It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spend a lot of time wandering around the blogosphere looking at websites like Patheos that talk about issues in Christianity. Generally my feeling is that people are entitled to believe what they want as long as they are not hurting anyone. So I don’t care whether someone is Christian or if they believe in the Great Pumpkin as long as they respect other people’s rights. I am not of course saying that Christianity is comparable to believing in the Great Pumpkin but there is a parallel there in that what seems perfectly logical to one person may not be to another.

I will say that my own personal view is that God does not belong to any particular religion. So yes I do believe in God and yes I do think that there are useful lessons in the Bible.  And I believe that the purist teaching in the Bible is what Jesus said, love God and love others as yourself.

Everything else is window dressing.

I suppose a lot of people would choke on that. What about Jesus being the Son of God? What about eternal salvation? This of course being the central doctrine of Christianity. Or is it?

I don’t deny that the Bible says these things, although it can be argued that we can’t say for sure that Jesus considered himself to be the Son of God.  However, in practical terms I don’t see this as the basis of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus’ teachings mainly had to do with how we relate to God and others. And the Bible says he who loves knows God.

I think a lot of Christians have forgotten that.

How important is the doctrine of salvation when you treat your neighbor like crap? Is it really important to argue about predestination, or salvation by works or by faith?

A case can be made for many interpretations of the Bible, which is why we have 30,000 denominations of Christianity. While a lot of them have enough in common theologically that they wouldn’t differ much from each other, many don’t agree on much at all.

AND YET EACH ONE BELIEVES THEY ARE RIGHT.

I find it odd that the conservative Christians are blaming the liberal Christians for the mass exodus of people leaving the churches. From where I stand it is the uncompromising rigidity and argumentativeness of the conservatives that alienate others from Christianity. It is the insistence that everyone has to agree on every point theologically. In other words “MY GOD IS BETTER THAN YOUR GOD.”

Actually it is often more like, “MY GOD IS THE REAL GOD AND YOURS IS THE DEVIL”.

Where exactly did we get the idea that we can OWN God?

One of the arguments that is often used to trump another’s position to say that since they have the indwelling “Holy Spirit” that enables them to “know the Mind of God.”  Hmmm, are you sure you aren’t listening to your own ego instead???

What I see in these arguments is an attempt to make God as small and petty as we are. We have the audacity TO TELL GOD WHO HE IS rather than let him reveal himself to us. We focus on the splinter in the other’s eye rather than the log in our own.

This is why I consider dogma to ultimately be irrelevant and in many cases destructive because it only causes us to TAKE OUR EYES AWAY FROM GOD. God wants us to have a relationship WITH HIM, not a book and not a church. The book and the church may be helpful, but these are not the most important things.

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