Monday, March 28, 2005

Let the pandering officially begin!

So now the news networks are officially in the business of letting us know about God, too. MSNBC's got its own "Faith in America" section, and if CNN covers Rick Warren (author of The Purpose Driven Life) anymore, he'll need a restraining order.

In an interesting side note, I noticed a lifely debate/round table discussion on the PAX Network on Saturday eveing wherein purported experts debated whether or not the resurrection happened.

So here's my take on faith, I guess.

Faith's a very personal thing. Whether you believe in God or not, whether you believe in Jesus or Buddha or Mohammed, it's certainly a very personal thing. Not just for yourself, but for everyone. That's why people get so upset when others proselytize. It's all well and good to have your own faith, but when you go trying to push your own personal views on someone else, it infringes on that intimacy that they want to have with their faith. That's why, I think, so many people are so uncomfortable with the unabashed, unapologetic displays of religion in recent days. Ostensibly, at least in the Pledge and the Ten Commandments cases, it's the separation of church and state, but I think it goes a little deeper than that; those who don't want faith shoved down their throats may be themselves faithful, but they don't want their own faith to infringe upon that of others, and neither do they want others to infringe upon their own.

As for Christianity, my view's pretty much the same. It's a personal thing, and there's nothing in the Bible prescribing mandatory attendance at church every week. Or what church that should be. Or that you should automatically submit to being told by someone what the Bible should mean to you. Whether or not you believe in Jesus, he says this: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me." He doesn't say, "No one comes to the Father but by me, and you should kick anyone's ass who thinks differently." He doesn't say, "No one comes to the Father but by regular church attendance with the requisite 10% tithe and submission to the church hierarchy who knows what God says better than you do."

I feel like it's entirely possible to be a good Christian without attending church regularly. Hell, I think (minus the whole believing in Jesus part) it's entirely possible to be a good Christian without even giving a second thought to Christianity. It's about living your life well and being good to others. And that's what most people do.

But some, most notably those among us who claim to be the most faithful, or at least the most vocal about their faith, are the quickest to act in ways that are antithetical to Christianity. "Love thy neighbor," they say. Unless he's gay. Or an abortion doctor. Then it's okay to let him know on a reegular basis that he's going to hell, or hurl replicas of aborted fetuses at his workplace. Respectively, of course. They draw what laws they choose to draw from the Old Testament, ignoring of course the dietary laws and other prohibitions that aren't important to them. It's hypocritical, and it's an easy way to use Scripture to mask an already-held, long-passed-on hatred.

OK, I'm done for now.