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Blind Chihuahua


More to religion
than pleasing
your imaginary friend

Christians wouldn't welcome someone like me into their Church.

That depends on which Christians. Have you ever walked into a church whose members were a different color than you? Blending in is not always an option during what Martin Luther King called "the most segregated hour in America." But in general, the more authentically Christian the congregation, the more welcome you will find yourself. And remember, most Christian churches wouldn't welcome the historical Jesus either, but we're trying to get better about that.

Christianity is just a cult like any other.

Christianity began as the quintessential anti-cult. Consider that cults usually wind up killing their followers and their opponents. Christianity began with outsiders killing the leader. The followers were neither homicidal nor suicidal, nor were they asked to be. They were emboldened with a miraculous courage to proclaim the Truth as they understood it. Christianity really is about getting in touch with God, not rallying around a psychopath (which is what cults are about).

I can be a Christian without attending Church.

From its beginning, Church has always been understood as community. Even ascetic hermits who meditated alone for years had their influence on the unfolding Church. In other words, if you are called to Christianity, you are called to make yourself known to the Church and the Church to you.

Modern day Christians are mostly Televangelists and their viewers.

Hardly. When my pastor was asked about Televangelism, he replied, "When was the last time a TV screen handed you the wine and the wafer (the elements of the Eucharist or Holy Communion)?"

I can be "spiritual" without being "religious."

Without a normative tradition to stand for or against, you can engage in what Bellah, et al. in Habits of the Heart, called Sheilaism. Sheilaism a hyper-individualistic "my-way" of dealing with one's religious impulses, named for a woman whom the authors interviewed. As such, it does not build institutions that shape societies, which is one of the functions of religion, but it may tear them down, which would be a demonic perversion of religion. In other words, your individualistic faith will do nothing for your world. Even Jesus stood in relation to the normative tradition of his day.

Christianity is not relevant to a technological world.

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indespensable supports....Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintaned without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of the religious principle." — George Washington's farewell address.

There is not one mention of technology in that statement, which remains as true today as when Washington spoke it over two centuries ago. In other words, technology is not relevant to the human need for religion.

All Christians are hypocrites.

So? Do you know of any religion or ethical system whose adherents are not hypocrites to some extent? At least Christianity recognizes this and makes room for it with the doctrine of the Forgiveness of Sin.

Christians can't let themselves have any fun.

Yeah, right. Like we never have any fun here. A humorless faith is an idolatrous faith. If it ain't ever any fun, its probably a foul fantasy.

All Christians are conservative.

Actually, the dominant movements in world Christianity are liberal, like the World Council of Churches. Christians come in all political persuasions. Just pick a congregation in tune with where you are now, and enjoy.

Religion is a sham for the weak-minded.

It's not a sham. It is a constructive way of living with our religious impulses. Basically, religion is for those of us who can't get along without God. Of course our minds are weak, compared to say, God's Mind. So are our bodies and our souls. We participate in religion to connect with our source of strength.

There is no hard evidence for Christianity or any religion.

So... You are convinced without proof that empirical evidence is necessary for you to believe in, or trust in, anything. How long have you had this delusion? How long have you denied all the things you do accept without proof just to get through each day? In our world, the world God gave to us, we live by proof. In God's World, the world to come, we live by faith. It is our job to live in both worlds at once. Trust me, it takes a some common sense.

So much for the via negativa.

This was inspired by a similarly titled piece by Gary Kumfert, Trinity Lutheran Church, Pleasanton, CA.