Move it On Over Christianity

One of the most untalked about problems in the Christian kingdom is the idea of equality of religions. Christianity, for all it is concerned, has cornered the market on God and no other religion is even close. Christianity is a ‘one way’ street in a ‘two way’ traffic world.

You know, in some ways, I would agree with Christianity – if Christianity had a much better ‘road’ record. I can name off about 40 people in a day’s time (if I had to) that have all professed Christianity as the greatest and only way to live life that have had affairs (with other people’s wives in the congregation some of the time), illegitmate children, bought prostitution (straight and gay), committed fraud against the people that gave, have supported outright hateful causes, etc. And these aren’t just your run of the mill Jim Joneses’ or Fred Phelps, no these are respected ministers, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

Truth is, Christianity in the West is nothing like what we actually read in the bible, in fact the bible is an Eastern religion of sorts…well a central religion – combining east and west. I believe there are aspects of Capitalism and Socialism in the bible (2 incongruent systems in the West). I believe Jesus was more ascetic in lifestyle than he was corporate (Christianity meets a type of Buddhism and forgoes the side of fries). I believe one could say Jesus was anti-establishment (within reason) and could be seen as a type of Gandhi figure – leading a revolution against Rome (Christianity meets Hinduism). Christianity is concretely based on the tenets of Judaism, another all-together different religion.

So why does Christianity not have space to ‘co-exist’ with other faiths? We don’t seem to be much better than the next one? Are we more spiritual then next one…not really. Can the truths we find through a Judaic off-shoot not be found in Buddhism? What about the Bahai’s? Hows about Mormonism – an off-shoot of us?

Should Christianity become more involved in religious tolerance and working alongside other faiths planet-wide?

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Move it On Over Christianity

  1. If Christianity were to be friendlier with other religions and beliefs, it still wouldn’t change the fact that Christianity is based on the only way into God’s presence. That is what separates us from the other religions. We say their way isn’t right and does nothing for them after the physical has passed.

  2. “it still wouldn’t change the fact that Christianity is based on the only way into God’s presence” (Xander)

    That’s a Christian claim, have you ever asked people in other religions if this is the case? If this were true then no one would find God’s presence in another faith – are you absolutely sure this is the case?

    “We say their way isn’t right and does nothing for them after the physical has passed.” (Xander)

    I would say it’s all talk Xander, to some degree. So what we can ‘say’ their religion is wrong, what exact proof are we basing this on? Seems like a marketing system for making converts – if u ask me.

    To be honest, I have seen better behaved people in buddhism. Gandhi, likely one of the most spiritually atune people we might ever see, was a Hindu. Many mormons live better lifestyles than us. Muslims and Jews both keep a form of kosher living that is actually heathier than our own (which is no pattern whatsoever in basic Christianity). New Agers care more about the environment than we do.

    I think it is as plain as day many other religions are discovering truths about humanity at a rate sometimes much better than our own.

    I know I know, life is not about this world but the next one…if this is so…then Christianity is pretty useless in it’s focus for ‘humanity’. I don’t think it would make much sense to convert to a faith with the focus on another life when this one needs all the help it can get.

    And not to forget science (ie: not a religion) – which is in the search for ‘truth’ as well and many of the things it brings to the table we also would need to soundly consider.

  3. I hear you about how Christianity has been tarnished by some. I know I have disgraced the religion. But there are believers on the other end of the spectrum. They are probably overlooked for the most part.

    As far as “Jesus is the only way” goes, I gotta say that is a quizzer. It makes sense to me but what about the one I love who doesn’t get it? Or do they? This I have no real good answer for.

  4. “That’s a Christian claim, have you ever asked people in other religions if this is the case? If this were true then no one would find God’s presence in another faith – are you absolutely sure this is the case?” (Societyvs)

    But that is the point. Christianity doesn’t think any other religion leads to God. It doesn’t matter what the other religions think. Most of them feel the same way; that their religion is the only way to their god.

    “I know I know, life is not about this world but the next one…if this is so…then Christianity is pretty useless in it’s focus for ‘humanity’. I don’t think it would make much sense to convert to a faith with the focus on another life when this one needs all the help it can get. “(Societyvs)

    I agree that Christianity in its practice, at least in the west, really sucks in the loving each other aspect. The focus of Christianity is trying to make sure people hear the gospel message and are saved. In the process, we should be feeding and clothing everyone, but the primary goal is not this life.

