Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's No Secret, Some Days I Hate Christianity

I've had trouble coming up with a topic and the Heavens have been silent. I thought I would fall back to some lame attempts to blog "random thoughts" but they were too vulgar. I pondered posting videos of me playing guitar, but I have it on good authority that some of you hate country - it makes Dave T. sick. I have written about health care, but Washington isn't listening to me - Mitt says it's broken. I was going to post some twisted conversation that I had with one of my kids, but I've been so busy, that nothing seems entertaining enough to post in public.

Today I was thinking about being a Christian, and how grateful I am that I have joined the club of faith, but on occasion I have my doubts.

You know, it seems like yesterday that I was rescued from the midst of alcoholism and all that goes with it. There I was at the New England Ala-teen Conference during the summer of 1978 and God surprised me as I let go of the fact that I didn't believe in God at all. For me, the Spirit of God rushed in like a flood. I was thinking that going from darkness to light, getting saved, or coming to faith - whatever you call it - is like sex, you'll know if it happens. Maybe that's not the best analogy, but what other experience is intimate and as life changing? Especially when you think about the fact that the context under which it happens can change the entire meaning - not the experience.

What I have experienced since I became a Christian is another story. Some of it has been so mind blowing that words cannot describe the encounters: Angles, demons, the voice of God, healing, miracles, worship in which I touched heaven, the sense of relief for my guilt and shame over some ugly stuff, the supernatural flowing day-in-and-day-out in Brazil and Norway, feeding the poor, consoling the broken, and watching God at work in my life and the lives for those around me - WOW!!!!!!!!

In spite of that, there are still some parts of Christianity I hate on occassion - really, I think being a Christian could just be easier:

Jesus the Way - It's hard to be part of a religion that has a God who says, "I am the truth, the Way and the Light, no one comes to the Father but by me." It makes folks from other religions pretty widgy. And if Jesus was not a living God of power, it would be pretty damn foolish to say stuff like that and then have us try to believe it. Of course, if you fail the "confess Jesus with your lips" test, there is always the "what is written in your heart" test. It would be easier if everyone was getting on the ark.

Jesus the Man - I don't like the part where Jesus came as a man, because it makes folks think that is all He was. Because He was a man, people get all weird about the part where he never sinned. Like, what did He say when He hit His thumb with a hammer? "Tiger Woods!" How did He go a lifetime without doing - umm - you know? Amazingly history shows that He lived and the He was alive after his resurrection as prescribed by Jewish law. Crazy - and not a point that is easy to debate with the heathen.

Bible Rules - I don't like the rules. To be honest, they are hard to keep and often go against everything that I think and feel. If it was up to me, life would be a dizzying array of money, sex, being lazy, and leaving all my responsibilities up to some else. (My wife might think that describes our marriage - but it's not an accurate picture - well except for the responsibilities part.) I would be going through life like a Toyota with a stuck gas pedal on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Duh - I already tried that. And why is it that Christians think they are the only ones that can be moral? Lots of non-Christians live moral lives - not Tiger Woods, but some people -they just don't always know where they came from.

3-In-1 God - This is the most stupidest concept. Most Christians can't understand it, so forget trying to proselytize using it. But without it, there is no Christianity. Jesus was God, and after He left earth, He sent His Holy Spirit. The ice-water-steam concept. It could be easier, I'm just saying.

Tithing - Why should I give 10%; or any of my hard earned money to the church? Interestingly, this is one place where we can test God - He said it was OK. (Mal 3:10) If we give 10% he said that He would return to us blessing. Try it some time. Take 10% of your gross, and give it to some church or ministry you think might spend it on something worthwhile, and see how your week goes. Let me know if you want to make a love offering. ;o)

The Faith Part - I mean, God just show yourself! Oh, that's right you did. Then just do a miracle - oh right, you did a whole book of them. John said we give testimony to what we've seen. Why can't we just believe John? 1 John 1:2

Evangelising - Why do we have to tell others, debate others, knock on doors and give testimonies? Why can't we just be someones friend and see how it goes? I mean, WWJD?

