‘Wow’ I hear you shout, ‘he’s renounced his faith and turned back to his atheistic ways’,
I’m sorry to disappoint but, this is far from the case.
This post arises from my need to address something that comes up all too frequently in my discourses with non believers.
I always end up faced with an argument against religion or a religious institution and, find myself unable to mount a retaliation because I tend to agree with the arguments I face!
I think organised religion is one of the biggest problems this world faces.
Please don’t get me wrong though, I’m not out to fight a corner or even defend a corner. I’m not out to stir a pot or to accuse. This article is to simply dispel some myths regarding Christianity and organised religion!
I have just deleted a huge chunk of writing because I decided that I can tackle this topic much more succinctly by being simplistic.
Some of you might be surprised to learn that some of the most ardently and passionately anti religious texts exist within the Bible. One of my favourites has to be Galatians as it really bares down to the beautiful truth of being a Christian (Read that before you read this as Paul is much better at explaining things than I am).
Religion, in a modern/secular understanding of the word seems to me to mean something along the following lines:
A series of rules set out by a spiritual text and followed by people who believe this text to be divinely written.
I think there’s obviously a bit more to it either side of the argument but, in essence I think that is how it is perceived, a process of rule following.
I was skimming through Youtube just before bed last night (part of my nightly unwinding process) And I came across a video in which Ricky Gervaise talked about Religion.
Ricky talked a little about his upbringing in a deprived area in which a mother’s hope for her child wasn’t found in said child becoming a Doctor or Lawyer etc but, instead, being that the child wouldn’t die in a bar-room brawl or something of a similar nature. He continued to explain that, for his family and I guess (by means of inference) plenty of other families, the best way to ensure a child’s survival was to instill good honest Christian Morals. He goes on to explain that Christians don’t hold the monopoly on goodness and that he is perfectly capable of doing good things without a biblical incentive offered.
Whilst Ricky Gervais is, by no stretch of the imagination, a figurehead for atheism; nor, a leading thinker on these kinds of issues, he does sum up a popular secular view on Christianity.
The problem with this view of Christianity is that it warps the priorities of any Christ Follower. You see what happens is, people start looking at Christianity as a moral example of lifestyle designed to control and manipulate and, that leads to an absolute perversion of the truth behind Christianity.
I might start sounding like a broken record here as I mention this fairly often but it is worth a recap. In Archery to, ‘sin’ is to miss the bullseye. Well, it is sort of like that in the bible.
God created us to be in relationship with him eternally in perfection but, in disobeying God we chose to turn our backs on the created standard God set. In doing so, sin enters the world. Now sin is not simply bad behaviours and evil. Sin is ANYTHING that misses the bullseye set before us by God.
Now, to cut a biblically long story exceptionally short, Jesus is God’s incredible restorative solution to the problem of sin.
So, to turn back to the point at hand; the purpose of a Christ follower is a simple one. It is to follow Christ, accept that salvation comes through faith in Him alone and not by our deeds good or bad. That’s it. It isn’t about doing good stuff to get into heaven and it isn’t about casting judgement on those who don’t do good things. When you accept the gift God has willingly given you and grasped how much we totally don’t deserve it your emotional centre can’t help but engage with that. When I was saved I said, ‘I want to follow Christ’s example” not, “I want to obey the 10 commandments”. Religion is the decision to observe the latter.