  5. “It makes sense to me but what about the one I love who doesn’t get it? Or do they? This I have no real good answer for.” (Ken)

    I do see Jesus as the ‘way’, for a ‘way’ of living that is ‘godly’ (which I think is the point of that John 14:6 scripture. I think people read it too literally too often. Many people can live that way even without intricate knowledge of Jesus. But this is my interpretation from a book/gospel (John) that uses a lot of imagery (ie: Jesus is the bread of life – obviously not literal but metaphorical/allegorical).

    “But that is the point. Christianity doesn’t think any other religion leads to God. It doesn’t matter what the other religions think. Most of them feel the same way; that their religion is the only way to their god.” (Xander)

    I think that is true but you would think Christianity could take the ‘higher path’ for once…but as it seems, it will remain exclusive and divisionary wherever it goes. And this has pretty much been the historical case since Gentiles hijacked a Jewish message and started forward with it.

    It’s kinda strange to think Judaism isn’t exactly like this, it’s remains unique via building a strong, appreciative tradition…that also has it’s merits.

    “The focus of Christianity is trying to make sure people hear the gospel message and are saved. In the process, we should be feeding and clothing everyone, but the primary goal is not this life.” (Xander)

    I would have to defer to Jesus on this one, about the focus of this faith. Preaching the ‘good news’ was only one aspect of what he was doing according Matthew 11:4-5.

    “Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM”

    In fact, it would seem this way, Jesus was helping the poor and unfortunate almost extensively in his ministry (which seemed to be one of compassion for the lost and discarded). I know we cannot literally give people sight, make them walk, make the deaf hear, or heal the sick…but we can follow the intent (or spirit) of those actions alongside talking about the good news to those who need to hear it.

    “In the process, we should be feeding and clothing everyone, but the primary goal is not this life.” (Xander)

    I think if the primary goal is not this life, then one should have no hope in the next. All God has really given a human, to their limited knowledge, is this life – and to use this one to mainly focus away from it seems like a ‘waste’.

  6. I still call myself something like that – I also struggle with the term because it’s limiting in many people’s minds. However, I still follow the tenets of Jesus so I guess that would be what I am (although a rather unorthodox one).

  7. So what is the higher path? The message hasn’t changed. Jesus, the Jew came down and said He was God and that He would die for the sins of all mankind. Sin is no longer separating man from God. So now that the legal restriction is gone, the person just has to accept Jesus as God and believe that what He claims He did that He actually did and you get eternal life. That message doesn’t work with any other religion, except Judaism but they don’t believe Jesus is God.

    Jesus showed people the love of God, but He said your life on earth would be one of suffering if you follow after Him. It isn’t supposed to be the cozy life that most Christians try to live. It is about sacrificing your personal desires to serve all of mankind and show them His love. You can interact with other religions, but the message still doesn’t mesh where everyone can just do what feels right to them.

    Our life is to be in constant communion with God. He tells us what He wants us to do and we do it. You don’t see that in action very much, but that is what our physical life is to become. When we become saved, we are to begin living our next life, not just waiting for it to happen.

  8. “So what is the higher path?” (Xander)

    Something more warm and welcoming which avoids creating divisions for dogma’s sake. Christians have a great track record of ‘divide and conquer’ ethics.

    “The message hasn’t changed” (Xander)

    The message is variant and always has been, 27 books/letters will do that and adding in another 39 can’t help. There is some unified strands about morality – but honestly – it’s quite divergent in what it actually says when all read together. So the message has changed, the medium hasn’t.

    “Jesus, the Jew came down and said He was God and that He would die for the sins of all mankind” (Xander)

    I don’t see Jesus as God, and I base this on the NT. That he died for the sins of humanity is also debateable, as to what that death means and for what (there are at least 7 atonement theories and more yet to come).

    “Sin is no longer separating man from God” (Xander)

    Sure it is, do you see God anywhere? Adam and Eve actually, if we take the story literally, walked and talked with God – and not just in some spiritual sense. Adam sins, that bond is broken. That exact bond has not been repaired. Or maybe, sin was always seperating us from God, oh yeah, except for those handful of prophets that wrote…and Moses. Why does sin not seperate everyone if you claim is true?

    “So now that the legal restriction is gone” (Xander)

    Gentiles were never bound to the law of Israel. The legal restriction is gone, in the sense, that both Jew and Gentile are equal before God based on their own systems.

