January 12, 2023

What is Human, What is Christian, & What is the Point?

I’m going to talk here about what is distinctively Christian and how it’s what should also be distinctively human. This is not to say that all humans should be Christians, but simply (and perhaps more profoundly) that what it means to be Chrisitian should be the same as what it means to be human – to put both humanity AND Christianity to task, so to speak, which I will never shy away from.

There is a running theme in the Christian Bible about judgement. Whether it’s judgement from some prophet, from the messiah, or from God himself in the end times. The purpose of these themes is more to give people goals, ideals, and principles, rather than to instill fear or submission. This passage sums it up decently well:

He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth (Isaiah 42:2-4).

Other religions share similar philosophies and ideals as Christianity.

Many other religions share similar philosophies and ideals. Buddhism teaches compassion in the presence of suffering while keeping yourself pure and rising above turmoil amidst corruption. Islam teaches submission to higher ideals beyond and pride/ego while focusing on care and investment in one’s community. Hinduism has long taught people to see past self-interest for the good of society and supporting each other to bring order to chaos. Judaism, ever since the days of Moses, has prioritized bringing those who are lost or suffering back to safety, while honoring people by honoring higher ideals. Even various breeds of Paganism taught showing respect to the forces of nature helped to strengthen society against the adversity of the world.

Look behind the institution to find the causes of great tragedies....

People throughout history have understandably accused religion of being the source of turmoil and violence. While I completely see that way of thinking, given religion’s bloody and corrupt past, I still disagree with such a statement. Rather than religion, we have only to look behind the institution and will quickly find all the usual suspects that cause great tragedies – human agendas, politics, greed, and fanaticism.

The hard truth of it is that any time someone does harm in the name of Christianity, it is not Christian. But, likewise, any time there is harm done by humans for ANY reason, it’s not even authentically human. As Michael Curry earned no small amount of notoriety for saying: “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.”