Communion - I know it is supposed to be a time when we identify with the work of the cross. But juice and bread? A cup of wine that has a thousand million germs on it? I am thinking Coke and Pringles might be more attractive. Well, maybe not.

Love - Some days I just want to run people down and feel good about it. And shouldn't I be able to hate people who have wronged me? I mean, there are some people that I DO NOT want to love.

Sin - I hate sin. All those rules tell us don't do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign. I love people who do some of those sins, and I can't seem to debate them into the faith club - or club them with the faith - I think that is what makes it so tough. When folks choose to do what they "feel" is right, and really it's wrong. I mean most moral folks think that killing is wrong, yet some hate war, and find abortion a simple medical procedure no worse than teeth cleaning. It's all too confusing. Why can't we just have one set of rules we all agree on? I mean besides the Bible.

How about you, are there parts of Christianity that make your life difficult? I'd like to hear about it.

13 comments:

photogr said...

David:

I really don't have that much in Christianity that makes my life difficult as I have always felt it was my duty to lead a moral life, stay out of trouble, and provide for my family even when I was not a believer.

Since then though, I have found difficulty warming up to some self professed Christians seeing them saying one thing and then doing the opposite.

I would have to say it is people in general that I am skeptical of. Perhaps it is my life's experiences with people that restrains me from opening up to them.

Tracy said...

This post captivated me from just the title - I totally relate to some of the very same things you struggle with in being a Christian

David said...

@Larry - I never wanted to be moral. I wanted more of everything. Heck, I was addicted to more!

@Tracy - yeah, it is sobering when folks comment and they don't believe and you want them too. When you how much different life inside can be and it comes down to the truth buried in a few verses. It is maddening to try to find the one that will cause repentance from the listener. And then you reflect on your own path, how you've missed it, and how fragile it seems all of sudden. And then you breath in the spirit of the living God - and it all makes sense again!

Thanks for commenting.

GCT said...

David,
I could comment on a lot (especially the part about Jesus being historical and the abject lack of evidence for it, as well as the resurrection), since there's a lot to this post, but I'll refrain (and BTW I thought it was well put together). Instead, I'd like to ask a single question:

Didn't Jesus sin when he fashioned a whip and physically ran people out of the temple with it? Even if he didn't beat anyone with the whip, didn't he at least threaten them - something that we would call "assault?"

I could point to other instances, like his treatment of a woman that comes looking for assistance where he basically makes her say she is a dog, or his ideas of morality where he equates anger to murder, but I think the example I brought up is the clearest cut case.

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

David, great post! I had to come over when I saw the title. Christianity is a weird institution at it's best, and a downright unbelievable institution at its worst

Danny Bixby said...

Like Matt, I got suckered by the title...and wasn't disappointed ;)

You said, "I was thinking that going from darkness to light, getting saved, or coming to faith - whatever you call it - is like sex, you'll know if it happens. Maybe that's not the best analogy, but what other experience is intimate and as life changing?"

I think it may be the best analogy we have, don't sell it short.

Good stuff man.

David said...

@GCT - will reply once I get past my code review this morning.

@Matt - Thanks for reading. I was so frustrated trying to come up with something of value, and I have a running debate with a couple of nice folks that want to more about what I think.

@Danny - I think you came over to ask me to stop commenting on your blog. ;o) Which is a great one.

I do feel bad that a Cirque du Soleil guy like you would be suckered by a Barnum & Bailey guy like me.

2SenseWorth said...

Enjoyed the totally honest and real dialogue.. Very relatable to any "honest with themself" Christian! Thanks.

Nicodemus at Nite said...

Amen David! I'll be honest lately I just haven't been wanting to go to church. People can't even talk because they're so busy doing "God's work" like doing a ministry or teaching a class or choir practice.

