Thursday, March 27, 2008

Like A Hamburger Without Beef

or an omelet without eggs.

We now have a "Christian" Church in Canada that doesn't believe in Jesus.

There is no law that says that someone must be a Christian in any western nation. If one doesn't believe in Jesus, legally speaking that is his or her right. They may be completely wrong in their belief but state cannot punish them for it.

A Christian is by definition, someone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, Saviour and rightful ruler of the earth (though He will claim that authority when He returns, we are not to take up arms and conquer the world in His name.) A Christian believes that Jesus told the truth when He said

I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me. (John 14:6)

I found the webpage of the Congregation in question in the article and spent a lot of time there. It became clear that they are good-hearted and good intentioned people but a Christian is defined by belief as much as by character (and these are seen as two sides of the same coin - - you need both.)

I read somethings that disturbed me very much.

Christianity has grown up. Or, to be more precise, parts of Christianity have grown up. Passing through the stage known as “critical thinking,” those cantankerous adolescent years when nothing anyone ever says is simply taken as fact, we’ve asked the questions, pried open the mysteries, tasted the holy water and found it all based on very little. Very, very little. The Bible, the book with all the answers, the authoritative word of God, comes apart in tatters in our hands when we look at it too closely, its authors all too human, its hopes all to simplistic for us to believe anymore. We are left with no proof of God, no words from God’s lips, no divine child saving us forever and ever, and nowhere to turn for that simple hope we once knew. We are left, too, with a sick feeling in our stomachs, the aftermath of a destructive, tribal faith that is responsible for far too many sallow pages of pain and horror in the book of life.

What's left?

We too, have lived an unwritten faith these many years. In the ashes of what we once believed, we have found gifts of truth that are eternal—the need to live in right relationship, to build community, to honour life and all creation, to find within another’s eyes a dignity whose fragile presence is only held there by our gaze, to care enough to reach beyond our own self care and want to ease another’s burden. Where these truths came from, how we know them, what it is that rises in our hearts when we encounter them, we neither know nor understand and will not deign to say. But we do know we must live by them.

I suppose they think they are being simply honest. Do they believe in Jesus? In a manner of speaking perhaps. It all comes down to this: Did Jesus tell the absolute truth and did He rise from the dead? If the answer to these questions are "Yes!" and I believe it is, then Christianity in its narrow definition is true.

Does that make me narrow-minded (which some people seem to think is the ultimate fault of any religious belief)? Yes I guess it does. What did Jesus Himself say about that.

Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction and many are those who enter by it, For the gate is small and way is narrow that leads to life and few are those who find it. (Matthew 7: 13, 14) Jesus did not have a problem with people being narrow-minded. One's mind should be open to the truth, but not so open that in the end it retains nothing.

The Higher Criticism of the Bible that leads one to conclude that it was written much later than claimed works entirely on circular reasoning and thus, like those who believe the Bible, depends on faith. The "search for the historical Jesus" is based on the idea that nothing written about Him was true so we need to fill in the blanks.

If you choose not to believe in Christianity, that is your right and I will not deny you that right. It does not mean that you are necessarily a bad person, but it does carry consequences. Part of the difficulty is this simple fact: Christians are not the best people in the world, but we are the people who have been redeemed from this world and promised a better one. Me? I'm looking for better world to come.

8 Comments:

Blogger jgf said...

"And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea."
Mark 9:42

No need to say more.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

ditto that last sentence.

that church kinda sounds like Unitarian Universalism, which kinda believes in God, the all inclusive, never said "thou shalt not" God that everybody can agree with God, who never, ever said anything exclusive like "no man can come to the Father but by me" is all inclusive and never ever says anybody is or was ever wrong about anything, ever. The kind of God who makes everyone smile like they just toked some great weed or sipped some good mushroom tea.
A God in Man's own Image!

11:08 PM  
Blogger Goat said...

We have a word for people that remove God and Christ and replace it with human, that word is, atheist. I saw that story at Hot Air and about choked on my coffee.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

If they don't believe in Christ they can't reasonably call themselves "Christians"! *sigh*
They want to put God in a box and define Him to their own liking, so what they do is worship a pretend god. That may be very convenient for them while they are here on earth, but it's going to be terribly inconvenient when they leave it!

11:10 AM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

They're not that much different from Jefferson or the other Founders who called themselves Deists. I think a bit like that too which is why I don't call myself a Christian but those folks and Jefferson and me are all culturally "Christian" in that we believe in Christian values. We just don't believe in the BiBle literally or the dogma of Christianity.

I've sometimes thought that there needs to be another world to describe us Deists who believe that Western civilization came from the greatest religion in the world which for us is: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind... and love your neighbour as yourself."

12:27 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

pjc you don't apply the title "Christian" to yourself, which differentiates between you and the members of that Church. In my opinion that makes you the more honest one.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Patrick,
You are confusing me. You say you do not believe in Christian dogma, but you believe in loving the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind... and loving your neighbour as yourself. Isn't that the essence of Christian dogma?

3:12 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I have no problem with anybody who does no harm. There are plenty of Christians who have made our world worse off by their actions in the name of God. Bush has launched a war in Iraq that has killed untold thousands. If he is a Christian then I don't know what I am.

3:33 PM  

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