Friday, 19 June 2009

Following Jesus

I often think about my faith.

I came to believe in the Christian God aged 8, having experienced something "other-worldly" on a school trip to a local church. Having experienced this odd feeling, I reasoned that it happened in a church (that I had been in many times before) so, perhaps going to a church would provide the answer. To cut a long story very short - I became a Christian.

That was eighteen years ago. In the last year, I have really been struggling with what it means to follow Jesus Christ. I have been looking at the church and seeing mass hypocrisy. I have seen rich people backing up their ideal of "good behaviour". I have seen poor people find a crutch to lean on. I have seen lots of people happy to join a "club" and try everything they can to get others to join this "club". What I haven't seen much of is the real problems in the world tackled by the people that should be tackling them.

There is a quote on the latest Delirious album which simply states:
"If it's not acceptable in the kingdom of heaven, then it's not acceptable here."
How many Christians believe this? Let me ask you this question (and "being a Christian" has no moral leverage here) - "What are you doing to change the sorry state of this world?"

The only thing I would say to Christians is that we have no excuse to do nothing. The good news we have isn't just a "social gospel" - but (among other things) it is a social gospel.

There are people in this world that need help. What are you actually doing for them?

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Atheism defined!

I have to admit, this quote found from Atheist Tool Box did make me chuckle slightly:

"Unlike Religion, Atheists do not have to agree on all issues and share similar agendas. Atheists can be conservative or liberal, capitalist or communist, republican or democrat, black or white, male or female. Some Atheists are completely neutral in regards to religion and it's place in society, whilst other Atheists do have certain agendas. Some of the more common Atheistic agendas include the separation of church and state and the teaching of evolution in our school systems. It must be said however that these are individual groups within the Atheist community and in no way represent the Atheist community as a whole."

As far as I am aware, Christians do not agree on all issues. We have conservative Christians, and liberal Christians, capitalist Christians, communist Christians, Republicans, Democrats... there have even been some black and white Christians... I'm sure I've met both male and female Christians also...

I also have to giggle at this quote,
"It must be said however that these are individual groups within the Atheist community and in no way represent the Atheist community as a whole."
- well, that never applies to Christian groups...

It really annoys me that such things as this exist. And they exist on all sides of the arguement. When Christians act as if Atheists are, in some way, worse than they are it makes me cringe. Well, they're Atheists! Surely they are just... um... wrong! - Well, no actually. Similarly, when certain atheists (not representing the Atheist community as a whole, of course) make statements like the above, it also makes me cringe.

I doubt it will happen, but I long for some decent, respectful dialogue. While there are extremists and "anonymous extremists" (i.e. people who are unaware they are extremists) on every side of the debate, respectful dialogue seems unlikely. While so many Christians still use very dodgy (and often downright terrible) science to "prove" their agenda, and while so many Atheists see the religious as silly and unable to offer anything to a debate that has already (in their minds) been sealed - the future looks bleak.

I still live with hope that both groups will one day learn to not vilify the other, see them first as fellow human beings, and enter into what could be a very enlightening debate.

I am aware that my sarcasm is probably not helping my cause here, but the quote was so bizarre I couldn't just let it pass. I apologise.