    “the person just has to accept Jesus as God and believe that what He claims He did that He actually did and you get eternal life” (Xander)

    That’s the salvation calculation, you have to be kidding?

    (a) accept Jesus as God (an action on our behalf) + believe (another action done by us) in his works = eternal life.

    Basically we are writing our own cheque into heaven by mouthing a few words, confessing a few tidbits we don’t know are true, and whammo…life forever. Doesn’t this sound ridicously ‘cheap’ to you and betraying of what Jesus actually taught in the gospel texts?

    “That message doesn’t work with any other religion, except Judaism but they don’t believe Jesus is God” (Xander)

    It doesn’t need to ‘compete’ with other religions, it just needs to respect them and work alongside them.

    “He said your life on earth would be one of suffering if you follow after Him” (Xander)

    I agree 100% with this, but Buddha also said the same thing.

    “Our life is to be in constant communion with God. He tells us what He wants us to do and we do it.” (Xander)

    I don’t think this is true whatsoever. Constant communion, we would never get anything done. And isn’t God asking a lot from us in a relationship we barely hear anything from Him? I mean, think about it…we are to be in constant communion with all of our literal physical lives – which leaves us less time for wife and kids or a life – while we never see one iota of God…I find that a strange balance.

    As for ‘telling us what to do’ – I take the gospels and the Tanakh were written down just for that exact thing (ie: to teach us). Honestly, how often do you hear from God? You’llbe lucky to have an audible voice once in your lifetime, no physicality, and no real give n take back n forth on some levels. Now spiritually there is something going on (I agree), but it isn’t always give n take and sometimes there is nothing (since with spirituality we are playing with a tricky area as to what is really happening there).

    “When we become saved, we are to begin living our next life, not just waiting for it to happen.” (Xander)

    I agree, the kingdom starts now, not later.

  9. “That he died for the sins of humanity is also debatable” (societyvs)

    I can see why you struggle with Christianity.

    “Why does sin not separate everyone if you claim is true?” (societyvs)

    Adam was created as a whole creature apart from God. Adam sinned and his spiritual nature died, as God said it would. How much harder is to communicate with a Spirit when your spiritual side is dead. There was still communication, but never in the same way as in the garden. With salvation, we are no longer apart from God but now a part of God. People who remain apart from God are still separate from Him, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Unless you’re a Calvinist.

    “Gentiles were never bound to the law of Israel.” (societyvs)

    Why is this? Prior to Jesus, a person had to convert to Judaism. After Jesus, this is not the case. The message was taken first to the Jew and then to the Gentile. The same message. There are not two systems, but only one. That is what Jesus was saying. Man could never be good enough for God, so Jesus made it where man could be with the Father by being placed in Jesus. This is true for Jew and Gentile alike. Jesus said there is only one way to the Father and that was through Him. Not His actions, but by becoming one with Him.

    “Basically we are writing our own cheque into heaven by mouthing a few words, confessing a few tidbits we don’t know are true, and whammo…life forever. Doesn’t this sound ridicously ‘cheap’ to you and betraying of what Jesus actually taught in the gospel texts?” (societyvs)

    How? We have to believe, not mouth a few words. Acts of faith require commitment. We are having faith that what Jesus said is true. It is not based on what we did but believing what Jesus said He did. He gave His life, so the cost wasn’t cheap, but it was a cost we were unable to pay. That is why the law was never good enough. The greatest commandment is to love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul. How does giving your life over betray that teaching?

    “Honestly, how often do you hear from God?” (societyvs)

    Honestly everyday. I don’t have that distant relationship that you describe. One where you read an outline of what you think God wants and hoping you do it right. I take stuff to Him through out the day. When I don’t hear His voice is when I focus on the situations going on around me and try to resolve them myself. There is such much more to the relationship then what you are experiencing.

  10. “I can see why you struggle with Christianity” (Xander)

    True…because sacrifice of a human being is against the law. Maybe I’m wrestling with semantics here but isn’t that what Christianity is claiming happened w/Jesus? Now animals were allowed as sacrifice in that system – and in a certain way before the priests. Yet Christians are claiming this is exactly what Jesus supposedly did. (However, Paul says little on the issue concerning it being an atonement idea).

    I see Jesus as a sacrificial idea – on behalf of humanity and for the sake of humanity. He kept what was right and did was right before God and was still killed for it. The end result for his lifestyle and committment to God was resurrection. I also see him as the messiah and I see this tied to his death and resurrection as well. I forgo the Adam ‘original sin slant’ and ‘atonement’ theories.

