Recently, I have noticed that my faith is dictated by the words and opinions of others.
Let me rephrase that: My level of belief is affected by other people. When I see a Christian talk about God orchestrating suffering in the world, when I see a Christian talk about the poor in derogatory terms, when I see a Christian emphasize traditional morality over love, I become upset, angry, and doubtful.
Doubtful of my own belief, doubtful of my faith. Doubtful about the reality or credibility of Christianity. I begin to become upset at the people, and therefore let it alter my own belief. I become upset at the institution, at the flawed individuals, and at the opinions that become attached to Christianity.
I do not become upset at the word’s of Christ. I do not become upset at his miracles and his works. I do not become upset at the Christians who lay down their life overseas to minister and serve others. I become angry, infuriated, at the comfortable (little c) christians I see all over the place. And it makes me not want to believe.
In many ways I identify with Gandhi:
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
I need to realize that, instead of measuring my faith by the individuals of the Church, I must measure it by the person of Christ. My faith is a subjective pursuit, something I determine, something I choose. I need to realize that my faith is my own, and those who spout these opinions are not a part of my belief, but a part of a strange manifestation of it.
In many ways I am a Kierkegaardian Christian, especially in the manner that:
For Kierkegaard Christian faith is not a matter of regurgitating church dogma. It is a matter of individual subjective passion, which cannot be mediated by the clergy or by human artefacts.
I have to recognize that faith is not a matter of following the opinions of others, but of finding my own faith through “subjective passion.” Only then can I have a faith that is truly personal and truly my own.
- tideofthought posted this