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Faith Compels Skepticism
© 2000 Robert Esau-Rutherford

Written: 26 June 2000

I am sure that the show "The Search for Jesus" could've been more unbiased in their quest for the "truth", but generally speaking the truth is usually skewed by factual evidence portrayed by the people trying to prove their own point of view. Therefore, only the "evidence" to support their viewpoint will be chosen in such a manner as to prove what they are trying to claim. This has always been the forum used in the art of debate!

Christianity has many different levels of belief and denomination. The interpretation and re-interpretation of the Bible alone can be staggering to anyone not solidified in their own belief. I believe in what people could call God, however unconventional this statement may seem. Of course, you may not believe that from what I've written (or will write).

I find it interesting that God's chosen people are the Jews, and yet Judaism faith does not recognize Christ as the Son of God. I find the level of hypocrisy amongst the people of faith to be un-Christ-like as well as un-God-like. For example, the person who falls asleep during a sermon or the teenage boys in the back pew speaking in colorful metaphors of the girl they scored with just the night before. Or how about those who would judge others in religious persecution when even Jesus supposedly said let the person who has not sinned cast the first stone. Or the same religion who's God claims to love everyone and yet families and Churches turn away members of the congregation when children are born out of wedlock or aborted. Do they really disserve excommunication? I don't believe a forgiving God or even a God who loves all his / her children would agree with such an act. I suppose these are extreme examples, but my point is it is easy to find an example to support any particular viewpoint.

Granted, the Christian Faith has many denominational factions, but are all of them the one and only way to God? Some would say no, that the only important common denominator is that each one believes in the Christian God and Christ as the Son of that God. Others would say yes. The Mormons believe only a few will be allowed into Heaven (even if you are a devote follower). Your passage would only be allowed based on basically your number of conversions. How well they spread the word. Mormons also believe that Christ came to America after rising from the grave . . . yeah! What about the religious faction that believes in the handling of snakes combined with the divine intervention of God? Would you let your seven-year-old son or daughter hold a poisonous reptile and dance with it? Would you let them hold the snake in their face and sway with it? Even if you believe that the only perception of religion should be whether or not you believe in the Christian God, there are cases such as the mass suicide at Jonestown in 1978. Because of the extenuating circumstances surrounding the drug use of Jim Jones, investigations into the activities of the People's Temple, and the stigmatic paranoia as a general consensus of the group leaders . . . a great and terrible tragedy was committed. Jim was an ordained minister of Protestant Faith and was acting under the authority of the Christian Church / Disciples of Christ. What about Oral Roberts? In January 1987, Roberts told his television audience that God had appeared to him in 1986 and told him that he must raise eight million dollars in the next 12 months or die! I won't even get into the Jehovah Witness faction. Oh well, isn't the true breakdown of religion that of the Catholic Church verses all the other wrong religions (Protestant).

The true question being, how strong is your faith to handle such queries? Now, I realize anyone still reading this just said to themselves or out loud something to the effect that their faith is very strong, then why do you let such trivial things as a difference of opinion bother you so? Is your faith that shaky?

Why exactly was the Cross chosen to be the embodiment of Christianity? I believe the Cross represents an agonizing torture brought to that land by the Pagan conquerors of Rome! Secondly, we as Humans tend to put tangible substance to our understanding of the World . . . the cross is not representative of his sacrifice . . . it represents his will to allow this torture to happen. The concept is alive, not the tangible cross. After all, aren't we simply supposed to believe in God without a tangible proof? I think it would've made more sense to show the resurrection of Jesus . . . if one needs tangible proof. However, that would be difficult to represent physically and it's also not the issue; most people need visuals to believe in the abstract.

By the way, the concept of many Gods (polytheism) is farther reaching in historical aspect than that of the concept of only one God (monotheism). Christianity was greatly persecuted against by not only the people of Egyptian polytheism (Pharaohs weren't their only God), but that of Roman polytheism as well. In fact, one might say that Christianity was probably considered a cult or small desert, nomadic religion at that time period. This is not to say that faith in only one God was considered a cult or nomadic desert religion . . . just the faith in Christ as the Son of God. A few more proclamations to clear the air: Satanism would be considered monotheistic (there's only one Satan . . . right?), and those who practice witchcraft (Wicca) would be considered polytheistic. Satanism and witchcraft are not synonymous no matter how ignorant the Christianity community remains toward the existence of other faiths than their own.

What about those people who survive an airplane disaster. Seven hundred plus people have died and these handful of survivors have the audacity to claim that God must've had a higher purpose for them . . . yeah, right. What about the other 700+ poor saps . . . you mean to tell me that God just didn't need them anymore. And what would that higher purpose be anyway? To go back to their mundane nine to five job so their fat cat boss can line his / her pockets with more profit. To touch just one more childs' life, because you know little Bobby would have never become that serial killer if Mrs. Johnson never died in that plane crash. Let us drink from the cup of reality for a moment, you survived because you were in the right place at the right time. Let's take this a step further even, you mean to tell me where there's famine, war and disease God saw fit to save a small handful of people from an otherwise agonizing death when there's so much more than their suffering.

Oh, and what about the Right to Lifers who attack and sometimes kill the very Doctors they claim are murdering life. This would certainly be a redundant paradox if I've ever heard of one before and not very Christ-like. The fact remains that this religion which offers parables toward the goodness of mankind, a religion which has suffered so much persecution throughout history has not followed their own teachings to the letter. Christians are one of the first people to persecute in the name of their God; destroy nations and empires because these peoples were deemed heathens; burn people at the stake for their heresy (how about the Salem Witch Trials -- if the person survived the lethal torture they must be a Witch, if they died then the persecutors would be sending a devout follower to the arms of God . . . what a choice); and at different points in history they restricted higher education, ban social interactions such as dancing or musical expression, allowed annulments, limited the length of garments, and so on.

I am relatively sure that there are those who would agree with this article and there are those who countered every perspective with an argument. Perhaps there are even those who are in between the extreme viewpoints and agree with some of the material. This is precisely the point of view this article began with: any argument is preceded with information meant to actualize the individual or group perspective. Facts are easily skewed to present those willing to listen with a persuasive proclamation. There are always two sides to every coin; the duality of misdirection.

I can only hope this did not offend anyone too badly. But if it did, then you too struggle with your faith. Notice, I said, "you too" . . . I struggle just as well and I'm not afraid to admit that. Perhaps my convictions of faith are too interdependent on the interpretations and / or the imperfections of mankind.

One last thought for now, I believe that Christianity must change . . . or die. The fact that Women used to wear clothing from their necks to ankles is a prime example of this. I would like to see the clocks of time turn back to that era (yeah, right . . . not)! And I would almost bet that the majority of Women wouldn't want to see that either!


 

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