August 19, 2012 - Unhelpful Beliefs
True to our human nature, we are always in search of certainty and security. We are faced with an uncertain future; the more we try to secure our future, the more it seems to evade us.
If you lived 2000 years ago in a pre-scientific world, it would be totally understandable to see the world filled with great mysteries that were open to much speculation. Lightning, disease and random disaster puzzled these people. Answers were invariably found in some belief in a supernatural, mysterious world of gods and demons. Today, there are still many examples of this thinking and worldview.
Religion can be a most devastating and dangerous practice in any society, if left unchecked. Our own faith tradition is rife with beliefs that may not be very helpful, some even downright unhelpful and unjust. It behooves us as post-modern, well-informed and thinking Christians to critically assess our own opinions and change or adjust our thinking, should we uncover unhelpful beliefs.
I can give you this guarantee: the more you critically evaluate your religion and faith, the more you will uncover unhelpful beliefs and discard of them, like I have done many times. It is easy to spot those unhelpful beliefs in the lives of others or in other religions; it’s much harder to admit it in our own faith tradition. Some who call themselves Christians perform terrible acts in the name of Christianity. There is much pathology in religion and we need to be aware of this so we do not become captives of these dangerous trends.
As long as we remain stuck in pre-scientific religious concepts I see no future for Christianity. But I see tremendous hope for the church if we do what Jesus taught. He gathered his most trusted and beloved friends and left them with a very simply commission: “Love one another and care for the people”.
Is this a useful belief, one worth following, you might ask? “Love me, and feed my sheep” is the only theology or dogma we need to understand. By embracing this lifestyle we are not only saved from a first century worldview that includes “Hell and Damnation” — but also we are saved from the inhumanity of greed, hatred and selfishness. We are saved from our materialism. We are saved from our sometimes-sick values that distort our relationships and break our hearts.
Life is too short and too precious to be stuck in an unhelpful faith. Find a foundation for your faith upon which you can truly build a meaningful life. Embrace the simple call to love others and to take care of them.
That sounds like a helpful belief, doesn’t it?