    One must remember Jesus also taught his disciples to ‘lay down their lives for another’ as well – as the greatest show of love. Or can only Jesus’ death have meaning?

    “Adam sinned and his spiritual nature died, as God said it would. How much harder is to communicate with a Spirit when your spiritual side is dead” (Xander)

    There is a problem with your interpretation about his spiritual side dying, (a) it doesn’t actually say that in the passage and (b) he physically dies later in the story. Adam’s sin led to actual physical death it would appear. Was he spiritually dead…maybe? I doubt it since his sons offer sacrifices to ‘God’. So even if Adam was spiritually dead, his kids weren’t.

    “There was still communication, but never in the same way as in the garden.” (Xander)

    To be honest Xander, there still isn’t. We have what we call ‘faith’ now, which is nothing like Adam walking in the garden with God.

    “With salvation, we are no longer apart from God but now a part of God” (Xander)

    Huh, ‘part of God’? What do you mean by that?

    “Why is this?” (Xander)

    There is no law saying this…check it out for yourself. I have looked into Judaism and this claim – and it’s accurate – there was never a call for Gentiles to join Judaism (in order to follow God). People could be ‘God fearers’ or associated with the Judaic faith system without converting.

    2 pieces worth looking at:

    http://www.myjewishlearning.com/beliefs/Issues/Jews_and_Non-Jews/Jews_and_Non-Jews_101.shtml

    http://www.myjewishlearning.com/beliefs/Issues/Jews_and_Non-Jews/Attitudes_Toward_Non-Jews/Converts.shtml

    There are even new attitudes that one could follow their religion (in this case Christianity) or countries laws and still serve God (also based on the Noahide Laws).

    “There are not two systems, but only one” (Xander)

    In an ideal world yes, in the real one, no. Even within Acts the case seems to be there are 2 versions of Christians – Jews and Gentiles – which Paul always fought about (mainly for Gentile inclusion and respect). I agree, there is only One God and one system, and we are all equal under that system. However, I feel although there is One God and One way – there are many versions in that system.

    “There is such much more to the relationship then what you are experiencing.” (Xander)

    Maybe. However, I don’t just read the teachings and ‘hope’ I am doing right. I know I am doing right because my beliefs are concretely grounded in experience/life as well. I am not worried and stressed out about if I am doing enough to make it to heaven, I trust God is loving and see’s what I am doing – that I am not hurting people and trying my best with what I was given.

    However, to say I hear from God everyday, that would be an outright lie. Even when I was attending church 250 days a year and was ‘on fire’ for God as a younger Christian – I only heard God maybe a few times in real concrete ways. But as I grew I didn’t need that, the spirit of God makes things known and we remember things (using our brain) about what we need to be doing. But I wouldn’t dare call that tantamount to the relationship with another human being we can hug, embrace, hold, etc.

  11. Hello, What is all this back and forth. I know of only one Jesus. None of the other religions have a Jesus. Regardless what the other so called religions teach in good works etc.they have no Jesus. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. No other religion has a way of the truth and life after physical death. Most christians do not believe Jesus is the only way to spiritual life after death, so how are we christians to convince Jesus is the only way. Most Christians are taught that everyone is born with an immortal spirit. But God breathed into Adam a living soul. Yet most teach God breathed into Adam a living soul and an immortal spirit. When all religions understand that all are born into this world with a mortal soul people will ask how does one receive this eternal immortal spirit. Then and only then will christians understand the importanc of Acts 2:38 with the phrase receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit.
    Charles

  12. societyvs, I know there are good reasons to question the things you do. I have, many do. And, yes there are huge variances in doctrine in the faith. But the claims of Jesus, the Apostles, and hundreds of witnesses cannot be compared to any other religion. Can you honestly make Jesus out to be just another prophet that was teaching good morals? Do not the miracles mean anything? The Apostles were also given the authority to do miraculous things. The Holy Spirit is promised by Jesus to come and be with us, and that actuality is attested to by millions. While the faith is diluted, abused and corrupted, I think Christianity stands out. It stands out and says “Come, confess your sin and believe and I will prove to you my powerful truth, I will come into your heart and give you eternal life”. There simply is no religion as bold and widely held.

  13. To be honest, I am not making Christianity ‘less than’ other religions, but that it needs to wake up and start working alongside other faiths – since we live in a global mindset now. I am not saying they should not try convert people and continue that work, if people want to join I say ‘great’!

    “Can you honestly make Jesus out to be just another prophet that was teaching good morals?” (Ken)

    Honestly, I can make him out to be the ‘messiah’ – which was a human figure sent by God. That never sits well with Christianity that needs Jesus to be a ‘God’ – but I have studied the messiah terminology and it never says the messiah will be ‘God’. So yeah, to some degree Jesus can be seen a holy man messiah figure that had his authority based in Scripture.

    “Do not the miracles mean anything?” (Ken)

    They do, they show the proof (according to the proof-texts in the gospels) he was the ‘messiah’ (anointed one). The miracles are a sign God was with Him, I never question that claim.

    “The Holy Spirit is promised by Jesus to come and be with us, and that actuality is attested to by millions. While the faith is diluted, abused and corrupted, I think Christianity stands out.” (Ken)

    Funny thing about the Holy Spirit, the term almost means a set apart spirit/life (which is what I am guessing is the ‘work’ of God – to make us ‘godly’). But Christianity, in general, is not more moral than the next religion – and sometimes is worse. Millions are also attesting to this simple fact, Christians – even with the claims of the Holy Spirit – are really not becoming better people than the Joneses’ down the street that have no religion. What’s so ‘holy’ about any of that?

    I love the faith myself, I see the hope and joy in it, the adventure in it, the morality and push to internalize stuff, to make me think, to make me love, etc. But Christianity, if we were being honest, is institutionalized and no matter what anyone says – is stagnating in it’s own water. It has put up it’s doctrinal limits and does not allow for freedom in thought and expression. I almost see faith as church when I really take a close look at it.

    “It stands out and says “Come, confess your sin and believe and I will prove to you my powerful truth, I will come into your heart and give you eternal life”.” (Ken)

    I don’t think these are the strong points of Christianity – these are the marketing points (selling points) of the faith.

  14. “But Christianity, if we were being honest, is institutionalized and no matter what anyone says – is stagnating in it’s own water.” (societyvs)

    Oh I agree completely! But the gospel is either the truth or not. If Jesus was not sent by God to be the sacrifice for the sin of all humanity, then His life and teachings mean very little. His moral teachings were not unique and most know from a child that we should share and help others. The corruption and disgrace we see in abundance today is a reflection on our inability to remain true to the message, not that there is a problem with the message. God’s Spirit will only remain with us if we nurture that relationship, and obviously there are a lot of people not doing that.

    You do a great service to the faith by questioning as you do, I just don’t see how “Christianity the faith” is tainted by those who falsely claim to follow it.

  15. “If Jesus was not sent by God to be the sacrifice for the sin of all humanity, then His life and teachings mean very little” (Ken)

    I don’t know why this is so essential – to be honest. Maybe Jesus is a sacrifice for sins, doesn’t matter to me – I still have to live a good life filled with responsibility and accuntability…aside from whatever Jesus accomplished on the cross. So if the teachings mean little it is because that is the priority they are shown in the Christian belief system (which I believe to be partially true).

    “I just don’t see how “Christianity the faith” is tainted by those who falsely claim to follow it.” (Ken)

    It’s tainted because of people not ‘who falsely claim to follow it’ but because of people that ‘claim to’. On top of that, the people that are part of this faith and do something overly unreflective of the faith – how often do we ever hear serious sincerity about their mistakes? It’s usually kind of brushed under the carpet.

    But this makes me wonder about the religion as sincere at all – being institutionalized. The reason their is some shame to this is because we claim to follow God – not from a distance – but from a very personal level (close). We make claims about being indwelled with the ‘Holy Spirit’. Then we get Catholic priests molesting kids and covering it up, Jimmy Swaggert’s and Jim Bakkers, Fred Phelps came from somewhere, off-shoots of this faith that are mentally deranged (ie: Jim Jones and David Koresh), The faith/money movement and it’s hucksters (ie: Benny Hinn), etc.

    Christianity has a problem and how do we handle it…uh…wasn’t us that did it. I would say the church markets over everything with a colorful message that continues to promote a faith with ‘no problems whatsoever’ and lives in complete denial that this faith is seriously flawed and I see no change on the horizon.

    Christianity is not about choice either, you either swallow the junk they’re selling or you are ‘out’. We cannot choose other religious ideas because to do so is tantamount to treason or betrayal to our faith. Yet I find many religions that have many great ideas…and I don’t see single problem with using what we learn from others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s