I have often wondered about my own faith of Christianity, and that of others. What is it that makes us right and the others incorrect? This has been a life long journey that has raised many questions, many concerns, caused countless conflicts and ended friendships. So what is it that makes ‘Christianity’ right and all the others less so?
These are tough, controversial questions which I will by no means attempt to answer, whether philosophically or theologically, since I am not an authority on either of these. What I will do is give you my perspective. One I have uncovered by asking these tough questions in my search for answers.
I grew up in a Christian home, something I am very grateful for, with a specific perspective of God. I would say that my understanding of Him at that time was very authoritarian. He was, in my mind, someone who rewards good behaviour and punishes sin. This almost Freudian approach to religion was not necessarily wrong, I mean, this is how God positioned Himself in the old testament for the most part right? The Jewish religion to this day serves this very same God, attempting tirelessly to keep His rules and commandments.
Why does Christianity differ so starkly from Judaism if they fundamentally serve the same God?
Let me paint a picture of the God I have come to know. God created us, but why? What if we were an expression of something? Surely, all artists express some philosophy or emotion through their work. I believe God is the same. I believe we are the expression of His love. He desired an avenue to express it and created me for that purpose. If this is the case, there are some significant implications. I was created as an expression of His love, but for what purpose? As a work of art on his wall called the world? That is a mundane and useless existence that does not agree with my earnest yearning to uncover purpose, no, what if we were created to love? Radical right…. We are an expression of love, created for love. Thereby God says that all He really wants is to stand in personal relationship with us.
I want to tell you a story at this point. You know how with us guys these things tend to start with cars, girls, or something stupid we did… well, this is a guy story for sure. There was this girl…. I had committed to this relationship as I do, I don’t date for any other reason unless the intention is to marry, but that is a conversation for a different day.
Problem was that she had not, (this is where the ‘stupid’ comes in. How did I not see this coming?) So this particular day, on the way back from work, yes, in the car 😉 (Three elements of good dude story: check) I was dealing with this particular issue, running through the scenarios in my head. At the time I had been asking God to teach me to love other people as He does, and for whatever reason, He felt this was the ideal opportunity to drop it on me. He was like me, fully committed to relationship with me. He had even sent His son as a sacrifice to show us how dearly He wanted relationship with us. (John 10:10 embodies this so beautifully) And yet, despite His every attempt to have relationship with us, I was reluctant to commit to relationship with Him, just like my girlfriend at the time. So how does He feel about it, well, you know that feeling when your stomach is digesting your heart…? That’s exactly how He feels, begging us to commit to intimate personal relationship with Him.
Religion or relationship? You choose…