Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An analogy

When some people talk about Christianity, or any other belief, they give their ignorance away. I don't mean to be too harsh, just get right to the point. People discuss faith as if it was like being part of a club, which has some traditions and rituals, but it doesn't necessarily change your the members' world view. When they're not at a club meeting they simply live like everyone else around them.
This is the analogy that occurs to me. A convinced theist, or believer in God, and a convince atheist are as different as two mathematicians working with different number scales. If you work with a number scale of ten, then four fives equal twenty. If you work with a number scale of five, four fives equal forty. The same data yields a different answer if your analytical thinking framework is different. If a person really believes in the existence of God, then God is a factor in all things, all issues and all equations about life. God is always there and always has to be considered. And God can make the impossible possible. God can, if He chooses turn water into wine. So God has to be remembered in all situations. Someone I once knew said "This has nothing to do with God," when telling someone else what to do. They were quite wrong. It has everything to do with God. The advice they were giving was not in keeping with God's teaching. But they were saying that in the real world you have to be 'practical', by which they meant do whatever worked best, and never mind if it wasn't the Christian thing to do. There is probably a great deal of that. This person called themselves a Christian but left God out of some of their daily decisions in life. God was only for Sundays or for making fine sounding speeches about when they were in the mood. Their faith did not transfer into daily life.
That's not all. Some non-believers, or agnostics, don't understand why Christians get 'hung up' about certain things. They don't see why Christians have to make an issue out of things instead of just fitting in. That is to say, they don't realize how real God and His teachings are to those who really believe.
Even though I personally do not follow the teachings of Judaism, I must respect the right of a Jewish man to wear a yarmulka, if he feels that's important a part of his belief. Some people propose to ban such things in public schools, because the school is supposed to be secular. But a Jew does not stop being Jewish just because they are in a public school.
And a Christian does not stop being a Christian just because it is not Sunday and they are not in church.
That is why they sometimes cannot fit in with the world. Jesus Himself warned His followers of that. They may be rejected and victimised by the world.
In the same vein, some people say the church should 'modernise' to fit in with the community it wants to connect with. That is putting the cart before the horse. The community needs to change to follow the Word's teachings - or else be honest enough to admit that they are not doing so. To say the church has to agree with society is saying that the church has no real beliefs, it just reflects social or political fashion. But some people can't see that because they do not really know what they are talking about when they discuss faith.


Randi Jo :) said...

very true!

Randi Jo :) said...

very true!

Marshall Art said...

Hi Andrew,

This point grabbed me in a couple of ways.

First, that it reflects my own shortcomings as a believer. I do not act the way I intend to act as a Christian man. Though my worldview is indeed based on my faith, my actions do not always reflect that and I do sometimes cave into rationalizations. For example, I don't believe I should work on Sundays, but sometimes do and in this tough economic climate, when I'm working only a part-time job, I struggle over whether I'm rationalizing or having true justifications for doing so. I'd prefer not to be in the situation at all.

I once knew a homosexual who died of AIDS. While he was still alive, I knew he spoke of praying, but I wondered where his head was at regarding the lifestyle that killed him. I wanted to approach him on the subject in hopes of convincing him to repent if he was of a mind that the lifestyle was not sinful. Another person closer to him suggested that then wasn't the time. As his demise was certain, I wondered if there could possibly be a better time. The point is that the other person felt that I should leave God out of it. I regret not going ahead with my plan.

And of course there are a host of stories regarding "progressive" Christian churches and denominations that alter their dogma to fit in with the modern world. I so much reject such false teachers as I believe a great cause of much of the world's ills, and certainly the ills of my country, is due to a lax regard for adhering to the Will of God in favor of bending His Will to fit the lure of the world. Such churches are of the world as well as in it.

I think being practical is being a good Christian. Rather than reject Biblical teaching because it cramps one's style, more people should consider how few problems we'd have if more people would adhere to those teachings. For example, would we have children bearing children if society adhered to Biblical teachings regarding sexual purity? I think not.

Some of your final comments reminds me of an Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) song wherein he sings, "He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sunday."

Andrew Clarke said...

I know what you mean, Marshall. It goes for us all, I believe. St Paul remarked that he was doing what he hated doing, in that he could not be free from sin, only from its damning consequences. Interesting that people reckon the dying man should not be confronted with the truth of God when he was dying. As you say, that's the time he most needed it! The world tries evading the face of God. As Jesus said when He looked down on Jerusalem, and wept....

Farrah said...

I was about to say, "Very true," but Randi Jo beat me to it!

I absolutely agree. We need to fit in with God, not the other way around.

Jenny B. said...

Well said!

Marshall- I love that line by Ian Anderson. It should be a bumper sticker.