I read this article, and it really made me sad.
Oh Christians, why have your hearts become so hard? Why have you forsaken the forgiveness, the love, and the selfless service that so defined our savior? Are we not all united in Christ? Are we not honor bound to be kind, not pass judgment, and to forgive, even when it’s difficult? Why has this very important part of Christianity been forgotten?
Christianity is a beautiful and historic religion. It is defined from other religious beliefs in many ways and leads to a unique understanding of our place in this world and the universe as a whole. However, the way that we, as Christians, are supposed to be defined from other people is in our recognition of the “arbitrary traditions of men” and our “original sin(s)” of ignorance and selfishness, and our committment to changing these injustices, and serving others. Living this path makes one a true Christian, and leads to a better world. Baptism, born again rituals, confession, and all that crap is great, but it isn’t getting at the heart of what makes a Christian different. What makes a Christian different is a sincere devotion to serving others, to helping people. Consider this passage:
“Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all they soul, and all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it, love thy neighbor as thyself.”
These two commandments from Jesus are what centrally noticeably differentiates Christians from other “ordinary” people. All of our history and rituals and scripture is wonderful, but throwing these things at sincerely convinced Atheists isn’t going to get anyone to see things our way. This is my primary issue with evangelism; we can tell people about the message of Christ, but we don’t have to do it by throwing it in their faces. We don’t have to waste our time having stupid philisophical talks with arrogant Atheists that never solve anything anyways. We don’t need to hand out more copies of the New Testament from street corners. We don’t need more loud Christian rock concerts and shirts that say “I’m a Jesus Freak and Proud of It” on them, because while these things may be great in their own ways, they don’t show who a Christian really is. A Christian is “one who follows Christ,” a person who serves others in all respects always the way Christ did. This was an amazing revelation I had when I was in Spain and France. When I received philisophical objections from my Atheist friends, I didn’t bother telling them why they were wrong (which would only lead to a pointless circle of unending philisohpical dialetic,) I simply went on with my faith and continued to serve people, by helping poor people and helping members of the trip who had problems. As they saw the benefits of my faith, it made them reconsider their previous assumptions. By the end of the trip, one of them, formerly an ardent Atheist, professed himself as only Agnostic, while the other had begun to say that he “really hoped something existed after death” (I reminded him that this is the first step in the journey we know as “faith.”) This is the true way to “evangelize” people, the “show don’t tell message.”
But if we tell people how great Christianity is, and they see us acting in such a reprehensible manner to people like this poor soldier, then we will only look hypocritical. And I have to be honest, if this happens, we Christians deserve what we get, because as the old statement goes, “actions speak louder than words.” It would do us well to act in a way that works in accordance with what we say, and I pray that other Christians out there may realize this.