Thursday, September 23, 2010


I wasn't sure what I was going to write about this evening until I was surfing the Cheezburger network in my boredom and came across this little gem:

After I stopped my hysterical laughter, I did sober up just a little bit because I have so thought this of my fellow Christians on more than one occasion.

Call me weird but the following concepts are the principles by which I try to govern my relationships when dealing other people who do not believe or think as I do (you are welcome to disagree with me but this is my opinion):

1. "We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what they may." Articles of Faith 1:11

I take the freedom of religion clause very seriously. I might find it strange if you want to worship the Holy Cow Pie, but if you're sincere then more power to ya. Likewise if you want to worship nothing have fun. This is what I believe. You don't have to believe it but I would ask you show a modicum of respect for me and my beliefs just as I will do for you.

2. I've tried for years to find a nicer way to state this one but can't get it any clearer with out getting extremely verbose: "Hate the sin, not the sinner." Its my belief that I'm supposed to "love my neighbor as myself" and that "my neighbor" includes everybody - not just the people who look and act like me and I don't think I can love anybody while ostracizing/hating/ridiculing them.

However, you'll note that I'm not saying that I agree with you and think everything you're doing is just hunky dory. I might think that it is very wrong, and I will express that if asked. But provided what ever the "sin" is  doesn't constitute a direct threat to the health and safety of others, I also think that its between you and your Heavenly Father and is none of my business. My job is to love others.

So with those two concepts in mind I am saddened that "Christianity" has come to have such a strongly negative connotation in many circles. I believe it was Ghandi who once said something to the effect of "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." It saddens me that "Christianity" has almost become a byword for "hateful" and "intolerant", since to me and my understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ we should be the most loving and charitable group out there.

I'm not saying that every person who calls themselves "Christian" is bad. Far, far from it. But there seems to be a significant movement that makes it on to the news on a fairly regular basis by being outright hateful and claiming their motivation to such is their belief in Christ.

And right here is where I have to be careful because I, myself start to fall into the hole of "Well I don't know what scripture you're reading b/c you're wrong" and I can very easily go get super judgmental myself. Even these people, who from my perspective are the antithesis of what they claim to represent, are allowed to feel the way they do. I guess I just wish they could be a smidgen more respectful.

And on the flip side of this whole conversation - I dislike the haters that claim to be Christian, but I also dislike the way that the backlash to that group has affected all of Christianity. Its almost not okay to be a Christian. People can respect and revere every other belief system (or lack there of) but Christianity should be ostracized.

From a "Freedom of Religion" stand point, no I don't think you should have organized, mandatory prayer in schools, but I do think a "moment of silence" is absolutely okay. I think, in fact, its an excellent compromise. If you desire to pray you can, if you desire to think "I hate potatoes" thats good too. I think as long as everybody is quiet and respectful of others its an excellent opportunity to allow others to worship or not as they chose.

The other classic example of this back lash is the way its been non politically correct for several years now to wish a person a "Merry Christmas". I, for one, am happy to be wished a "Happy Chanukah", a "Merry Kwanza", a "Happy Solstice" or "Merry Winter Festival" or whatever makes you happy. I appreciate the sentiment of wishing me tidings of good cheer and happiness. When I wish a person a "Merry Christmas" I am attempting to express affection, good feelings and happy thoughts. At no point have I ever considered it to be a command, or in any way an attempt to force my beliefs on a person.

Maybe somebody some where means it maliciously but I don't. And I'm sorry if you get sick of red and green every where for a month or so but please by all means retaliate in good cheer and paint yourself blue and white, or black or red/yellow/green or aquamarine for all I care.

Its something that means very much to me, that evokes happy, happy memories from my childhood. So please, don't take offense when I wish you a "Merry Christmas". I have the right to celebrate how I chose, and so do you. Feel free to tell me "Bah humbug!" Just kindly, don't throw anything. :)

1 comment:

  1. I feel sad when I am in some Christian circles and because I do not believe exactly like they do, they tell me I am not a Christian. I believe Christ is my Savior therefore I feel I qualify. I hope that I am more open to others. I like your desire for mutual respect. You have a great way of expressing this idea. Hurray for Merry Christmas. I like saying it too.