Within Christianity, there seems to be a backbone of exclusion. A heartbeat of prejudice. A mindset of intolerance. Ignorant eyes. Hateful souls. Interestingly, Jesus Christ did not share any of these attributes. Christ wasn't weighed down by culture and doctrine, nor did He froth at the mouth and say, "It's in the Bible!" (I know that isn't possible but you catch the drift.) Did He walk into the temple and have a competition to see who could shout "Amen!" and "Hallelujah!" the loudest whenever the preacher banged the pulpit?
Now I know people are trying their best. And that people really do love Jesus Christ, which is absolutely fantastic. What concerns me is that there are people who don't think, don't question, just accept and swallow and hence, there is a cycle.
The particular cycle I'm going to talk about is the fundamentalist one. They clutch their Bibles and fish out the verses. But, is it possible to prove them wrong without a Bible?
I think people are always a little quick in turning to the Bible. There are other paths to communicating with God. We can talk to Him, see Him in the stars and nature. We can also find the moral compass placed within all of us. The Bible may not mention it, but is that to say it's wrong? Everybody has had the feeling of "gut instinct", the little niggle in the back of the mind.
This is what I believe:
You don't need a Bible to tell you what's right and wrong, we already know.
You can be a good person without God, but a better one with Him.
There are many paths to God, perhaps many truths. They all just meet with Jesus Christ.
Now the last point people point out:
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13, 14 ESV)
They say that there is only one way or path, Jesus Christ. Now I don't disagree with that completely. I believe that that to first reach Jesus, there are many paths. And Jesus Christ then travels with us on our own unique path. Perhaps another way to phrase this is that each traveller has different baggage, and Christ comes and takes the baggage away, carrying it with you down your path. Jesus Christ wants people in the Kingdom of God. Does He want people outside of it? No. No one. Absolutely no one. The path
of Jesus Christ is ploughed. There are segments of the path. So people can walk the same path in a different way.
Are there Christians who think I'm going to hell? Something tells me there are.
The problem is the confusion between doctrine/dogma and love. The petty squabbles between Christians and denominations do nothing. Now, a proper debate, a proper discussion, that would be much more fruitful.
Christians shouldn't be afraid of people who believe differently. Nor should we avoid those people. Education is a powerful tool. How can we understand another person if we don't talk to them? Well, we could read up about their beliefs. Unfortunately, there are people who don't stop to think about the source they read. If I were going to read up about Islam, would I consider the fundamentalist Christian correct, or the Muslim scholar?
The Muslim scholar. And even then, I'd read other sources, to see if there are overlaps, differences, debate, and so on. And finally, I would ask my Muslim friends. By talking and reading, I have removed the scales of ignorance.
Now, this can be done with other denominations of Christianity, but what about your own?
The advantage here is that you yourself can delve and explore in a much more thorough and already educated way. You can become the medium of education. You may think from what I said earlier that I discard the Bible.
I absolutely do not.
The Bible is a point of reference. If we are the navigator, and we have a moral compass, we need a map to help plan where we are going. The three work together and cannot be separated.
A person should study the Bible themselves. If a person begins to do this, a person will either affirm what they have heard, or question and doubt what they've heard. Is this questioning God? No, it certainly is not.
I questioned what I heard. Now people say I'm bound to Satan. Is that true? Is it really? No. It really really is not.
I found God alone. And I thought I should just listen to others, so I did. By listen here I mean I researched via the Internet and took the first thing I read to be true.
That was completely and utterly silly of me.
When I began my personal study, i found that a lot of questions were coming to me. And that the questions completely went against what I had read from the Christian websites. So I began to study myself, finding the answers. I wondered if I were the only person to think this. So I researched and found I wasn't. I was finding that my questions were right to be asked, and that I was finding the right answers.
The biggest answer I got was the reminder that the Bible wasn't written in English, but Hebrew and Greek.
And the answers I found began to emerge when it clicked: translation.
There are problems with translation. Mistakes comes from translation. Languages don't always have words that overlap or directly translate.
I read the Bible from a Greek perspective and found it to be very different.
My views may be heretical to some, but that means I go against your doctrine, not God.