Thursday, March 31, 2005

I'm going to use this thing

I have decided I'm actually going to use this blog thing to vent. I'm tired of keeping things in and my friends are tired of me chewing them out for things that other people did or didn't do, or were stupid enough to think. And the subject of my inaugural blog: Christianity and the hatred thereof. I have a lot of friends who are not Christians. I don't want to say that's fine with me, because it's not; however, they have made their choice and it's not up to me to change their minds (those of you who know me know how hard it is for me to accept that). I can only offer what I believe and why, and hope they see things the way I do. My problem comes when I'm told two things: that all Christians are hypocrites and that we are not accepting enough of other's beliefs. Let's look at the first. "All Christians are hypocrites, and I won't go to a church full of hypocrites" I have often been told. That's amazing. Show me almost any group of people who are not hypocrites. Every single group of people I hang out with is chock full of 'em. If anything is different about Christians, it's that we openly talk about our hypocrisy and the same shortcomings in others. People mistake honesty for hatred. I have a news flash for everyone: I am a hypocrite. I have been one my whole life, and I am a horrible one now. I lead a double life. I work at my church, I try to follow God, and I completely act the opposite way a lot of times. Now, since I am honest with myself, I also know that I am trying not to be a hypocrite. I am trying to live that which I believe, I'm just not good at it. But simply because I call out bad behavior in others does not make me condemner. I want to help others get their lives straight, just as I crave other's efforts to help me. That is not hypocrisy, it is not hatred, it is companionship. It the fellowship of travelers who seek a common destination and are willing to support each other on the journey. You thought that was long, wait for this one. I cannot stand it when I am told that I as a Christian have to be more accepting of other's beliefs. I completely reject that statement. I have to do no such thing. I accept nobody's beliefs if they do not agree with me. Now, invariably, you think that I have gone off the deep end and amd full of emnity for all other religions. This is both true and untrue. As a Christian, I accept the fact that some people will not believe what I believe. I have come to grips with this fact. I even respect some people for what they believe and why. But that does not mean that I accept their beliefs. Acceptance of what they believe would mean that I value their beliefs as having the same validity as my own, which they do not. My beliefs clearly place all non-believers outside of the "right" pack. I do not believe that Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Shintos, etc. are just as "right" as I am. I would even say that many who call themselves "Christians" do not believe the same as me and therefore are not "right." Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and noone comes to the Father but by Me." He said this to state unequivocally that if one is to believe in Him, there can be no acceptance of "other ways" to get to Heaven. He is the only way. Now, does this mean that I hate other religions? No! I respect other religions, I simply do not accept their beliefs as correct. Nor do I accept all of my beliefs as correct, for I am constantly trying to test what I believe so that I may know more and know why I believe what I do. My biggest problem with all this is that the very same people who tell me that I must be accepting have, to a person, turned around and hated Christianity. You want to talk about hypocrisy in it's worst form, and this is it. I am told that I must compromise my beliefs to mollify others, and then castigated for believing what I do. What I am told is this: "You must accept my beliefs to be truly Christian, but I do not accept your beliefs because you are a Christian." Can someone explain this? It's asinine. So I have taken to telling people that I will respect their beliefs, but not accept them. I accept only belief in the Lord Jesus the Christ, and on His Word I stand. This does not make me obstinate, just confident in what I believe.