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Benjamin-Newton Really Mobile: How Christianity Can Be Misleading
The Main Problem
To many outside observers, Christianity appears to be a social group, for political conservatives, to push a 1930-1950s AD idea of American culture, throughout the world, and to ban homosexuality. Surprisingly, the Bible never mentions America, gun rights, or capitalism/imperialism. Islam has some very shocking similarities to Christianity. If there was no Judaism or Christianity, there would likely be no Islam.
This is not exclusive to Christians; it is more of a generational thing. Kids today are not raised in a way, that adequately prepares them, to get high paying jobs and have the ability to survive, on their own, responsibly, when they turn 18. I don't believe this is what most Christians believe.
A Better Christian Strategy
It is however how Christians are often portrayed, in the media and in politics. I think the problem, on the part of Christians, is more one of strategy and adapting, to a very different world, than the one my parents grew up in. The theology is the one thing, that should never change.
All Christians, both young and mature, as well as unbelievers, need to understand that it is not easy for anyone to become Christian. Submitting yourself to Jesus Christ is only the start of a long and difficult process. Instead of going for huge numbers of Christians or trying to make the rest of the world follow our laws and worldview, we need to instead really put all our effort into fighting, for each seeker (person interested in Christianity). We are not going to get genuine faith and long term commitment, by arguing theology we learned in church, or proving our take on theology.
We do not worship theology and having correct theology (beyond the basics) is not necessary to understand, in order for God to provide your salvation. Homosexuality is the issue that the media and major political groups want to be the focus of the religion discussion. Christians need to be smarter strategically and change the conversation, to what they find most important. Mormons and Muslims are not fans of homosexuality, yet that is not how their religions are being defined, by the media.
Spiritual World Changes
It is bad news, for the Church, that feminism has become mainstream, but science fiction and the spiritual world have become mainstream, as well. The next generation does not hate Christianity; they know nothing about it. We no longer need to fight bad theology; we can start on a clean slate.
Christians need not be afraid of the spiritual world and evangelism is much more effective historically amongst pagans, than it has been among atheists or Muslims. Once people are aware of the spiritual world, the Christian worldview makes a lot of sense. If we are willing to put Christmas trees in churches and have easter egg hunts as church activities, both of which are pagan rituals, we can surely embrace Halloween and make it Christian.
Issue of Homosexuality
This issue of homosexuality has become a mainstream issue, for a number of reasons (It solves many leaders problems). The rich and powerful can keep the conservatives and liberals at each others throats, while wealthy businessmen, that don't care about social issues, take even more money, from average Americans. There are something like 65 people, who now which control 1/2 of the world's money. Businesses are struggling, to find new markets, to expand into, new products to sell, and new people to sell to and gay people (statistically) do well financially.
There is a trend, on making what are called "victimless crimes" legal, like drugs and gambling. Furthermore, many people see this struggle as an extension of civil rights. In the academic world, the study of gender, feminism, women studies, and sexuality in general all are becoming entire areas of study, on the same level as history or philosophy, in the humanities. This is likely a bid to make the humanities seem more relevant to young people.
The reason it happened now is that it is currently socially acceptable. It is socially acceptable, because there are slightly more people that are pro homosexual, than those who are anti homosexual. This social change just happened, in the last few years, and will likely continue in that direction, indefinitely.
Difficulty of Being Christian
The big lie about Christianity is that there is a huge emphasis, on the first decision you make, to be a Christian is thought, to be the key to salvation. Choice though is a key aspect of salvation. But faith is obedience, rather then simply acknowledging what is real and it is difficult, because you have to make the same choice, day in and day out. I had a plaque from a famous writer – I think Anton Chekov - that said something like: "Any idiot can survive a crisis; Its the day to day living that really wears you down".
Christianity, like marriage is hard work, if you want to keep it healthy. In Christianity, the way you think needs to be changed, for you to really change who you are. Instead of asking yourself what is the bare minimum needed to be saved, but rather now that I am saved, what can I do to serve Him who saved me and bring this same salvation to others suffering without it.
Christianity is more of a process than an outcome. It is not an epic journey like in the Lord of the Rings. It shares more in common in what living with the technology of the Shire would be like. The fancy magic of the elves may seem enticing, but that was what got them into trouble. Living with sin and trials is like living, without indoor plumbing and electricity, in the contemporary world. Living off the grid is the level of difference and the level of difficulty, that living in this world, as the Bible tell us to, is.
It is all exciting in the church service one a week and you will be excited and supported and you will agree to almost anything. But Monday will roll around real quick and you can barely make it past waking up, without making bad choices. The big impediment to people improving their lives is that they are so busy and distracted, that they don't have time to think or reflect. The luxury today is in not having a smartphone.
One of the things that helps you make better decisions is time. Experiences over your lifetime, experiences you have heard about others, time reading, time sleeping, time exercising, time eating healthy, time spent with family and friends, time relaxing, time listening to God, and the time you think through what to do next are all about making time for what is most important. That is the point of the Sabbath. So, while you can be technically assured of eternal salvation, in a minute, it usually take both half a lifetime to reach that decision and the other half of your life, to live that decision.
We all have different situations in life. Some, like me being born in America, is like winning the lottery, whereas being the part of the 1% of the population that has Schizophrenia makes my life extremely difficult. I always say everything is going well for me except the Schizophrenia. I think being blind, in a wheelchair, and homeless (at the same time) would probably be a happier and less disabling life than having Schizophrenia.
Significance of Being Christian
Being a Christian is a serious commitment, much more serious than your choice of marriage partner, whether or not to have kids, where to go to college, where to live, how to invest your money, or anything else in life. Christianity comes at a high price (your pride: you will never be able to say this again: "I did this all by myself"). What Christianity can give you that nothing else will is eternity, not just eternal life, but eternal purpose, in this life. Becoming Christian means that God has chosen you and invited you to find out more about Him and spend time with Him, one on one, with His undivided attention.
What does Christianity bring to the world? We were unwilling to choose God or even be decent people, so God did everything, to make us part of His family. You don't choose God. God chooses you. Everyone will get the opportunity, at least once in life, but you may only have one chance.
We spend our entire lives documenting our lives. Make regular time to actually live your life and make time for God: He has created everything for you. Just like there is more to writing than grammar, and there is more to learning from books than just buying them and not reading them, salvation is not a one time decision. It is always easier to solve someone else's problems than our own; our problems do not arise from a lack of knowledge, but, rather from lack of discipline and motivation.
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