Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Cost of Christianity

I haven't blogged about this subject because it causes a lot of consternation and argument--mostly because it's such a personal thing, but I felt I needed to say SOMETHING, if only to try to smooth over ruffled feathers that happen here or there.

I this offends you personally, you can choose to not read it--but please don't get into my face about it. I don't go to your blog and get into your face about your personal beliefs, and I consider this my own venue to rant on things that concern me. This subject is one of the things that concern me personally. It has nothing to do with you or how you might believe.

It does, however, deal with the individual response when the word "Christ" is brought into the picture.

Allow me to expound why this issue has "come up" in my life.

One of the groups I subscribe to on Yahoo knits a dishcloth twice a month. The dishcloths are themed sometimes to either the holiday in that month which the list owner observes, or is seasonally themed. She has that right. She owns the list. She may run it any way she wishes. This month, she is doing a dishcloth that has a Christian Theme, in honor of her beliefs and her holidays that she observes. She is not obligated to create a dishcloth to honor holidays which she does not observe--she is not obligated to create a dishcloth AT ALL. It's her list, she may run it how she chooses. Like it or lump it, as they used to say when I was in high school (believe me, a LONG time ago!).

But for someone to expect her to come up with a dishcloth honoring atheism, hedonism, satanism, agnosticism, Muslim, Jewish or whatever you might be personally is tough rocks for you. If you want dishcloths that are Muslim themed, and object to making a dishcloth that is Christian themed, then either make another cloth from some other list, or create your own list for the "group" that you prefer. Don't clog the list with argument and hard feelings--suggestions are always welcome to cater to the variety of people on the list, but the list owner has the final say, and that's that.

Let me add here, that when the "Darwin Fish" became a topic on the list, I recognized it for what it was. Some folks did not, however, I didn't get into your face about how that suggestion was objectionable to MY belief system. A couple of people asked what it was, and I told them since they asked. Soon, the topic died and things smoothed out. You were not banned from the list because you were an atheist or because you brought your belief system with you. You were accepted into the group and you have benefited from the patterns that have been offered so far--bottom line, grin and bear it.

Frankly, IF the list owner decided that she wanted to do a Darwin Fish themed cloth--I would probably choose to NOT do it. Not because it's offensive to my belief, but because I wouldn't want someone else to come into my house to find it. If atheism were my belief system, I think it would make a good conversation starter, for instance, it would make for some really hot topic at a party--otherwise, it would be "just a dishcloth" in my kitchen drawer. But I don't believe "that way". However, if the list owner decided that this month she created a Muslim cloth, I would probably make that--I don't necessarily subscribe to the Muslim faith, but again, it's not offensive to me any more than a Darwin Fish is. The issue is not so much Christianity versus Atheism, but FAITH versus NO FAITH AT ALL.

Don't get me wrong, I am not slamming you for being an atheist or whatever else you chose to be. I only mentioned a couple of belief systems to try to keep this as short as possible. I don't appreciate you getting in my face to argue your point, any more than you like me getting in your face to argue mine. So let's just call the whole thing off? Let's both try to be bigger than we are--and accept our differences as well as our opinions (which can be valuable only to ourselves)--and just get along with each other and PLAY NICE!

That's what I believe Christianity should be--Playing nice with others. What good does it do to try to reason something out with another person if the other person is not willing to be reasonable? Faith (or no faith) is very like that. It's a personal choice. If you have chosen something based on your belief--who am I to attack that? I am nobody to you. I don't have this "need" to tell you what I am--if you're curious, I'll tell you, but from there, I'm not about to shove anything up your nose, down your throat, in your face--I'm just not that kind of person. I like to think I am a kind, reasonable human being. I have feelings, and I get hurt and angry with people sometimes. That doesn't give me the right to attack somebody, no matter how much I might want to beat you over the head. (grinning)

Not that it has anything to do with it, but you won't see me fly a plane with hundreds of innocent people in it into a building just to prove a point, either. I'm just not made of that sort of stuff, and anybody who is needs their heads examined. September 11 (or 9/11) will forever be a remembered date--not because we understand, but because it was an attack on American soil--we'll remember it the same way we remember Christmas or Easter or our birthday--but not with happy celebration. Frankly, I don't really believe that 9/11 was based on any "religious" fervor--in fact, I don't think it had anything to do with religion at all, regardless of what the media tells us. The fact is those buildings came down just as if there was a professional demolition team working there. So as you can see, I have my doubts.

