Saturday, December 04, 2004

Misusing Christianity

This was posted by Paul at Paul's Ponderings. I think it is a very well written and very insightful piece about religion and Christianity's place in our society. Paul has done me the honor of allowing me to repost it for my readers. If you wish to leave a comment, you can do it here or go to Paul's blog and leave it there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Misusing Christianity:
“But, Sir, his religion has been greatly corrupted, and many of his professed friends have been his real enemies. The gospel has been made an engine of power in the hands of kings and priests, converted into a matter of state policy, made subservient to the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life.” ~ Alexander Campbell in a letter to Charles Cassedy (The Millennial Harbinger; May 1833)

Many times in an effort to discredit Christianity people will point out all the bad things “Christian” people have done all the while proclaiming they were doing what God wanted them to do. From the Crusades to the guy who bombs abortion clinics Christianity has been misused and misquoted to justify doing evil. While these people professed to God’s friends they were, and are, actually His enemies.

The misuse of Christianity by people claiming to be Christians is not evidence against the truthfulness of Christianity. It is evidence that people are ultimately responsible for their own actions. God is no more responsible for the sinful actions of the "Christian" man who lives a double life of adultry than He is for the actions Charles Manson. We are all responsible for the choices we make.

It is also evidence for what the Bible says: “Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world” (1 Peter 2:12; NLT). A faithful life brings honor to God, but when Christians are not careful on how they live and they openly disobey God, then opposite will happen. God will be ridiculed, the love He has for people will be questioned, and the Way He has established will be opposed.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to be corrupted and the world continues to question its validity. Here is the great mistake that Church in the United States has made: we have made our morality a matter of state policy. We have some how gotten into our minds that in order to honor God we have to stand up and fight for the morality He has established. That would be true if Jesus died to make men moral, but Jesus died to make men alive. God is not honored when there is an amendment to the constitution defining marriage to be between a man and a woman. God is honored when a Christian couple remains married in the face of the immorality which is all around. God is not honored when the Ten Commandments are posted in every court room in the country. God is honored when Christians love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength while loving their neighbors as themselves. God is not honored when people say a pray before a school event. God is honored when Christian people, when they are alone, spend time in prayer to their Creator.

God is honored when Christian people stand up and become a voice for the unborn. God is honored when Christian people sacrifice and adopt unwanted children. “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us” (James 1:27; NLT). As Christians we need to fight for those who have no voice.

Here is my point. What God is interested in is not that Christians stand up and get laws passed based on the morality He has given to us. God is interested in people accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This country is going to come to an end, and it is going to happen if homosexuals are allowed to marry or not. Yet every single person living in this country will live forever. That means the most important thing we can do is help people find life, not force them to live to our morality.

Wild at Heart;
1 Samuel 14:6

1 comment:

Boomr said...

I'm very glad to see that someone with obvious religious tendencies is making a statement like this. I agree that the very purpose of religion is extremely personal, not societal. It is a quest to save individual souls, not a quest to form a utopian society on earth.

I myself am not particularly religious, although I have had exposure to a good deal of religion. I was raised Southern Baptist, the son of a Baptist man and a Methodist woman, with cousins that are mostly Episcopalian, in a city that is predominately Catholic that also has a large black Baptist and AME population, I went to a school for eleven years that was started as a Jewish orphanage, my best friend since third grade is Muslim, and I've studied religions and mythologies for much of my life, from the Romans to the Babylonians to the Taoists. If you look at the central tenets of all of these religions, it is the salvation of the individual, not the society.

Whichever form of higher power is the focus of your belief, it simply can not be contemplated that such a higher power wanted its followers to force that belief on others. The Bible itself has Jesus saying, "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's," one of the earliest forms of "separation of church and state." (Sorry I don't have the chapter and verse citations). I think much of the current political atmosphere has religious people pitted against non-religious people for control of the government, which should not happen.

Religion is a belief, a very personal feeling. It can not be legislated. It should not be legislated -- the only thing with which government should concern itself is safety of the people, nothing more, nothing less. Religion can take care of the morality and the soul-saving.

Thank you, Paul, for showing this side of the religious Christians.