I was raised Catholic, and went to many Protestant youth groups. I
found bits of wisdom in every one of them. I will be the last person to
tell you “This group is religious, that one is faithful.” I will be the
first to tell you that it is really an individual thing.
I realize how this must look: after all, I’m about to attribute all the
stupid, shameful things of Christianity on the religious, and tell you
that most of the good things heppened by the hand of the faithful. On
the other hand, I have little choice.
Faith vs. Religion is, for the most part, a _motives_ issue. I can go
do community service because I want to serve God, and help the word, or
I can do community service as if a few hours of my life could somehow
bribe God into letting me into Heaven. I can help a beggar because ‘God
loves him too’ or I can help a beggar because I want to look altruistic.
I can tell you “Jesus Christ is the only thing that can save
I realize how this must look: after all, I’m about to attribute all the stupid, shameful things of Christianity on the religious, and tell you that most of the good things heppened by the hand of the faithful. On the other hand, I have little choice.
Faith vs. Religion is, for the most part, a _motives_ issue. I can go do community service because I want to serve God, and help the word, or I can do community service as if a few hours of my life could somehow bribe God into letting me into Heaven. I can help a beggar because ‘God loves him too’ or I can help a beggar because I want to look altruistic. I can tell you “Jesus Christ is the only thing that can saveyou from hell” because I want to share what I think is the truth (for your benefit and God’s), or I can do it because my priest, some guy who makes a living by whering a night robe and mumbling in latin, is telling me to harass the ‘lost.’
I guess when I say ‘religious’, I mean those who put whatever faith they have in their priest, the name of their church, or the traditions, rather than the God those things are supposed to point to.
Examples on Faith vs. Religion:
The Bible has a few instances where snake bites have been ineffective, though the crude knowledge of the day said that the peole should be dead. Now, a religious person, trying to prove how much they trust God might allow themselve to be bit by a snake, or to avoid medical treatement after such a tring happens. A faitful individual sees the sanke, cautiously moves away. The faithful would probably be praying to God for something to distract the snake. If it is completely unavoidable, the faithful have a confidence that God can distract the snake, or deliver them from the problem, so long as there was no way for them to deliver themselves.
You’ve consistently pointed to the effects of various religions- the Crusades, cult suicides, and I’d add the Muslim suicide bombings. You know people usually attack what they don’t understand, how can a religion (an organization of mankind trying to appease a higher entity) be held to a higher standard that a government (an organization trying to appease the needs of the people)?
In Hitler’s day, he bullied the Lutheran church into passing memes to the people. The leaders of the Lutheran were afraid of Hitler, so they told the priests what Hitler said was true. The priests passed the meme to the people. It read, “We are better people that them (the Jews, the Poles, the gypses, the handicap)- and our glorious leader is correct in killing them.” You know, if the people had opposed Hitler, he couldn’t supported his regime if popular support vanished.
Now, I hate religions as much as the rest of you. My father was a “good Catholic,” and for most of her life, so was my mother. Then, my mother realized that Christianity isn’t about rosaries and masses. The stupid little arguments such as wine versus grape juice only prove the corruption of both mainstream Catholic and mainstream Protestant churches. Religion is about dogma, about putting the brain on autopilot. And I agree that it stinks.
You don’t see the difference, but it’s there. I may only be the leader of a small group of youths, but if I qualify for “I’d like to see a spiritual leader admit that their faith may lead followers down the wrong path…” than I can do better than that. I know, for absolute certain that I’m wrong to a degree. Setting aside the “For all have sinned…” scripture, I have a theory. If my beliefs were 100% correct, then I would be belessed to such an abundant degree, especially emotionally, that I’d be able to convince everyone else that I’m right. If a denomination (anyone of them, just pick) had the whole truth, there would be what has been generally termed “Revival,” and that denomination would spread memes from one end of the Earth to the other. But God gives us the chance to search for him for the same reason you let a child sound out a word: the pleasure both get to see the child realize what that group of symbols means. I will never have the whole truth, you will never have the whole truth, and the religious stink primarily because they’re not even looking for the next bit of truth.
The stupid thing of it all is, when I refer to the “religious”, I’m really just referring to those who put whatever faith they have in their priest, the name of their church or the traditions, rather than the God that the priest, church and traditions are supposed to point to.
I’m not much of a scientist, but I recall hearing about certain bacteria in the human body being attacked by viruses. The virus could not target the cells _of_ our bodies, but they could target cells _in_ our bodies. Without that virus, the bacteria would corrupt the body, and hurt the host.
It is very much the same way with Christian faith. (I’m not putting down any other faith, but since I can’t personally testify, I will not pretend to understand what exactly followers of other faiths get out of those faiths.) “Sin” or evil, or maybe guilt- whatever you want to call it- corrupts humans.
The bare definition of the Christian faith is “Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God is the only thing that can save us from our own wrongdoings. All you have to do is let him live through you, acceptingg him as Lord and Savior.” That virus enters your head, and through some immunity (see previous article) you ignore these premises as false, restricting or unimportant, or you allow yourself to be infected. You’re infected? Great! You personally will not be attacked, will not become ill, but the corruption in your life will be.
Personally, I don’t understand what there is to lose. I remember learning to ride my bike, I couldn’t keep the confidence to keep looking ahead unless my father’s hand was on the seat, holding me up. Even if the hand wasn’t there, it’s the confdence that counts. So, if there is no God, then I have a confidence that makes me comfortable. At what cost? If there is no God, then I am acting well, but there’s no one to answer to, if God is all in my mind, than a projection of a God-concept, coming from me encourages me to live right, and it’s just my conscious.
On the other hand, if there is a God, the one that I believe there is, then he’s happy with me, at least to some degree. And, to be brutally honest, I’d rather have more than I need, than need more than I have.
We're not perfect, we're just forgiven!
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