The Beauty & Danger of Religion

Someone pointed out something recently about my blog posts. “Charity, why are all your posts that mention Christianity so skeptic and negative about spiritual things?” If you know me, you know I’m a Christian, and I have a lot of pride in what I believe, in Jesus. He’s honestly the best thing that ever happened to my life. I’m also a skeptic – The reason for which is long, and would probably take a book to explain. I used to “Follow every wind of doctrine” as the bible says not to. I was one of those ‘ultra spiritual’ and I pretty much perfectly followed the rules of the church I went to growing up. It’s a real long story. Gosh. I wouldn’t no where to begin so I will leave that for now. I’ve since learned the importance of balance.

I’ll admit, out of all the disciples, I relate most to Thomas. If you don’t know the story, Thomas was the Disciple who was the last to believe that Jesus had really risen from the dead. Going so far as to say he wouldn’t believe it until he could feel the scars on his hand where the nails were, and feel the gash in His thigh where the spear was thrust. That, that would be me, and I’m okay with that, and I’ll explain why.

Religion can be dangerous. People are always wanting and seeking to believe in more than than themselves, in an afterlife, hold to something. When they find that, whatever it is, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, Buddhism or heck – Even Atheism. You start seeing life through that lens. I think Religion is one of the most beautiful things there is. It’s helped so many people, but it’s also started a lot of wars. Why? Because when people feel that something is for the ultimate good, that God would think one way of life is better than another, they can become consumed by it.

Each religion has it’s issues, if not at the core of the doctrine, than as it evolves people will find something to mess up, and people will give their life for that messed up thing called religion. I don’t need to give examples of how religion influenced killings. I have met some very wonderful Muslim people. I’ve met brilliant atheists who really have surprisingly wholesome lifestyle. I’ve also met wonderful Christians and Catholics who are shining lights who seem to really share that love of Jesus with everyone they meet. I’ve also met Christians who are biased, proud, hypocrites who are akin to the pharisees of Jesus’s day. I do believe I would have fit in that category before, and maybe I still sometimes do. Each Religion has it’s pitfalls.

Religion really makes you do stuff. It can give you a purpose in life, and if you think something is related to your faith you get a little blind. It’s easy to get caught up in the Christian culture, or little sects of religion that branch out from Christianity.  

For awhile there I wished I could revert back to my Christian naivety, but I don’t wish that anymore. The reason I haven’t been posting about how good Christianity is, is because, to be 100% real, I don’t think it’s that great. Nor any of these other religions or ‘non-religions’ I’ve looked into. I believe in what  started Christianity. I believe in the Jewish carpenter from Nazareth who healed the sick, showed love to the outcasts, humbled the proud and died for the sins of the world and rose on the third day. That is my foundation for belief. People can use Jesus’s name to give their teachings credit, but Jesus’s name shouldn’t be used like a trusted brand name. As much as we want to have words for our day and read more and more out of the Bible, what we’ve got is what we’ve got. We can interpret, misconstrue, and blow out of proportion all we want but in the end what we’ve got is a beautiful ancient, sometimes wild history book.

It’s important to believe in something, but you can’t believe in everything. I believe in Jesus, but some parts of the Bible were written for the people of the time. The old testament is a history that sometimes sounds like something from Game of Thrones – what with all the risque scenes and murders and such. The New testament is a history of Jesus’s time on this earth and letters to the early church’s that sprung up after Jesus had ascended. I’ll be honest, if you’ve got the knack for it, you can use the Bible to back up any kind of viewpoint by taking something out of context. That’s why you’ve got to be careful.

Don’t believe me? If you’ve read the Bible cover to cover you’ll know it’s a big book, but do you know how big? The Bible has 1,189 chapters, and 31,102 verses verses. (No I didn’t memorize that, who do you think I am? It was a Google search) That is a lot to pick from. Nowadays, people are lazy, a lot of people will believe anything if you put that stamp of religion on it. People will believe the Bible is infallible so when someone spews out a paragraph or two of their own and uses one, out of context scripture to back it up, a lot of Christian’s will nod their head. I won’t be nodding. I’m okay with being a skeptic, because the last thing I want to do, is pretend to have the whole Bible and God’s whole plan figured out – or that somebody else does. We’re not God, and that’s just the way it is. I write these kind of posts because I don’t want everyone to just be lead like sheep to the slaughter, blinded by religion. It’s okay to be a little skeptical, and in the long run, it’ll help you stand on your own two feet, and really figure out what you believe the truth to be, and why you believe it. Okay so maybe not as skeptic as me ;).

Jesus is my anchor. I’ll always come back to him, if other beliefs and doctrines I thought Jesus would have approved of crumble, you know what? It doesn’t change who He is or what He’s done. Jesus is the best thing I know. All the bad in my life, all my stumbling and all the hurt, he forgives and he heals. All the good in my my life, all the morals, standards, kindness, that’s His doing. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Him. I won’t stop being skeptic about a lot of ‘Christian’ labeled things, and I can’t say I’m proud of a lot of stuff Christian churches say. One thing remains; I will always be proud of knowing Jesus, and of my faith, and that’s all I got.

I’m a more pleasant, stable person with religion, I’d say most people are. It gives you a purpose in life and hope for beyond the grave. I’m just asking people to be cautious, and examine your faith. Because just as it can change you for the better, it can also change you for the worse and you’ll be thinking it’s for the better. It can give you wisdom, but it can also close your mind. It can draw people together, but it can also separate them.

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