The last couple of years have seen some pretty rough times for “Christians”. Mainly because there are a lot of people who claim to be, but yet their actions show anything but Christianity. I believe that we have become all too comfortable with people saying they are a Christian, because they go to church, or they grew up in a church community, but you have to remember, that does not make you one. Just as if I grew up in a neighborhood that was predominantly Hispanic, I knew the lingo, I went to social events, etc., but I would still be of European descent. Okay, that might not be the best example, but I am sure you catch my drift.
Because of many of the things that are being done in our country under the name of Christianity, I have lost my faith in organized religion, and find myself questioning the authenticity of the Bible. Now, let me be clear, I believe in God – I cannot look around and believe that all of these wonderful things exist with the astronomically outrageous odds of them happening, not to mention I have seen too many miracles to not believe.
Why do I have a problem with organized religion? If you look at the history of Christianity, so many horrible, violent acts have been done under its name, but that is not Christianity stands for. Nowhere in the New Testament does God command people to torture people and force them to believe or kill them if they do not. Even in our current society, God did not tell you to dictate to others how to live their lives, and he certainly did not tell you to condemn anyone, that is his job and his alone. You can show them scriptures, you can offer guidance, but if someone chooses to live differently, you love them and move on. Organized religion, albeit subtlely, encourages conversion, and some even use scare tactics and lessons of conformity. Jesus ate with sinners, he showed them love, compassion, and mercy. The only people he really seemed to ‘come down on’ were religious leaders who were taking advantage of people…you know, like the TV evangelist who got $500.00 from my mother for a Bible because he put his commentary in it. ::roll eyes::
What some of you may not know, or maybe you did but have forgotten, there are religions that have been around long before Christianity was documented. Let us look at the Christian holidays; Christianity took over what they considered to be pagan holidays because they wanted people to worship according to the Christian doctrine. According to scripture, Jesus would not have been born during December. Shepherds would not have been out with their sheep in the winter months, but that was a time for other celebrations, such as Saturnalia – the Roman fest for Saturn, among others.
Why do I have doubts about the authenticity of the Bible? To be clear, I believe that the Bible has truths, documentation from Jewish history, and letters that were found written so long ago. However, man has ‘translated’ it, many times, and King James had a group put the books together, they picked and choose from scrolls and decided what went in there. I can hear you saying “Yes, but 2 Timothy 3:16 KJV says All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.‘” Well, these were letters that were being sent, these men had absolutely no idea a book called The Bible, would be put together, so was Timothy actually speaking about these texts or did someone put that information in so that it sounded legit? Also, there have been tons of letters/scrolls that have been round, some were even known at the time of the creation of the King James Version, but were left out. Why would that be? Some possibilities – reincarnation was mentioned in some of them and many rulers would not want people to know about that, they would want them to believe that they were ordained by God and that everything they said and did was from God. Today, most people do not believe in reincarnation, yet there are a lot of documented cases of children from ages 2-5 remembering explicit details of their past lives, and many of them have been able to have their cases verified. How do we explain that?
I think there are a lot of things out there that we do not understand and therefore we dismiss them as heresy but have you ever really questioned why that is? Could it be because it has been passed on by religious leaders generation to generation? I am not saying that I believe that there is no purpose or validity in the Bible, I just am not sure I believe there has not been some additional wording put in there by man.
Fear is the best way to get people to believe and/or do just about anything. If you tell people they will go to hell if they do not believe what you are telling them, many will be too afraid to question it and will do what they are told. I see a lot of this in our current political structure right now. You have one side spreading lies about the other (this happens on both sides, not just one), and people believe it without question. I recently saw someone post a meme that stated this “So when the left is talking about white supremacism, they’re talking about the roots of this country. They’re talking about Christianity.” WHAT?! No, because being a white supremacist does not equal being a Christian by any actual definition. Clearly, there are people who have absolutely no idea what Christianity truly is.
So, I am struggling with some of this right now. My faith in God is not changing, and I still consider myself a Christian, but by the definition of being Christ-like, not by what the world is currently demonstrating. I may not agree with something you do, but I will not tell you that you cannot do it based on my faith, and I will respect your right to believe how you see fit. I have always been one that believed your testimony is best lived out, not shoved in someone’s face. If people do not ask, they probably are not ready to hear what you have to say, but if you live it day in and day out, that can make a difference. My non-Christian friends know I believe in a higher power, they know I call myself a Christian, they also know I am human, and that I make mistakes, but they have seen how I handle them, and they know that I believe there is much more out there than what the leaders want us to know, for whatever reason that may be.
For now, I am content to do my studies, pray my prayers, and live my life. I will continue to question directions because I no longer trust that leaders, political and religious alike, truly have my best interest at heart.