But the cost of Christianity is high, and the higher your religious fervor, the higher the cost. But really, it is no matter which "religion" (or no religion) you ascribe to, as with any personal choice, you're going to clash somehow with someone--somewhere. There are Christians who disagree with what I believe, and say that I "hide my candle under a basket". Perhaps I do. Does that make me less than what I am? Do I really have to turn into a religious nut to be a human being? Would my God (or higher power or whatever) think less of me for it. I think not.

So, if you have a God, or even if you are your own god, do your part to play nice with others and honor the God (or god) you follow by doing so. Otherwise, you're just spinning your wheels and convincing no one.

Just my own $0.04 (inflation you know?).


Knitted Piper said...

well said, and not offensive at all (to my mind anyway)

Anonymous said...

I respect your freedom of choice, but that's the problem with religion today. Christianity has become a subject that everyone chooses not to discuss because no one wants to ruffle any feathers.thats why the non believers have a much stronger voice. the small few have taken over and squashed the christian voice, not because they out number us but because we choose not to speak our minds. i urge you to start speaking up, declare your side. everyone has the right to choose what they believe but dont let them squash what you believe or stand for. its time for christians to rise up and control our destiny. troy

Tenna Draper said...

I wanted to respond to Troy's statement, hopefully without losing Troy's readership. Thank you for respecting my freedom of choice--that's very admirable of you, and no I'm not being condescending. The problem with religion today is not that Christians don't want to ruffle anybody else's feathers--the problem with religion today is that it's not practiced. We are not to tell other people how they should believe. God is supposed to bring those to us whom HE has called...not the ones WE want converted by hook or by crook. Christianity is a leadership--not a drug to be sold on the corner. It's not the cure all for what ails society, in fact, it causes more trouble than it fixes--I reiterate "the stone that makes men stumble and the rock that makes them fall". It's a choice that you don't make lightly. But it's your choice and mine. Just because we convert someone doesn't bring us closer to heaven's gate. IN FACT, there is nothing we can do, because we are saved by grace, not by works--so no one can boast (about their accomplishments for "God's side".)

In fact, if we ascribe to and practice what is right, then we ARE controlling our destiny. We're just not controlling each other. Big difference, there IMHO.

And what is right?

It's very simple really.

1/5th of the law. Just one fifth!! Because on that 1/5th of those 10 commands given at Mt. Sinai, we only need to follow 2--as the rest hinge on those two, and only on those two.

Love God.
Love each other.

In practice of these two, you are fulfilling the requirements of the entirety of the Law. Not that you have to do it, you just DO IT, but when you fail, you still have the grace that God extends to us, in that "while we were yet sinners" we can still enjoy the bounty and the blessings which that grace bestows on us.

Given that, there really is no need to stand up and control our destiny. Our destiny is already SEALED. It's a GIMME! We're not loving others if we're beating them over the head with meaningless symbolism that we don't practice in our hearts. The word has to be written on the heart. Only God can do that. Even then, so few seeds find fertile soil.

Anonymous said...

Tenna, first let me say Bravo for your comments on love and god. Your right, religion is a huge problem if everyone could follow that 1/5 rule wouldnt that be a great place. The problem is that this world is not made up of God fearing christians, so for us to tell everybody to follow christ's example, i dont think everybody is getting that message. Second my point was that we as christians not beat people over the head to believe what we believe, but rather i appeal to the christians who already believe. Stop letting other groups take away our rights to speak. ie.. prayer in school, in god we trust on money, you get the idea. We start loosing these rights when we dont raise our voice as loud as our opponents. I was just stating dont be a lukewarm christian, speak for what you believe is right. And last i do agree with you a bit on a predetermined destiny for us, except for one thing, you forget one's free will, that changes everything. troy