As someone who never actually identified with religion but grew up with basic understandings of it, I actually felt intimidation when encountering a Christian who started to speak Bible-ese to me. Between that and the selfishness I had encountered while having worked with a handful of Christians and having purchasing my house from an old couple who were in the religious bookmark business who tried to scam $1000 out of me, I came upon a need to understand what all this God and Jesus stuff really was about. An opportunity arose, an invitation from a seemingly nice girl I had played volleyball with on a couple of occasions, and I dove in.
The community aspect was great! The people were friendly. And I had no trouble fitting in, even though I talked of the concepts shared in the sermons in a secular way. I actually kind of miss the community aspect.
I went to one of the men’s meetings and realized that a lot of the guys who were the most serious about Christianity were ones who actually utilized it to pull themselves out of bad situations such as substance abuse. There are definitely teachings in the Bible that are great for helping people set boundaries in their life to separate themselves from their troubles, and the church is already set up as a support system.
I also realized that there were some clear holes in some of the teachings. Most memorably in a sermon about fulfilled prophesy in the Bible, the idea of self-fulfilling prophesy was not even mentioned. Naturally, I asked questions. I did my best to listen thoughtfully. I wanted to understand the whole deal to the best of my abilities. I came out with a good handle on things, especially having been so receptive to learning and plowing through the New Testament in a very short time span. It is a lot to take in, and I now understand why people end up clinging to a more basic understanding of Biblical ideas, namely the ‘rules’ to live by.
I focused more on understanding what Jesus was really all about. I came in under the belief that Jesus was as much God as any one of us. From my understanding, man was created in the image of God. The definition of “image” is “exact likeness”. What that says to me is that we are all one in the same as God. Treat your neighbour as yourself … do to others as you’d have them do to you … makes sense to me. Jesus referred to himself as “son of man”, which fit that idea too. We are all children of mankind. We all have the same potential to do what Jesus did.
From that viewpoint, I think I came to a pretty decent grasp of it all. I’m no longer intimidated by Christians, and I keep an awareness of techniques that are explored within the Bible which I feel have made a positive impact in my life. I also see a need to improve the angle from which the Bible is presented. This is where the inspiration for this blog came from.
As a guy I work with says something along the lines of – what’s the point of Christianity if all you need to do is accept Jesus to be forgiven and go to Heaven? I’ll just do it when I’m about to die.
Is Christianity missing the moral of the story?