I consider myself Christian. But I’m not always proud of that.
There have been times in my spiritual growth where I doubted the existence of God. Times where I only considered myself “spiritual” and didn’t have a great relationship with “religious.” I would consider myself the most grounded I’ve ever been in what I believe in, but from this new perspective I can clearly see the problems with Christianity that arise.
The problems with Christianity I’m addressing will resonate in any organized religion. It’s the nature of man-organized structures that lend themselves to concerns, especially when we throw spirituality into the mix. It’s important to critically analyze ourselves, as individuals and as groups, to see where we can improve.
God doesn’t want us to stay stagnant, to call our purposes complete and be done. He wants us to continually grow and learn more about Him as He reveals Himself to us every blessed day. If society and people evolve, then why shouldn’t the church?
We have made amazing strides to reevaluate what love and acceptance look like. In a very short time frame, we have looked beyond differences in skin color, sexuality, and ethnicity to create a whole new definition of “loving thy neighbor.”
Leviticus 19:34 says, “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.” This easily applies to breaking down the real walls that divide us as nations, but I also see it as walls we build within ourselves. We categorize ourselves based on our differences, making it easier to understand the world and our place within it. The second you allow those walls to treat others differently, as “others” and not fellow brothers and sisters, you’re creating problems.
The Bible tells a story from centuries ago, and while its message still rings true, we are living in a very different world. We no longer own slaves, we view different races and genders equally (at least we should!), and we don’t stone one another for loving and living differently. How amazing is that more people can live their truths and express themselves? That is not sinful; it’s downright beautiful.
Strict, literal biblical interpretation.
I’ve said many times, and I’ll say it again: the Bible is not meant to be taken literally. That is not how it was written, and we lose the depth of God’s Word when we read only its surface.
Imagine reading poetry and taking every metaphor and motif exactly as it’s written without understanding the context and imagery behind it. You’re missing out on what the poem is actually saying. The same goes with Scripture. We close our minds to a single body of text, and we neglect to acknowledge how many different ways we all might read a single sentence. No wonder we have so many denominations under the umbrella of Christianity!
Think of how many metaphors we already accept in the Bible. We know that in John 6:35, “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will no longer hunger, and he who believes in me will no longer thirst,'” Jesus isn’t a fresh baguette to nosh on, nor can we stop eating or drinking because we believe in Him. He is not literally a shepherd, a rock, a fortress, or any other object used to describe Him.
It’s interesting then that we read other verses and stories, such as the Genesis 1 creation story, Noah and the Great Flood, Jonah swallowed by a giant fish, and more…and we somehow judge those as exactly so. How can we, mere humans reading other humans’ writings from centuries ago and translated many times over, somehow discern one metaphor from another?
To avoid unnecessary problems, we should open our minds to how God speaks to us. We aren’t meant to understand every little detail of His Word, but instead use it as a guide for spiritual growth and a compass for navigating a relationship with God. Also, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of prayer and life on this earth to teach us how remarkable God is and how we can best serve Him.
One path is the most correct path.
Of all my problems with Christianity, this one especially grinds my gears. Organized religions overall create this problem. It’s the root of our religious wars and conflicts, our endless arguments.
By labeling yourself as a certain kind of religion, you’re most likely claiming that your religion is the one and only path to salvation. Of all the other beliefs in the world, this one is the correct, and if you don’t join me, you’ll end up dead or in hell for all of eternity. Talk about a guilt trip.
It’s powerful to see people who are deeply rooted in their faith and have no doubts about the God they worship, but such devotion can blind us from the immense diversity in our world. We close our minds to not only all the ways people read and study God’s Word, but we also undermine others’ religions and spiritualities. Even if we choose to be open minded, if you looked into the intricacies of Islam, Buddhism, or Taoism, do you think those people are lost and need Jesus? Are they living life and practicing spirituality “wrong”?
Who are we to judge if those who don’t believe in Jesus as a Messiah or Savior will or won’t go to heaven? Who are we to denounce others, even when we have more similarities than differences in what we believe? In an increasingly diverse and globalized society, we need to open our minds and hearts to other ideas and practices. Not only can we learn to relate better to one another, but we can also practice our faiths in brand new ways.
There’s a reason why some people are drawn to certain ideas over others. Some people will never align themselves with Judaism or other Christian denominations, and no amount of evangelism will convert them. We shouldn’t force them into certain molds of what faith should look like. 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” He has shaped our minds and hearts, and in every act of love, God resonates.
If you find spirituality in prayer, meditation, yoga, holy texts, or simply from living as a morally just person, that is God at work. You can consider yourself Christian or whatever faith you see fit and still be drawn to teachings and principles of other faiths. You can walk into a synagogue, mosque, church or temple and know you’re on sacred, spiritual ground. Even believing in the power of crystals, tarot cards, astrology, every field of science, and whatever you connect with should not deem you less worthy in God’s eyes.
So most of my problems with Christianity converge into a single concern: closing our minds and ignoring the possibilities of God working in a ways we cannot even fathom. The time we spend judging others on how they could be “better Christians” or are “lost” is time we’re taking away from love and acceptance. Practicing faith in your own way doesn’t make you better than anybody else. Instead, spirituality should help you find purpose, should expand your worldview, should help you connect with others and the universe. Let’s use spirituality as a tool, not a weapon.
Do you have problems with Christianity or other religions? What are your thoughts on spirituality?
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie