Religion is a funny thing in this day and age. Ok, I need to re-phrase that because it does not allow me to wrap my mind around it quite well enough this morning. Religion in our modern, enlightened world now borders on the absurd.
Absurd - Inconsistent with reason or logic or common sense. Incongruous and inviting ridicule. Preposterous.
Again, our society will worship anything or nothing at all. We can base a religion on junk-science, on government, even on celebrities, especially those that have passed on to a celestial dirt nap. A religion is based on faith and a belief in something extraordinary. I’m not simply talking about Christianity when I say that – all religions were started in this manner. Prove me wrong.
I was reading the various news articles on the Fort Hood massacre this morning, and that incident was incredibly appalling. When I first heard the news on the way home from work yesterday afternoon, I’ll admit that my immediate thought was that it would have something to do with Islam or the perpetrator would at least be Islamic. I was right, but that does not give me unlimited capital to bash the religion of the attacker as I write this. They have their faith and belief system and they will answer for it one day. It is the same dilemma, shared by those that worship government, celebrities, or those that choose to bow at the altar of science and technology. Christians are in that mix as well – we will all face a Day of Judgment in the end. There is no use looking for specks when we have a 2” x 4” stuck in our own eye.
In no way am I defending the attacker of Fort Hood yesterday. I think he should be dispatched toward that Day of Judgment as soon as possible. An hour ago would not be soon enough, in my opinion. I'm a military veteran as well, but I digress.
Christians have their own set of difficulties that we will surely answer for. True, I have never seen or read about a Christian that strapped a twenty-pound explosive on his belt and took out a loaded subway train in the name of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. If a Christian entered a crowded market or mall and started shooting while chanting “God is good!” – the media would break their necks in an effort to be the first to report it. Christians are not apt to behead those that will not accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, but are more often than not on the receiving end in those-type situations when they occur on the mission field.
But we have our own issues. We are fractured into too many denominations that share very little in the way of common beliefs. We argue over things like should a priest be allowed to marry, should a woman be a preacher, and should we speak in tongues or not speak in tongues. We have several thousand interpretations of our own Holy Bible with subtle variances in the implied interpretation of key scriptures. We argue whether or not the Old Testament still applies to us, and whether the New Testament leaves out possible alternative paths to salvation. We can’t agree on homosexuals, abortion, or a limit to our involvement in the government process. I found it ludicrous a year or so ago when a debate was launched by a group trying to decide if Jesus would be a Democrat or Republican if He voted today.
The Christian church today more closely mirrors the church at Laodicea mentioned by Jesus in Revelation than at any time in her history. We have become so wrapped up in the world in an effort to fit in and avoid emotional persecution or invite ridicule that we appear to have lost our calling. We have adopted the world’s policy of being ‘politically correct’ with the result that ‘tolerance’ has replaced ‘Thus saith The Lord’ from our own pulpits. As a by-product, our toothless faith cannot lead others because we cannot lead ourselves. By this alone, I know the end is near.
So what can we hold onto as the sands shift within the modern church, when the world spirals in so many different directions and all of them bad? Is there any degree of honest faith left in the world today? Which Christian denomination is the true one – the one that will carry us through the storms that enter our lives?
James wrote: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” I cannot pin my spiritual fortunes on a denomination, a cult, or even the government and science. Instead I can only help those I have the ability to help; those who can’t help themselves. And I must, at all costs, remain unspotted by the things of the world. It is a tall order, but there will be blessings to be gained from living as such.
To find a pure religion is a tall order these days, but at least I now know what to look for.