And I've really not been wanting to tithe lately. I'm stressed out about the other baby who'll be here in 3 weeks and seriously child care cost is a female dog.

What's up with altar calls? I mean seriously, I think it's all for show. And what's up with pastors deceiving people by having our eyes closed and saying, "I see that hand, God bless I see that hand." I mean, are our techniques not working so we artificially have people come forward because "others are doing it?"

David said...

@Nic at Night - This blog was about all the stuff that we need to embrace - and how hard it is. Dead people living, the Man/God etc.

I have taken a few swings at dorky religious folks that are less than spirit powered. Check out the tag "Stupidity." Or "Top 10" where I blast stupid Christian for being, well, stupid.

I never close my eyes, I am afraid of getting mugged by a demon.

@GTC - Haven't forgotten you - just had to actually work today - on a Friday, no less.

photogr said...

David:

"I never close my eyes, I am afraid of getting mugged by a demon."

Odd that you should mention that. I though I was the only one.

David said...

@GCT - OK a few points.

-1 What is the abject lack of evidence for Jesus having been a real person. It was recorded by the apostles, and also by Josephas. The Bible has many historical passages (which there was a link to) that were found to be similar, and authentic in many different manuscripts.

Didn't Jesus sin when he fashioned a whip and physically ran people out of the temple with it? Even if he didn't beat anyone with the whip, didn't he at least threaten them - something that we would call "assault?"

Jesus did not sin. The passage says this:

Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15, Luke 19:45 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

The word whip is not used in the Greek. A couple of points. What they were doing was illegal according to Jewish law, yet they overlooked the law for gain. It was also against Jewish law that they had put religion ahead of God. The last point is that Jesus showed anger. The Bible simply say be angry and do not sin. This is an example of that.

I could point to other instances, like his treatment of a woman that comes looking for assistance where he basically makes her say she is a dog, or his ideas of morality where he equates anger to murder, but I think the example I brought up is the clearest cut case.

I'd like some verses on these points. I think you are talking about the woman taken in adultery or the woman at the well.

The morality of Jesus is love, accountability and discipline.

Thanks for commenting.

GCT said...

David,
"-1 What is the abject lack of evidence for Jesus having been a real person. It was recorded by the apostles, and also by Josephas. The Bible has many historical passages (which there was a link to) that were found to be similar, and authentic in many different manuscripts."

It's just that - a lack of evidence. None of the gospels were written by eye witnesses (not that eye witness testimony is that great to begin with) and no contemporary historian writes a single word about Jesus. The writings of Josephus are largely discredited as later Xian forgeries, and the select few pagan writers that do potentially mention someone that may fit the description of Jesus do not necessarily mention him by name (none of these were contemporary).

"Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15, Luke 19:45 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves."

In John 2:15, he does fashion a whip in order to drive the people out.

"What they were doing was illegal according to Jewish law, yet they overlooked the law for gain. It was also against Jewish law that they had put religion ahead of God."

And that gives one the right to fashion a weapon and attack people with it?

"The last point is that Jesus showed anger. The Bible simply say be angry and do not sin. This is an example of that."

Matt 5:22 also says that anyone who is angry is subject to judgement and compares being angry to murder. But, I think attacking people with a weapon goes beyond simply being angry. I might be angry at someone who cuts me off in traffic. If I get out of the car and come at them with a weapon, then I've crossed the line for sure.

"I'd like some verses on these points."

Matt 15:21-28 for the woman, and Matt 5:22 for his comparison of anger to murder. The second is not explicity, I admit, but implicit and follows the general flow, which continues with his comparison of looking at a woman with lust to adultery.

"I think you are talking about the woman taken in adultery or the woman at the well."

I wasn't talking about those. The woman taken in adultery is a late addition anyway.

"The morality of Jesus is love, accountability and discipline."

I disagree, but that's quite another rabbit hole that we would be going down...unless you'd like to proceed. I'd rather focus on what we are already discussing.

Related Posts with Thumbnails