Sunday, October 18, 2015

Distilled Christianity

So I have this philosophy about getting down to the roots of Christianity.  I'm trying to get rid of all the trappings, all the extra stuff that goes with the belief system that I follow, in order to understand what the core of Christianity really is.  A lot of folks don't understand why, they think I'm taking something away from their belief system, but it's not about that.

People have been muddling up God's creation from almost the very beginning. The first documented proof is Genesis 3:3 when Eve adds the "don't touch" to what God said about the tree they weren't supposed to eat. He didn't say anything about touching, or climbing or rolling around in the fruit of the tree of life.  Heck, according to the word of God, Eve could have picked great quantities of the fruit, made a body mask, and steeped herself in it. Not saying it would have been a good idea, but it would have followed the letter of the law.

Ever since then, people have been trying to put words in God's mouth. They add rules where no rules we given. Some of these rules might even have been good ideas in the beginning, I mean, if it helps you to resist temptation, then don't touch the fruit, just don't misrepresent the self made rules you live by, to God. And I make plenty of rules for myself, it's why I'm not on Facebook. I make rules for my life to help me follow the path I think I'm supposed to follow, but they're my rules, not to be attributed to God nor imposed on others.

The nature of religion is to add trappings, pomp, circumstance, to build an awe of not just God but all the things surrounding Him. I'm not sure why we do this, but I think it might be out of selfishness. By building awe around our belief system we build awe around ourselves. We self elevate, and that by itself is the purest nature of sin, putting self above God. In case you haven't figured it out, I don't really like religion.

I prefer to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe God has had two contracts with humanity. The first, the contract of old testament, was based on rules and sacrifice. It lent itself to pomp and legalism. And it was impossible to live up to. The second contract between God and humanity is all about love and forgiveness. It's about Jesus's sacrifice and redemption of our sins instead of conviction for them. It's about accepting ourselves for who we are, knowing that we're loved by God DESPITE our fallen nature. So when it comes to core beliefs I throw out the old, after all, the real purpose of the old testament was to point toward Jesus coming. Instead I focus only on the words of Jesus, and make those the foundation of what I believe.

I'm not saying that's all I live by, after all I want to be the best me possible, but I need to distinguish between God's contract with all people, and the rules I have built for myself. My rules may help me to resist temptation, to overcome my specific struggles, but they are NOT to be imposed on other people. I try to judge myself conservatively, but be liberal in my acceptance of others.
You might think this a contradiction, but I see it as the example Jesus set for us. He was sinless, blameless, perfect; an example I can never live up to. But he associated with the worst of the worst, the poor, sick, prostitutes, the hated tax collectors, and he always dealt with them in love. The only time he showed anger was in fighting the trappings that had grown up around religion, and those who had instituted them.

So I look at the rules that I was taught growing up in church, many of them with their roots in the old testament. A lot of them are good ideas to aspire to, they may be a guide that helps me to live my life, but I have to be careful that it stops there and not let it color my opinions or acceptance of other people. I need to "live my best life" (thank you Oprah) but not impose it on other people.

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