Posts tagged religion
Posts tagged religion
Many of my friends who do not believe in Christianity have shared with me their frustrations with Christianity’s exclusivity. I guess for me this is an ambiguous term, so I have to break down exactly what they mean by exclusive. Truthfully, most things are exclusive. My University, like most I am sure you know, is exclusive to those who have the certain requirements and prerequisites necessary for admission. Taking that idea a step further, being a full-time student is exclusive to those who take 12 or more hours each semester and pay their tuition. Clubs and organizations are always exclusive. You probably won’t have much luck joining the high school band if you can’t tell a tuba apart from a trumpet. Sports teams are exclusive to those who follow the rules of the game. In other words, you cannot go into a soccer game and start using your hands and tackling people like in American football to get the ball into the goal. That is outside the confines of the rules of the game. Exclusivity surrounds us in everyday activities, organizations, and groups, so I am pretty certain this is not exactly what bothers people about the “exclusivity” of Christianity.
I think what bothers people most is not the exclusivity of Christianity, but of Christians. Christians, like myself, often make harsh dividing lines between what makes someone a believer and what does not. We like to draw the lines between which sins are acceptable as believers and which are not. Sometimes the statements get even more ridiculous, saying things like “Christians should vote for a specific party or candidate” or “can’t have that beer with the guys” or you fill in the blank. If I had a dollar for every time I’d heard one of these statements, I would be able to pay off my college tuition no problem.
Let me be clear with you: Christianity has a set of doctrines and beliefs that should be accepted in order to call yourself a Christian—namely, the belief that Christ is God who died for the forgiveness of every wrong thing we’ve ever done just so He could have a relationship with us again. Of course there are more, but I can’t touch on all of those in one post. Christianity is, in fact, exclusive in this way as anything else is in life. If we could just define Christianity by whatever terms we deemed necessary or right for us, there would not be a Christianity. It would be some vague, nonsensical belief with no real basis.
This being said, the belief of Christianity is not exclusive to one kind of person, which is the point that Christians often confuse. The Gospel of Christ is not for one kind of people group or culture. Jesus said this to His disciples during His last few moments on earth: “You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (From Acts 1:8). This says something very profound about the heart of God: He wants to be available to all people everywhere. Christ Himself was very inclusive in the people He hung out with. I don’t know many people, Christian or not, who hang out with a lot of prostitutes, homeless people, lepers, tax collectors, and drunks. But Jesus hung out with all of these guys. If that’s not acceptance, then I don’t know what is.
If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Gospel is for sinners and saints. It’s for the thief on the cross and the widow praying at the temple. It’s for those who have had abortions and those who are in the pews on Sunday. It’s for the liars, the losers, the lame, and the lost. It’s for those who cuss and those who have tattoos and drink whiskey. It’s for the addict. It’s for the girl who sings in the choir. It’s for the person struggling with their sexuality. It’s for the student who stays up late every night studying. It’s for the families who are broken and for the couples who are crazy in love. It’s for prostitutes and Pharisees. It’s for the hypocrites who say they love Christ, but they don’t know a thing about what it means to love Him at all. It’s for those who hear about Jesus every day and those who could care less. It’s for those who are passionately devoted to God and for those who have given up. The Gospel is for me, but I also want to tell you that it is for you. This list is by no means exhaustive because the Gospel is for everyone. It’s for every tribe, every tongue, and every nation. It’s for the world because God wants every single human being to know how greatly and enormously they are loved.
There is nothing exclusive about that.
Don’t you realize how special you are? I love every inch of you. You know, I could tell you the exact number of stars in the sky but I could also tell you the number of hairs on your head? That’s how precious you are. I care about every intimate detail about you, so much so, that I designed them all before the day of your birth. So I hate when you talk down about yourself. First, because I love you so much and second because you are saying that my work in you is imperfect. Beloved, I do not make ugly things. You are so beautiful.
You long for love in others, but you do not look for mine. I think you’re worth dying for and I want to show you the real meaning of love. Please, will you let me show you? You are worth nothing less than every drop of my blood, sweat, and tears.
I will literally go to the grave and back for you, my love. That’s how special you are.
I find this statement funny, honestly, because it was science that led me to God’s arms eventually. In C. S. Lewis’s famed novel, “The Screwtape Letters,” a veteran “tempter,” Screwtape, writes letters to his nephew Wormwood who is having trouble with one of his human patients. Wormwood says the man is looking into religion out of curiosity even though he was a solid atheist. Screwtape actually encourages Wormwood saying that looking into random religions isn’t really a harmful thing at all but to make sure that the patient avoided literature and the sciences because those truths would lead him down a path towards the “Enemy.”
“That’s stupid,” you may think. “Science and religion don’t mix.”
Such a statement has a premise that the world is divided into spiritual and material. It is just as likely that if there is truth it is one truth—not truth divided into different parts such as what can be proved by science and what is spiritual experience. How do we not know that science confirms the existence of God and that both the material and spiritual are just as true as the other and that neither can be separated from the other? We don’t know that. However, we also don’t know that it isn’t that way.
Also this whole notion that science has “disproved” that there is a God is just false. Just like the statement that science has “proved” there is a God is also false. Science cannot prove anything in the end, because modern science always leaves room for doubt. Even things such as the law of gravity would cease to be law if one day gravity just turned off. Our whole view of gravity then would need revisiting. Science can only disprove things through experimentation and ruling out possible explanations that do not hold up in experiments. However, even if you test something over and over and come to believe that a hypothesis is true, in the end there are still possibilities that it is false if another experiment that has not been tried yet would prove it so.
Yet there is no experiment for the existence of God. This is the point where people usually jump up and say something about evolution. Evolution no more disproves God’s existence than any other scientific claim. I once heard on the news that scientists were getting very close to recreating life in a laboratory by setting up the conditions of what the earth must have been like in the beginning. This caused shaky knees for all of the religious across the globe because the scientists on the project said such a discovery would disprove a creator.
Here is the issue: Were the scientists not the creators themselves as they carefully and meticulously set up the conditions in the laboratory for life to spawn? After all, the conditions did not just spring up out of nowhere in the lab when someone accidentally spilt a chemical and it exploded creating just the perfect atmosphere totally and completely randomly. No! This didn’t happen at all! The scientists were putting just the right amount of gases, the right temperatures, the right everything just into place so that life may have a chance. Are we so arrogant to think that when man makes these kinds of conditions it becomes a natural law and disproves a designer but when God forms a universe in this matter himself it is absolutely impossible for Him to have deliberately created it? It all sprang from nowhere at that point? Such arrogance is just as illogical as a religious nut job screaming that evolution and other parts of science must be completely false because God created everything. What if He created using evolution? What if He didn’t? It doesn’t matter. Science may be able to answer the “how” but it will never answer the “why”, and that is the question of greatest importance.
When I realized these things, I looked at science in a different light. Our abilities to analyze the world and break it down scientifically will eventually lead you to see the order of things—how planets revolve and orbit according to mathematic formulas, how animals have qualities and characteristics that span across species, how life hangs on the balance of certain natural conditions that are so rare in such a vast universe… Science inevitably will lead you to a Creator if you open your eyes and your mind. Perhaps God gave man science in order to point them to Himself, then, and not to turn them away. However, our pride always manages to get in the way and distort His gifts.