Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Faith By Any Other Name

It is amazing to me how so-called Christians can with good conscience question the sincerity of another Christian’s faith. Time magazine did an article on the church going habits and faith of the Democratic candidates. It appears that the MSM continues to play into the hands of the right wing by questioning the veracity of the candidate’s commitment to their faith.

Why was this article even written except to cast aspersions upon the candidates, causing it to appear that they are pandering to other Christians who in the past have voted overwhelmingly Republican? Those Christians that have voted overwhelmingly for Republicans are so-called right wing conservatives. The MSM seems to believe that the only “real” Christians in this country are those Christians who identify with these groups.

As a Christian who does not identify with these groups, I find it frightening that if one does not accept their version of the Gospel, then one’s faith is in question. This is all too familiar with the current “with us or against us” philosophy that has characterized the past 7 years. It is precisely this attitude that has done so much to divide not only this country, but the world. It is this attitude that tells the world that if you do not accept our vision of God, then you are a heathen and we will visit God’s wrath on you. If you disagree with us, then you disagree with God. How arrogant of them to believe that they are the only ones who speak for God, that they are the ones in possession of all truth and knowledge.

In an effort to maintain peace with my right wing brethren I have not spoken out against this demagoguery, but the time has come where I can no longer in good conscience not speak out. I am no biblical scholar and I hold no advanced degrees in divinity from anywhere. I am just a man who tries to live a simple life of obedience to God as He has revealed himself to me. Let me state for the record that I believe that God reveals Himself to man at different levels of enlightenment and no one here today has received complete enlightenment. This includes all the many so-called men of God who have claimed otherwise. These are the folks who have gotten the misguided belief that the job of a Christian is to convert the lost to their religion or specifically their domination. Nowhere in the Bible that I read does it talk about converting anyone to anything. The only use of conversion in the New Testament is that we must be converted to little children to enter the Kingdom of God. My job as a Christian is to introduce you to the one who sent me, period. What happens after that is between you and God.

So why have so many gone so wrong? It lies in the fact that the modern Church has allowed the world to corrupt its mission and allowed certain leaders to lead it astray. No one has done more to divide the Church than many Evangelicals; they have come up with the notion that they have the only correct interpretation of God’s word. Yet their interpretation is in direct odds with what the Lord they are supposed to follow preached. As a Christian I would like to point out some differences in what they espouse and what I believe and not just myself, but millions of other Christians.

Many believe that God accepts and condones the use of nuclear weapons. Many believe that it is their job to convert the world to their brand of Christianity. Many believe that God hates sinners. Many believe that God does not care if they pollute and kill the earth. Many believe that God is a God of hell-fire and brimstone and seeks to extract viscous retribution on man. Many believe that God is racist and has chosen white people to lead the world. The list goes on and on, but the truth of the matter is that none of it is true.

The underlying principle in the Bible is love. Love of God and love of our fellow man is to be our guiding principle. We are to bear the weaknesses of others, if we are stronger. Instead of killing folks we are suppose to be loving folks. God does not hate sinners, He sent His Son to die for sinners; God hates sin. Unfortunately, many cannot separate the sin from the sinners, so they condemn them both. The earth is God’s and all that is in it, which means it is not ours to do with as we please. God loves all people regardless of their nationality or race. God is not a respecter of person.

No, these people do not represent Christianity; they represent a fanatical version of Christianity. As with many fanatics they believe that they are the holders of all truth, nothing could be further from the truth. There are many Christians in this country that do not hold to these teachings, but that does not make our faith any less real. We condemn the fanatics of other faiths, yet we ignore the fanatics who misrepresent us and our faith. We can no longer remain quiet as these zealots kill and maim in the name of God and in the name of our faith.

Are there things wrong in America? More than I can name. We have abortion, gay marriage, a humanistic agenda that places man as the head of the universe, rich people exploiting the poor, pollution of our environment, and the list goes on, but again we are not here to judge and condemn, we are here to show love as God has shown love to us.

Are the faiths of the candidates legitimate? I don’t know it is not for me to say. Only God can judge His servants. I do know that just because they don’t buy into the right wing conservative version of the Gospel doesn’t make them any less Christians.

From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth; from the laziness that is content with half-truths; from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth – oh God of Truth deliver us!— Unknown

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