I left this particular denomination when I was 18. In the years sense it has become more and more fundamental in its view of God and what it means to live a Christian life. It has become more and more focused on religious law and less and less focused on the Grace of God.
Unfortunately this denomination is so large and so akin to other evangelical non-denominational churches that are springing up all over this country that fundamental Christianity has become the face of Christianity for many believers and for most non-believers. This is most unfortunate. If I hadn't taken the time to learn for myself that there were alternatives to fundamental Christianity, I'd be an atheist now. I got pretty close to it before I discovered there were such things as reasonable Christians.
Reasonable Christians don't care that you've been divorced other than to regret the pain it must have caused you. Reasonable Christians don't care that you had an abortion when you were a young unwed mother other than to sympathize with the burden of that decision you've had to deal with. Reasonable Christians don't care that you are a homosexual man living with a male partner other than to recognize that you're a child of God just as you are.
But somewhere along the line, fundamental Christians lost track of what Christianity is all about. They lost track of the fact that the word "gospel" means "good news" and they long ago started spreading the bad news that, as they see it, God is an angry old man who is taking names and kicking asses into Hell for any reason he can find to do so.
Somewhere along the line, fundamental Christians quit seeing themselves as sinners; and in their own minds became God's helpers. They help God identify the people that need to go to Hell, the people who perform abortions, the people who prescribe or use birth control measures, the people who are homosexuals, the people who don't go to church or go to the right church or the people who don't call God by the right name.
Fortunately, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is still there to be found by those who will find it. It's in many verses in the Bible and it's in many lives of people I personally know. One of my favorite descriptions of the Grace of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in Romans Chapter 8, verses 38 - 39:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.To me "anything" means "nothin at all" can separate any one of us from the love of God, nothing in heaven, nothing on earth, nothing in all creation, not even your bisexuality or your homosexuality. Some Christians won't tell you that. I'm a Christian just did. It's not just my idea, I hear it every single Sunday in the Methodist Church I attend. It's in the book (though not that all things in the book are true or apply to me and you or any of us).
|As it turns out God actually hates small-minded bigoted, blind fanatics!|
It's a great cartoon and it made me laugh because I personally know some of these (self described) Christians, the ones who think you're going to Hell because you're a Fag. I think it would be the irony of all ironies if these Christians were in fact met not by St. Peter at the pearly gates, but by the Devil himself at the gates of Hell.
But that's just the human side of me. The reasonable Christian part of me knows that (fortunately for fundamental Christians) God does not hate anyone. In fact God loves everyone just as they are. I sincerely doubt that homosexuality is a sin in and of itself. But whatever our sin, (and we all have em) it is not only forgiven, but forgotten by God because He simply loves each of us too much to let our human shortcomings get in the way. That is the true Gospel of Christ. That is the real good news. God does not have a book. He's not taking names and kicking asses into Hell.
And just to cover all the bases, what if you're an atheist? Well, I can't blame you for the opinion. If all I knew were fundamental Christians I'd be an atheist too. But what if you're right? What if there is no God. Well, we can't know that for sure can we? You simply have an opinion, a belief that there isn't. Maybe you hope there isn't. If you're right, you die and you cease to exist. You rest eternally in the oblivion of death. I can think of worse things.
What if you're wrong? What if there is God? Well, we can't really know can we? It's a matter of faith, not proven fact. But if there is God, the good news from Romans says nothing can separate you from the love of God, not even your atheism! So, either way, it doesn't matter, God understands how difficult it is to believe in the absence of solid evidence. He understands how hard it is to sustain faith in a word that seems to be going to Hell. So he loves you anyway.
That, my bisexual and homosexual friends is all you really need to know about Christianity in plain and simple words that are understandable to everyone. I guess I could call it "Christianity for Dummies" but that wouldn't be very nice, and after all Christians themselves have been arguing about this for 2000 years now. How could you be considered a dummy for not figuring it all out in your short life time?
Now, the fact that they are plain and simple words and understandable to everyone does not mean everyone believes them. Even the fundamental Christians that say every word in the Bible is true don't like this simple little message. You see, this simple little message puts them in a box because it conflicts with other words in the Bible that appeal to them more.
Fact is fundamental Christians kind of like the idea of an angry old man God who is taking names and kicking asses into Hell. After all they sacrifice to live a Godly life. Those asses that belong in Hell can't be loved by God as much as they are. Really now, they are in church every Sunday. Some of these people God hates have never set foot in church. They belong in Hell!
Only problem is, that's not what it says in Romans Chapter 8. Maybe its just my eternal optimism, but given a conflict between no God at all and a loving God that loves us no matter what, I'll choose to believe in that all loving God. Given a conflict between a loving God that loves us no matter what and an angry old man God that is taking names and kicking asses into Hell, I'll take the loving God. After all He is described right there in the Book in the 8th chapter of Romans. I didn't see an "if," "but," or "unless" in that verse at all although the fundamental people, as the sinners they don't see themselves to be and the helpers of God they do see themselves to be, have added those ifs, buts and unlesses right in there just to help God out.
Fact is no matter what, God loves you! Never forget it. In fact, give it some thought. It might change your life.