The problem we have in the modern church is not that faith is under attack, but that faith is absent. We have replaced faith with certainty, where the problem a;ways starts. It diminishes our God and multiplies our enemies. It is the original sin: eating from the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil.” Thank God we were banished from the garden before we got stuck in this mess forever. We’re dualistic by nature- that is what we inherited from Adam and Eve. Dualism is what made the fall separate us from God. Dualism is what we struggle with. Dualism is at the very heart of Sin.
Can you imagine being stuck in this dualistic, “us-vs-them” mindset eternally? Imagine how terrible it would be if Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Life and none of us ever died? This place would be really crowded, and we’d be stuck in this “spirit vs. skin” mindset. At least we have death to look forward to, where we will all finally see that we are all one in spirit (Jn 17:21).
How did we miss this message? It’s literally in the opening chapters of the story: “the knowledge of good and evil” is what screwed the whole thing up and got humanity kicked out of paradise. Adam and Eve were “sinless” before they became judgemental, became dissatisfied, and became ashamed. It is judgment itself that makes us sinful. It’s where our pride comes into play as we try to make others judge us favorably, and it is where our self-deceptions come into play as we try to avoid recognizing our own shortcomings as we point out the shortcomings of our neighbor. Of course, this just results in our neighbor getting defensive and doing the same so we keep the judgment ball rolling. As General Ackbar so eloquently said, “It’s a trap.”
We have confused faith with certainty. We have confused truth with facts. And in so doing, we have lost sight of the Truth itself, the self-evident reality of God. People don’t reject God (in general) or Christianity (specifically) because they have considered what an infinite, personal, paradoxical God might be like. They reject that God could be such a petty, tyrannical jerk as so many “Christians” seem to be insisting. They don’t reject God, they reject the stupid “Sky Daddy” version of God that makes immature believers of all faiths say “My sky-daddy can beat up your sky-daddy.”
Let’s face it- the church is not at all Christlike. Jesus lived a radical message of acceptance and unconditional love. He went as far as to “die for us while we were still sinners” and we are called to be like Him. When’s the last time you saw a christian acting like Christ? We won’t give up a spot in the church parking lot for someone we are mad at, much less our lives. But isn’t that what “Christ-like” means? Isn’t Christianity to make yourself less to help others become more (Phil 2:5-11)? Isn’t it to break the rules of religion, judgment, and conformity so that we can truly be free from all of that mess and the pain it causes? It was religious and political people that killed Jesus- both so concerned with who’s in and who’s out, who’s saved and who’s a citizen.
Jesus was a “Friend of sinners,” (Lk 7:34, Mt 11:19) are you? Jesus came to save sinners. The way I read the red words, if we’re not a sinner, it doesn’t even seem that Jesus is that interested in hanging out with us (Mk 2:17, Lk 5:31-32).