After perusing the menu for several minutes, I still didn't have a clear idea of what I most felt like eating for dinner. He was standing there, looking at me; pen poised expectantly over his order pad. I may have begun to perspire under the pressure. An image of a cartoon ogre popped into my head, "I'll try the veal," I blurted.
I'm here all week...
Last week in my blog No Apologies, I briefly tackled the subject of apologetics. In my readings since then, I seem to keep coming across interesting concepts, either in articles, blog entries or just in my own head, that center on the subject.
The more I read and think about this, the more it seems that for most folks, Christianity is like veal: just another choice. In other words, being a Christian has less to do with truth or at least any real commitment to God - than it does with just being a personal choice like what to wear today or what to have for lunch.
Any real discussion on religion that includes Christianity is, frankly, in error.
"WHAT?!?!" you exclaim. "Christianity is the largest religion in the world!"
Despite what you might read on www.adherents.com, or what you might learn on Wikipedia, Christianity in it's true form is not a religion, per se. I would hazard that most people when asked what the term religion means would answer something like, "It's the practice of religious beliefs," or "something to do with the ritual observances of faith."
Buddhism is listed as a religion, yet in Buddhism there is no god. Wikipedia - referencing www.adherents.com estimates that the non-religious/agnostic/atheism crowd numbers 1.1 billion, making it the third largest religion in the world. Then in the footnotes, they confusingly state: Nonreligious includes agnostic, atheist, secular humanist, and people answering 'none' or no religious preference. Half of this group is theistic but nonreligious.
Where's your Buddha now, Beni?
I look at religion as the unnecessary but comfortable trappings of belief. Once we choose to believe in something, we need little things to affirm that we made the right choice when the going gets tough. The Jesus on your dashboard, listening to Let it Be and being reminded of Jesus' mom, the cross, Star of David, or other symbols worn around the neck, hanging on the wall, or smiling at us from your bumper.
Can't we just all get along?
Today I was thinking about this while posting a comment on this blog. The gist of the blog was sort of an academic structuring of apologetics and suggestions about which particular aspect would have a greater impact on bringing non-believers or seekers around to our way of believing. I found the comments section to be a more spirited read than the actual blog post - something I occasionally look for here on The Stream.
I didn't accept Christ in my life because someone convinced me that Christianity was the best option. Although I can point to people in my life who influenced me to start considering Christ, and eventually, to start talking with God; I am a Christian today because of a singular event in my life when I clearly heard God calling me to Him - and answering that call.
Like apologetics, the rest is just additive. When I go to a restaurant and select veal, or fish, or whatever, it's because that's what I feel like at the moment. I did not choose Christianity to be my religion. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. There is a HUGE difference between the two.
In the end, what most folks call religion is not something (in my humble opinion) that can be changed like socks. And, I suppose, that's where apologetics comes in. Followers of Christ believe that He is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to God (the Father) except through Him. Because of that, we do feel compelled to share our faith and beliefs with others. It's not that we're trying to disrespect what other's believe. Seriously. We believe that God has given humankind a gift - the ability to have a personal, loving and individual relationship with Him.
You might lend your bracelet to a friend so they can enjoy it too. You might even invite your friend to the Superbowl if you have an extra ticket.
It's like that with Jesus. Only infinitely better.
What do you think?