Thoughts on Christianity

About four years ago, I posted about the phenomenon within the home schooling forum that I am part of, ie, that of forum members crossing the Tiber and becoming Catholics.

Fours years on, and another startling situation is occurring.  It seems to me that many people in my internet circles in the past year or so have deconverted – to put it simply, they have become atheists.

Back then, I was wondering whether Catholicism had any merit and whether I should therefore cross the Tiber, too.  Now, I’m beginning to question the validity of the Christian faith, in particular the Evangelical variety.  I’ve not yet considered embracing atheism (if embracing is the word I’m looking for), but it’s pretty darn close.  Scary close.

For one thing, I’ve grown much too irritated with Evangelical Christianity lately.  I’ve had to check myself and avoid making comments on social networks and other arenas (real life!) that could get me into trouble.

“Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.”

Bah, humbug.  Lest I’m misunderstood, I used to tout this aphorism out with the best of them.  Religion is defined as a list of rules and regulations, and (apparently) Christianity is about being in a loving relationship with God the Father through Jesus.

Funnily enough – in my experience anyway, your mileage may vary – the people who are most wont to spew out this trite axiom, are also the ones who are most likely to extoll the teachings of the Pearls, Jonathan Lindvall, Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips, and the like.  If anything, these men’s teachings are nothing but rules and lists of do’s and don’ts!

And now, a word about this ‘relationship’.  Within the evangelical community (in particular), much emphasis is placed on this personal relationship with God. What is more, there is also an emphasis on making a decision for Christ so that one can enter into a relationship with God.

What about people for whom forming relationships is a problem?  People on the autistic spectrum come to mind. For them, relationships will always be a struggle.  Sure, they can learn the rules (there’s that word again!) that go with social behaviour, but their responses will always be learned responses and (almost) never natural.  How can they have a relationship with a god whom they have not seen if they can’t even have a real relationship with people whom they have seen? (I realise the spectrum is wide and therefore this is not going to apply across the board.)

Any relationship they have with ‘god’ will be little more than learned behaviour and following a set of prescribed rules and regulations.  In other words, it will resemble the ‘religion’ that evangelicals are quick to condemn.

To Be Continued.

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About yewnique

I am a Malaysian-born woman who is married to an Australian and now live in Melbourne, Australia. I am a mother to four children. I home school. I like reading, writing, and cooking -- not necessarily in that order. I care about grammar and spelling, but am nonchalant about the Oxford Comma. I try to follow Christ's teachings.

Posted on Friday, November 25th, 2011, in Atheism, Evangelicalism, Fundamentalism, Religion, Vision Forum and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hmmm – an interesting read! I’m looking forward to part 2. If you’re feeling disillusioned with Christianity, you’re not alone, and you may feel at home with the Emerging Church movement. One of its leading lights is Brian McLaren, and one of his most controversial books was this one, “A New Kind of Christian”: http://www.word.com.au/details.aspx?ProductID=528859. It’s written as a novel (and not a particularly good one), telling the story of a pastor who is on the verge of walking away from his faith because it has lost most of its meaning for him. He is brought back from the brink by a friendship with his daughter’s science teacher, who presents him with some very different views to the evangelical faith of his upbringing.

    I personally don’t subscribe to all of the Emerging Church’s ideas, which appeal to a post-modern mindset, but I have a lot of sympathy for what they are trying to do.

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    • Hi, Bill. Thanks for reading and responding. I am appalled at the writing quality of my post; it seems so incoherent to me, now that it’s published. But several people have ‘Like’d it and you’ve left a comment, so maybe it isn’t so bad after all! LOL!

      In the past four years, we have been part of just as many churches. None of them have been a good fit – some considerably worse than others. Maybe this is part of my ‘problem’.

      I have heard of Brian McLaren and his book (and the reviews, both positive and negative). I’m not sure I’m Emerging, or po-mo or….Thanks for the recommendation, anyway.

      Working on Part 2. It might take a while. Thank you for staying tuned. 🙂

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  2. Hi yewnique, I did mean to get back to what i was doing, but I saw this post and felt that perhaps I can and should add this little reply and I hope it will be a blessing.

    “Christianity is a relationship” – that maxim can become trite and become corrupted and commodtized, but at its essence, it is true. As long as it is remembered that it is relationship with a capital R. This is the God who created heaven and earth, who has come to tabernacle with us in our midst and in all who believe in Jesus by His Spirit. It is the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 etched out in the warp and woof of our lives and burning, and we are the canvas and we are the fireplace. It is the Cross of Christ lifted up over our heads and we are at His feet and we are with Him and in Him as He suffered and died. And we relive it every day in self-denial and putting others ahead of ourselves. It is the Resurrection and we have hope and life and healing because He lives. Iti s hearing His still small voice and anasering back in humility and worship. It is that daily miracle when our prayers are answered, when we reach out to others to bless and love them as we love ourselves, and God intervenes in their lives because we asked. It is that joy we feel when we have lived Jesus’ life and walked in His footsteps and we experience Life as it was meant to be lived by the Designer.

    if we are dry and if we are shattered, there is only One who can water us and who can remake us again. By all means leave the legalistic religiousness that passes for true faith in so many. But never leave Christ. As Peter and the rest said, where can we go – He has the words of eternal life. He is the fountain of life. He is our song of joy. he is the One who loved us first. How could we leave Him? If you feel your grip on faith slipping, look to Him – He is the author and finisher fo your faith. Cry out to Him. I do not pretend to know what has caused you to come to such a dreadful place that you consider such a thing. But I hope you do not step over that threshold ever…

    Christianity is a community too. Maybe you have just not found a good fit? I have personally visited Cross Culture on Swanston St (formrely Swanston St Church of Christ) particularly the Alpha ministry that they have on most Tuesdays. They have warm and simple-hearted people there who do love the Lord, along with many seekers.

    I have heard good things from a fellow student last year about Life Expedition that meets in the Arrow building on Swanston St but much nearer the university of melbourne. The pastor is a doctor, I believe, and he also seems to be well read and so may be able to be able to dialogue with you on your concerns. I was more impresse dby the fact that he gives his handphone number to all his members and that he is on call for them 24-7. That sounds like a true pastor’s dedication.

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    • Wayfarer, if this is what you mean by ‘a little reply’ then I wonder what a longer reply looks like! 😉

      I understand that Christianity is a Relationship. I get that.

      One of the questions that has been rattling inside my brain is, ‘What about people for whom forming relationships is a problem?’ People with emotional, mental, intellectual challenges, for example. People on the autistic spectrum come to mind.

      The question in my post is: How can they have a relationship with a god whom they have not seen if they can’t even have a real relationship with people whom they have seen?

      I’m having trouble sorting through my thoughts. So I apologise that my reply to yours is not commensurate to your reply to my OP.

      I’m sorting my thoughts and will write a follow up to this blogpost. (Hence, the ‘To Be Continued’.)

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