Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Take a Tree Stand

We’ve established that EVERYBODY has a religion, a system of belief, but most can’t define what they believe. If you asked me if I believed in calculus I would answer, “Absolutely!” with not a little bit of emphasis behind it. But if you would ask me to define calculus I would say, “Uh, umm, it has something to do with numbers and how computers work … I think?” I would mumble this because I really don’t know. I never studied calculus, I never had calculus done to me that I know of, and I don’t even know anyone named calculus.

That is pretty much the way people look at their religion, their system of belief, nowadays. We know we believe in a god but really don’t know anything about him or her. We know who Jesus was but really don’t know if he was any different than Confucius or Mohammed or Moses. Because of this we throw out nebulous catch-phrases to define our religion like “undenominational” or “spiritual but not religious” or “my own private beliefs that cannot influence my public actions” and assume no one will call us on that. While these phrases sound nicey-nice and politically correct they are ridiculous, oxymoronic, and shallow. When I hear them I want to slap the person and say, “Wake up, and take a STAND!”

I think those of us in the States are especially guilty of this lazy thinking. We go to the Walmart Undenominational Megaplex Church and pick up our few ounces of good feelings, our package of psychobabble, and a few bottles of smooth talkin’ preacher; then we go home filled but somehow not satisfied. In the 70’s we threw out the baby with the bathwater in our denominational churches by throwing out historic, biblical tradition and knowledge for the sake of openness and feelings.

Any religion, system of belief, denomination or church MUST be able to stand up to your scrutiny and investigation. I should open up a book on calculus, call my friend who teaches Math at a University, and find out if this calculus thing is true, right, and worth believing in and then take a stand. Start to define the trees of the forest of religions and grow a backbone by building a tree-stand in it instead of dancing like a nymph through the forest, touching a few trees, and believing you stand for something.


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