Monthly Archives: October 2015

In a World Full of Religions, Why Do Christians Think They’re The Only Ones Who Are Right?

Before going anywhere with this topic, we are forced to reconcile one key point. None of us are experts on all religions. Many of us have experiences with other religions, but we can not assume to be experts on all forms of religion and theology. But what we can do is look at what we believe and consider why we have that belief today.

 

Many people believe the way they do because they were brought up in an environment that practiced the religion that they have today. Many believe what they do because they have had some sort of experience that ‘awakened’ them to the concept of a God or spirituality as something real. Others have put into practice the teachings of a specific religion and have found what they see as truth and validation for those beliefs. But, for others, they simply haven’t had that experience that told them that God (or a particular religion) is real. So without nitpicking a specific religion, we can already draw some lines in the sand about what is right.

 

We know that many religions share a common concept of good and evil. Many of the practices and values could be considered good across these religions. We should love one another, don’t steal, don’t murder, care for the poor, meditation, etc. We could probably make a very large list of valuable ideas and practices that could be shared across these religions.

Enter Jesus. Many believe that Jesus was real. Many also believe in his teachings. If you, however, believe in his teachings, must wrestle with his claims of deity.  He also claimed to be the only way to God (John 14:6). This sets Christianity apart from many other religions. It isn’t about earning your way to God through good deeds or daily practices. It is about accepting that you (or anyone) can not do it on your own. If you believe that you can earn your way to God or heaven, or whatever the good side of the afterlife is, then you are not really accepting the teachings of Jesus. It is because Jesus is at the focal point of Christianity that Christians ultimately think that they are uniquely right.  Taking Jesus seriously logically leads to the conclusion that he is the only way to be restored to God and makes Christianity uniquely true.  To argue for any sort of shared truth among religions rejects Jesus’ claims to be the only means of restoration to God.

God Loves Everyone So Why Do Christians Suck?

Christians and the church often fail to show God’s love to a needy, watching world.  Instead of a reflection of the ever loving, gracious God, Christians are viewed as judgemental, hateful bigots.  Why is this the case?

The “Them” concept

Some of the more vocal in this arena, are  Christians who are clearly not loving towards those with opposing views.  For example, those who stand on street corners or soap boxes with signs condemning others, those that protest at funerals, or those that hold rallies burning Korans.  Here we see pretty clearly candid examples of unloving approaches despite a Christian banner.  Is this it then, tied up in a bow, this set of Christians are giving the rest of us a bad name?  I fear that stance may be a case of the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  It’s easy to blame the loud wheel for drawing attention, but the view from 20 feet is that the whole cart is going astray.

“The Collective” approach

Unfortunately the sin of the Pharisee (self righteousness, being judgemental and disparaging)  is alive and well in every corner of the church.  There are those who cast judgement – creating a separated,  insular community that is at times harder to penetrate than a fort. Often times we fail to show to others the same grace that we all gleefully lap up.  Strangely enough, we frequently fail to show it to, or expect it from those  within our own communities. We keep up a facade because even in our church we fear exposing our cracks.   We often forget that the church is for the broken, and that none can fully accept Christ unless they are first grieved by their own sin.  Because of this, we risk making church into a country club – at times deciding who is welcome, how they ought to dress, and how they ought to act.  Here, yet again, I fear we’re playing hot potato.  This excuse is just another case of ‘us versus them’, and perhaps an attempt at diluting individual responsibility.  From this perspective we can absolve ourselves of personal blame; but do any of us really have a leg to stand on in this regard?

“The Individual”

I, ______ an individual Christian, routinely fail to love: in my relationships, in my giving, when I am stressed, when I am hungry, when I am busy, or broke, when it’s too late, when it’s too early and on and on – countless excuses why this time, dying to self is just a bit too inconvenient.

So what do we do, now that we have identified the problem?  We can stop dodging the blame, and recognize that we are guilty of failing the mark. So how do we stop sucking?  By evaluating our own day to day interactions and missed opportunities, seeing our own failings.  It is likely that during these times of introspection, if we obey the impulses and tuggings of the Holy Spirit, rather than those of our inherent self serving nature, we will – by God’s grace – begin to suck a little less.