community – but I am in a culture of individuality.

  21. ““Confrontationalism” is much more common among men.
    But it is a trait. Most of us consider our own traits as virtuous” (Sabio)

    I don’t know about this Sabio – sometimes we guys just have to swallow our pride and admit it – maybe we were pushing buttons for the sake of just pushing buttons?

    I am a guy and I know what you mean about this ‘confrontationalism’ – I am soooo there with you. The part that kind of bothers me is you make an excuse for it – even may call it ‘virtous’. But it doesn’t come off that way and Kay may be making a valid point. Not that you need agree with Deacon or any Christian for that matter – but cordiality is a nice thing too.

  22. @ society
    Absolutely, special is good. It is just a question of how we make ourselves special, I guess.

    Also, I wasn’t making confrontationalism a virtue, I was just saying it would be tempting to do such. It is our nature, I am afraid. But I do try to check it. I fail occasionally depending on the claims of who I am listening to.

    For example at work, if I hear people making fun of other races or homosexuals, I speak out. If I hear Christians making fun of other religions, then I really speak out. But I lots of fine folks who would say, “Oh just let it go”. They let it go out of habit perhaps as much as I speak out of habit.

    Anyway, enough of this therapy session ! (smile)

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