Boy, I can’t wait to get past these serious [and vague] topics. Maybe I should’ve picked a better challenge. Oh well.
Day four is my view on religion, and let me tell you, it is long and complex. But for all of our sanities, I’m going to try to keep it as short and sweet as possible.
I am a nondenominational Christian, so in my view, religion is perfectly okay. Obviously, since I am a Christian, I think Christianity is the “correct” option among all the religions out there. However, that does not mean that I judge non-Christians for their beliefs. I know Christians are seen as very judgmental, mean people to those who do not follow their religion (mostly because there are a lot of judgmental, mean Christians out there), but not every Christian is like that. I promise.
Christianity actually calls us to love everyone unconditionally, just as Jesus and God do. Nowhere does it say that we should look down upon or be mean to and prejudiced against others for not sharing our opinions, for only God can judge. Those Christians who try to do that job for Him are, in my opinion, not true Christians and need to read their Bible a little better. Bullying and spreading hate is an embarrassment to the religion, not an accurate representation of it. So when you see hate being spread in the apparent name of Christ, know that it is actually not Christ that the person is working for.
But anyway, I try to love everyone as much as I possibly can, in the name of the Lord. What good does it bring? Well, I don’t know. Maybe it will cause someone else to fall to the religion. Maybe it will just make people think I’m a really nice person. But either way, it always feels like the right thing to do, so I always make sure to keep it up.
Now to address the nondenominational part.
“Nondenominational” is kind of a weird concept for a lot of people to grasp. Basically, it just means that I do not adhere to any specific doctrine of Christianity. For example, I am not Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Mennonite, or whatever other factions of Christianity there are out there. I am simply Christian, and in order to set my beliefs, I simply read the Bible and go to a church that does not adhere to a specific doctrine either. No doctrine means no biased interpretation, so I get what I believe to be a very raw, accurate form of the religion, which I like best.
Don’t get me wrong, though: Belonging to a denomination is fine, so don’t feel bad if you do. I just choose not to.
Moving on, how exactly do I feel about Heaven and Hell and sin? Well, it’s all very complex, and even though the Bible tells us a lot about each, there’s still tons of gray area where humanity can never be too sure. Why? Because there are simply some things that people can never know.
That’s actually what gets a lot of atheists; they feel like, in order for something to be true, it has to be 100 percent proven and flawless. And since the “theory” of God is not 100 percent proven and flawless, He cannot exist. I don’t like that way of thinking, though. Yes, there are definitely some uncertainties, but religion is faith, a.k.a. believing despite the doubt.
So none of it needs to be 100 percent scientifically proven for me. I’m content with not knowing some things.
But anyway, regarding Heaven, Hell, and sin, I hold the typical view of any religious person, although maybe a little more extreme: Sin is bad, and the only way to get to Heaven is to not do it. If you do end up doing it (which you will), you simply need to repent, and then your sin will be forgiven and your ticket to the Big Glowing Gate redistributed.
I do not believe, however, that you can just do whatever you want during the week and then go ask for forgiveness at church on Sunday. If I did, I’d be Catholic. [No offense to any Catholics, but I’ve just noticed that that’s what a lot of them do.] In my mind, only being mindful of your behavior on the Sabbath is not enough for salvation.
In order to be forgiven for the sins you commit, based on all I’ve read in the Bible and heard in sermons, I believe that you have to really, wholeheartedly try not to sin every single day. If you do sin, you need to genuinely regret it and repent because you truly are sorry for what you did, not because the priest happened to remind you during Sunday service.
So I guess I feel like being saved takes a lot more work than what a lot of people give. Like, God needs to know that we want to be saved in order to save us. So He won’t just wipe away our sins knowing that we won’t try to do better next time. We have to prove that we will try harder in order to earn a second chance.
But just because you sin, it doesn’t mean God stops loving you. He doesn’t (and quite frankly never will), because God loves us all no matter what, forever and always. We’re all His children, after all, and He is a good father. So His love is unconditional.
However, He did make it so that sin must be punished. That means that if you don’t repent, He has to punish you, even if He doesn’t want to. So unless you say sorry [and mean it], sucks to be you.
I mean, sure, God could go back on His word and spare everyone, but if He did, what would be the point of having rules? Sin’s gotta be punished. That’s just how it is.
Enough with this crazy theology stuff, though. I’m not here to write doctrine.
The last thing I want to say is for all the people out there who hate religion or who hate Christianity. I just want to apologize for whatever happened that made you feel like religion is awful and bad and thus should be outlawed, etc. I promise you that religion isn’t what you think it is. What I’m assuming you experienced was its misuse rather than its true self, and I’m sorry that’s all you have to go by. I truly pray that, one day, something will happen to make you feel otherwise.
And that is all. Talk to you again tomorrow.