|A myth vs. truth
||[Jun. 3rd, 2013|07:51 am]
Myth: Christianity is about getting lots of money and always having health insurance and being able to do what you want. Christians admire that nice guy Jesus who said some stuff like "separation of church and state" and "those who are willing to give up essential freedom to obtain temporary safety, deserve neither" and "never offend anyone." God is omni-nice, and therefore (1) would never let anyone go to hell and (2) doesn't exist, because if he did, he wouldn't let anything bad happen.
I don't know if anyone actually believes all this; but some people believe some of it. Yesterday my pastor pointed out that there is a difference between being a Christian and a disciple: a disciple submits to his master's teaching and tries to become like him; a Christian may only admire Christ. Some think the teaching is negotiable.
John 16:33: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
It's hard to quote anyone not saying something, but the quotes above are better attributed to Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and politics respectively. What Jesus is recorded saying:
"My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." (John 18:36)
"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you." (John 15:18)
(Note that Jesus was executed by the Romans at the instigation of the ruling council of that day.)
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" (Matthew 16:24-26)
(Your mileage may vary, but carrying a cross doesn't sound like freedom or safety to me.)
Omni-nice: I made up the word. For hell, see for example the parable of the tares among many others:
"And He said, 'The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. '" (Matthew 13:37-43)
For existing, see Exodus 3:14: "God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM'; and He said, 'Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel: "I AM has sent me to you."'" You could also take a look at the world around you (looks pretty real to me, though it an error to think that the world is God rather than His creation) and consider e.g. Aquinas's five ways or even praying, if you're honest. (If you're not, consider Mr. Wright's testimony and that praying carries substantial risks, from a certain point of view.)
Questions? Comments? Corrections? Further thoughts? Flames? Leave them in the comments.