Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Is Christianity weak?
I mean, Jesus came to earth two thousand years ago, right? And he says that he has a message that's bigger than anything in this world. His message is stronger than death itself! And then, he proves it, dying, and coming back. And he tells his followers to have faith, that if they have faith, great wonders, and great power, will open up to them.
Jesus had a powerful message, one that changed the course of history... and yet there are people who think the message is weak, and can no longer win its battles.
Many politically active Christians complain that the schools are not allowed to lead prayers at the beginning of the day, or hold readings from the Bible. But what kind of message is it that needs repetition in the schools, in order to hold on to children's hearts, minds, and spirits? Certainly not a strong one!
(Let's ignore how Jesus said that prayer should be in private, where only you and God know what is said.)
There are battles over monuments to the Ten Commandments, which is doubly ridiculous. First, it suggests that the message holds no power over people unless they are constantly reminded of it. Second, the Ten Commandments are part of Jewish law, and are not binding on non-Jews.
No, I'm not making this up. Look up the Noachide laws on the internet; these are the laws for the "Children of Noah" (i.e.: everyone, except for the Children of Abraham (the Jews)).
Those laws are:
1. Do not murder.
2. Do not steal.
3. Do not worship false gods.
4. Do not be sexually immoral.
5. Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
6. Do not curse God.
7. Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.
Notice that "honor thy father and mother", "keep holy the Lord's day", covetousness, and graven images are completely missing from this list. (So is "do not bear false witness" which strikes me as an odd omission. However, a quick googling suggests that the seventh demands that one establish actual justice, and at least official bearing of false witness (i.e.: giving false testimony) would be prohibited.)
While many Christians consider themselves bound by the Ten Commandments, there is no way to claim that they are a sound basis for secular law, because they aren't, and were never intended to be, laws for everyone.
Christian groups are pushing abstinence only education; they don't feel that their children can handle the temptation of learning to use birth control and avoid disease, because Christian teachings aren't strong enough. (At least, I hope that's the case. They've got no business trying to make such decisions for other people's children.)
Christian groups are trying to fight against the teaching of evolution, because they don't think Christianity is strong enough to survive if science can suggest a good model that makes a lot of sense for how life came about.
It's a damn shame that this is happening, because Christianity is not supposed to be such a weak thing. Jesus said that faith could move mountains! Except... well, that's the problem, isn't it?
To view Christianity as such a weak thing means that one doesn't have any faith in the message. The only reason people would have to fight these battles (other than trying to demonstrate how pious they are, which is something Jesus preaches against!) would be if they don't have faith that the message is enough.
As I've said in other entries, Jesus talks about how to tell the true speakers, the people who truly speak in his name. Look to their fruits, and if they bear good fruit, if they really walk the walk, then you can trust them when they talk the talk.
What kind of fruit is borne by a Christian who has so little faith?