Tuesday, 15 August 2017

"Real" Christians?

I've been getting a bit of backlash lately. Not from the usual quarters, but from concerned friends. They are worried that I'm too angry about Christianity and religion and point out that I'm painting all Christians with the same brush - that I'm offending those who I shouldn't be offending and that really, I should just get on with loving people, not judging, and living my new found life to it's fullest.

I'm told that I'm still angry at what the church did to me, and that isn't what christianity is about, and I should back off and pursue the love that I preach and leave others to live their own journeys.

I totally understand this. I really do!! And to be honest, I often contemplate just walking away from all this stuff (even Silent Gays) and getting on with living a nice life.

These days, I'm not particularly angry over what has happened to myself  (apart from the odd trigger of course), but I am angry over the damage I  still see every day from Christianity in all it's forms.

One of the many issues that needs clarification is "real Christianity".

My main concern, obviously, is with fundamentalism. But even this is a broad term with many variations and complexities.

Most of us would assume I mean the bible belt red-neck version, that encompasses biblical literalism and strict dogma built around the Old Testament version of god - the type that believes rational thought has no place and the bible takes precedence over science and psychology etc.

But there is also the type of traditionalism that is embraced by the broader church, that still has strict dogmas based on things like the Nicene Creed and other dogmatic statements of faith that very clearly define what you must believe to be "saved".

Then there are the more liberal doctrines that allow for far more gnostic and esoteric interpretations, right through to those who just follow the example of Jesus as practically as they can and don't even concern themselves with all the other stuff.

So the waters become very muddied when we all respond with our various paradigms based on our experiences, our upbringing, culture etc. Everyone thinks they understand "real" Christianity - that their beliefs are right/best/loving/biblical/just/compassionate or whatever.

Because of all this, we are faced with "what is real Christianity?". So when I dissect and expose so many doctrines and expression of belief, am I calling any particular belief system that is loosely based on Jesus into question? Or all of them?

Can you see the problem here? Where do we draw the line between what is "true Christian doctrine" and what isn't? I realise that everyone will immediately try to justify their biblical interpretations and the traditions of the church and 2000 years of church history etc., but the fact remains that the bible, and Christian doctrines are a mess of ambiguity and contradiction. And the crunch really comes down to when is a Christian not a Christian and, even more important, what are the "fruits" of those beliefs that define your own brand of Christianity.

My "mission" then, is to help bring some clarity to what we believe and why we believe it. The sooner we all realise that every form of religion is totally subjective, with no empirical evidence for any of it, the sooner we can get on with really making this world a better place - of discovering what real love is and actually living it.

You can believe in anything you want, but do so in the knowledge that you are simply adopting something that just feels good to you and empowers you (hopefully) to bring love, compassion and peace to this world.