Monday, September 11, 2006

View on Religion

Can’t have a philosophy blog that doesn’t address religion at some point, right? Not a proper one, at least, I guess. As most people reading this probably know, I personally am Christian. To me though, this should not be the cause of any sort of division between myself and others. Of course, a key part of Christianity is the Great Commission that the followers of Jesus should go out and spread His message. But I think it’s key for Christians to realize this means spreading the Christian way of living and has nothing to do with spreading the Christian set of beliefs. We should be concerned only with getting people to live in a Christ-like way; not with getting people to call themselves Christians.

“I gave up my religious convictions and practices because I just didn’t want to participate in any division of the human race, whether religious or political.”Erich Fromm (psychologist and author)

“Religious people in general are so discriminatory against other people, and that really disturbs me. My idea of religion is we all love and respect.” - Charles Barkley (former NBA star and future governor of Alabama hopeful)

What is the fundamental truth of Christianity? Is it our belief that 2000 years ago Jesus Christ was crucified and came back to life? I would say no. We may believe this is the historical truth as it is part of our tradition, and we believe strongly in the message this story tells us about life, but it is no more valid as a religious conviction than the traditional beliefs of other religions. Nothing about Christianity should ever be used to separate or further divide humanity.

"The true division of humanity is between those who live in light and those who live in darkness. Our aim must be to diminish the number of the latter and increase the number of the former." - Victor Hugo

Yes, as a Christian I believe that there are those who are saved and those who are lost, but this distinction should never be used to create barriers between people. It doesn’t help people to tell them “you have to live up to this group’s demands in order to be saved.” That doesn’t save; that either brainwashes or turns people away.

The fundamental truth of Christianity has nothing to do with some historical event. The fundamental truth of Christianity has to do with how we live our lives today. Not what actions we do, but how we approach life, how those actions are motivated. Christianity teaches that motivation should come from loving God and loving our neighbor as ourself. The fundamental message is that people should find their place within the Body of Christ. I believe this has everything to do with how people live, and nothing to do with what traditions they belong to. I see nothing that should prevent this fundamental message from being open to people with ALL kinds of traditional beliefs.

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