“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
1 Timothy 6:10
The Good Christian
It has been interesting to watch Christianity evolve in the past fifty years. It is for the much better too. I think one reason why it has changed is because of the rising levels of literacy; more people could read in 1950 than in 1850 or 1750 or 1650.
More people of the faith could read the Bible and that led to more interest in learning the things of the Bible. Dual language translations of the Bible came out, for example, with line by line verses in English and right below would be the Aramaic version.
In my lifetime I have seen the church drop the Lord’s Prayer as part of the service. I kind of miss the congregation being prompted by the pastor’s prayer to all begin Our Father in unison. But, it had to go. We know more now and the Lord’s Prayer has conditionals on forgiveness that is based in Jewish Law and not post-resurrection law. Forgiveness is unconditional.
One of the things that came out in the late 1970s was the Petros/Petras thing, which debunked the entire Catholic Church. Now, that church has been around for two thousand years, it will find a way to continue on it’s own terms if not God’s.
What has not changed is the notion of being a good Christian. Those in the walk, as they say, have an enormous layer of expectations put upon them by society, not God. These expectations have an almost McCarthian power to force conformity on the people in the church.
Naturally, I reject all of it.
It is human nature to stack more and more on the people of the faith. It is also human nature to take a single verse and trumpet it high, even when only mentioned once in the Bible and, really, ignore the things that are said over and over in the Bible.
“Drinking is a sin”. Admit it, you’ve heard people say it. You’ve loved the angry woman in the 1940s movies who would stand outside of a bar and hassle everyone who went in and out. What a fun character to play. Of course it can’t be a sin, Jesus and the apostles drank wine at the Last Supper. Yet, you will hear such a misguided conclusion often in the church.
Our Christian church spends a lot of time in the Old Testament. I don’t know why. The Ten Commandments are taught to us as if as law. You got taught that way too, right? We know that Jesus fulfilled the law (I don’t have to quote verses, do I? You’ve read this stuff), and he summed it all up with two, Love God with all of your heart and your neighbor as yourself is mega-para-phrased but I’m just reminding you. The Ten Commandments were for a people of the past, over two thousand years ago.
To be clear, reading the Old Testament is pretty good reading. Seeing the Ten Commandments line up with the Five Precepts of Buddhism is cool. More knowledge leads to better understanding, going broad instead of narrow keeps us interested and growing.
Allowing others to limit your behavior leads to people like Karl Marx saying that Religion is the opiate of the masses. It is easy to see meek and numb people going to church out of fear of hell and horror of being called out as unfaithful or a sinner. The peer pressure of the church has never led to good things in the history of Christianity and, as a religion, that history is full of things that we are ashamed of but can not deny.
Christians have been called followers, as in followers of Christ. But, I agree, they can be seen as followers of anyone; many too lazy or unable to read and learn from the Bible in their hands are led down perverted paths. The Prosperity Gospel is a perversion of God’s Word and is making television guys like Joel Osteen to make a ton of money off of the suckers who will be led anywhere. These tv guys are evil. See it for what it is.