Before I go into the subject matter of today’s post, I want to explain something. I’ve been writing about Christianity because I grew up in that milieu. It’s what I know best, religion-wise. I’m not intentionally aiming at any certain belief system, it’s just that this is the one I’ve tried, to no avail at this point, to make sense of due to my background. I say that in the hopes that Christians will understand why it has been the subject of choice. Yes, it is a bit of a rebellion and an attempt to rewire the thought process that time and repetition has taught my brain. A rebellion against the whole idea of a god in charge of everything. I am drawn to the Christian view of the subject because it’s what I was taught to believe while growing up. I imagine if I grew up Jewish, Muslim, Taoist, or Druid, that would be my focus. Alas, none of those were the case. I grew up Christian. Therefore, I talk and write about Christianity. With that said, off we go.
Watching our nation’s political system in action recently, something has been bothering me. Something has been bothering me quite a bit. What this is is the fact that I live in a nation where most people, it seems, say they believe a certain belief, yet live a life that doesn’t parallel the system they say they claim to believe in. Not even close. Quite often they vehemently lobby against the edicts of their belief. Now, I understand that humans are fallible, and that being Christian doesn’t mean being perfect. I understand that very much, in fact. If you have read previous posts, you’ve seen I’ve admitted that many times. It has been one of the focal points of my argument against the existence of God. But the actions I see show that there are very few people that are trying, truly trying to align their lives with the teachings of the Bible. Yet we have a popularly accepted idea that we are a Christian country. Unfortunately, living in the comfort of our modern world, especially in our country which thrives on capitalism, it’s very hard not to live well beyond what we truly need. That alone goes against what the Bible teaches.
Now, sometimes being an outsider, as I have become regarding Christianity, let’s you see things differently. You can step back, and see the forest and the trees. Just as Christians can look at other religions in the most basic terms, I can now look at Christianity in it’s most basic form. I can simply look at what is written. What the words, or “The Word” if you want to take it to extremes, say. It’s one mistake I think most believers make, forgetting that they are simply reading the words of other religions, and not living within the religion. They are looking at them from an outsider’s perspective. You can see what is wrong with it more easily. Like how easy it is to see that someone else is in a bad relationship, and yet you may not see that you are in an even worse one. In that light, after reading the Bible in a few of it’s different versions, I see that most people who call themselves Christian in our country aren’t really trying very hard to follow the teachings of Christ. Excuses are made. Rationalizations are contrived. Adaptation, and personal opinion is injected into their lives to make them feel better about the fact that, if you take the words for the meaning that they have, they don’t live the lives that their God wrote the rules for. They live well beyond what they need. And I do mean need. Anything more than need, in the Christian faith, is greed. To support this idea, I will take a quote from C. S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity”.
“If our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small.”
Do you understand the gravity of that? Do you get what he means by that? That means that everybody who has more than he can spend to live a comfortable, humble life, probably isn’t doing what God and Jesus says they should be doing according to the Bible. According to “God’s Word”. And Lewis himself, being a very successful writer, fell into this trap more than most who are reading this.
Example: Owning a cell phone goes against that idea. Now, I know many people will bring up the argument of, “These days you can’t conduct business. You can’t connect to your customers. You can’t easily keep in touch with your family without one.” The argument that somehow, God understands that times have changed, and His word should change with it. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you believe the Bible actually is the word of God, then you are taught that His word is timeless. The times should adapt to His word, rather than the other way around. Anyone who owns a cell phone, a flat screen T.V., or a computer, luxuries that we don’t actually need, but have just become accustomed to, is going against Jesus’s teachings. Understand that’s not my opinion. That’s not me judging others. That’s simply what His teachings lay out in relatively plain words. If you have more than you need, you aren’t following what the Christian doctrine asks of you. That is the realization that made me stop calling myself a Christian. I realized, due to how we are conditioned to live in our modern world, I wasn’t truly trying to be Christian. I didn’t want to. I liked the comforts of my life, as most of us do. I had worked hard to achieve the level of comfort I had, and knew I would continue to try to better my comfort level. That’s not why I came to the determination that there was no God. Those were other reasons all together. I hope you understand that. It’s simply why, at that time, I realized I shouldn’t be calling myself a Christian. I wasn’t trying to be Christian. Not anywhere near to the point that the Bible asks of me.
I’m hoping that people understand that this post isn’t a debate about whether or not God actually exists. This is simply an observation that, according to the Bible (and I know I’ve drilled those words “according to the Bible” into many of my statements here, but it’s because I feel the need to remind everyone that it isn’t my take on it. It’s simply a fact.) people in our country aren’t trying very hard to truly be Christian. If they were, we wouldn’t have so much trouble convincing the rich and ruling population of our great nation that they should be helping people in need. We wouldn’t have hospitals that refuse aid to people who don’t have insurance, while the doctors drive home in their fancy cars to their fancy homes. We wouldn’t have to remind people that they are fortunate to not have to worry about how they will pay their next month’s worth of bills, or worry about how they are going to earn the money to feed their sons and daughters, or worry about how they are going to find the cash to keep their car running so they can get to work. The wealthy would willingly give to those in need. We wouldn’t have the debate of whether or not government should decide how to distribute the excess personal wealth of our country. Our fellow Americans would be doing that on their own. Our wealthy not only don’t want to part with the abundance they have, they want more. With the fact that the wealthy run our country (And make no doubt about it, the wealthy run our country), we are not a Christian country. Our actions, as a nation, prove that. Our country does not practice Christian ideals. It does not take a Christian stance. I think that people who consider this country Christian are even more misguided than those who very happily and willingly live beyond their needs and continue to convince themselves that they are trying their best to be Christian. I’ts an untruth, by definition. It’s a fantasy world that has been created in people’s minds so that we can legitimize our lifestyles to feel better about the comfort that we live in, while we know there are others that lack, not only comfort, but basic needs.
Please know that I understand that I am one of these people as well. I though, unlike Christians, have the convenience of lack of a belief in a God. I simply believe in the idea that we, as humans, have the control over what each of us does to make the world around us better for those we come in contact with. I don’t believe it’s our duty lain down by some higher power. I simply belive that helping each other makes sense. It simply makes sense. I believe if we don’t start working together, instead of creating more reasons to disagree, we will wipe ourselves off this planet. Whether it happens by accident, or deliberately makes no difference. We now, as a race, have that power to erase Man from this earth. Therefore it’s more important now than it ever has been to realize that we should be helping each other. And make no mistake, if we do eliminate ourselves from the mix, trees will continue grow, rivers will continue to run their paths, and rains will still fall. The Earth will begin the process of covering up all evidence of us ever being here. Even beyond that, comets will continue to streak through the cosmos, planets will continue to circle their suns, and stars will continue to burn pinholes into the night sky. There just won’t be any humans to look at them any longer. That’s how insignificant we are to nature. To think we are so important that we are the only form of life that really matters in the long run, seems insane to me. Nature itself, the process that nourishes us, the situation that makes it possible for us to live on this planet, wouldn’t miss us if we were gone. In fact, it would thrive without us.
I mentioned, at the beginning, that watching the recent election set me thinking and writing on this particular subject. I see our country going to hell in a hand basket while the Democrats and Republican argue over whether the basket should be red or blue, and the Independents and Tea Party movement keep trying to convince us that we need a better basket. Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem like any of them understand that the most important thing right now would be to get out of the basket altogether. Although I don’t subscribe to any particular political party, many people would say I lean heavily to the left. Well, I can’t really argue with that. My ideas line up with the left much more often than with the right. I’m surprised that the country, if it truly considers itself Christian, isn’t more left thinking than it is. From what I have read in the bible, if He had to choose between calling Himself a Democrat or a Republican, I think Jesus would choose the donkey over the elephant.(He reportedly opted for them in the past.) He would be telling the rich and powerful in our country that they not only aught to be living more humbly, and giving the extra that they have to those in need, it’s their duty. Unfortunately, I don’t think He will be showing up. I believe the rich will get richer, the poor will stay poor, and those in control are going to drive this country straight down the road to hell while arguing over what to do with all of their money. Unless things change, this is where we are headed. Unless all the people with sway in our government who call themselves Christian actually start acting like Christians, we will continue down that road. Until the leaders of our nation start being more concerned about making sense rather than making money, we as a nation, will continue this downward spiral. I don’t see them making that change any time soon, though. I just hope I’m gone before we hit bottom, and the rest of the world begins to divide our nation’s land between themselves.