I love this guy.
It is very, very hard to think outside of your own culture. A lot of people today at once fear and embrace relativism, saying that liberal values are at once superior to and embracing of other cultures. And there is almost no more contentious issue in the field of cultural relativism than the question of religion.
Almost everyone in the West thinks of ‘religion’ as, basically, Evangelical Christianity. They think that Muslims see Mohammed the way that Christians see Jesus, and that the Hindu scriptures (go on, try to name them*) work like the Bible. They think that the Qur’an is like the Bible and that meditating is like praying.
When you start to realise that the rest of the world’s religions are nothing like yours, you start thinking about your own very, very differently. It challenges your faith to realise that people think differently about God.
So… what if… everything were different? Here are 5 ideas to challenge a Christian worldview.
*There is no text common to all Hindu groups. Two of the most popular and widely-shared are the ancient Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita.
I have been trying to put my faith into words. It’s been hard, because I often find that when talking about Jesus, my words carry meanings that I don’t want them to. Words like being “born again” or “saved” just don’t do it justice. But by carefully defining the words ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ I think I’ve started to make some progress.
I decided in the last couple of days that simply saying ‘I believe in Jesus’ is enough. That expresses my religious faith at the moment. If I had to explain why I believe in Jesus it would get harder, but for now I have a formulation that I like.
But I still have problems.
There is no one way to define ‘faith’. The idea of ‘faith’ varies a lot depending on where and when you are using it. Faith is sometimes used more like hope, for example: belief in a good future for yourself and others. Sometimes faith means religion: the Christian Faith, the Bahai Faith, the Great Faith Traditions. St. Paul, especially important after Martin Luther, talks about Justification by Faith.
But how I want to use ‘faith’ is all and none of these things.
This is part II of a three-part series. Part I: Belief, is here.
platitude (plural platitudes)
Christians believe in Jesus, and Christians are saved by faith. This is how many people see it. If you don’t believe in Jesus, or if you don’t have the right faith, you are not saved. Now that I’m starting to see myself as a Christian I have to process this and decide where I stand on it. And I’ve decided to blog on this in three parts. First I want to look at the word ‘belief’ because there is a lot that people don’t understand about this idea. Second, I want to look at the idea of ‘faith’, because it is so central to Christianity – and all religion – and it can be seen in a lot of different ways. After that will I be able to explore my faith in and belief about Jesus more clearly.
I first encountered this song on a list of the greatest music videos of all time. I remember reading somewhere that Bjork wrote this song because she felt that people had too narrow an idea of what love is. Love is not just a feeling between to people who are ‘in love’. She is singing about a wider, broader, deeper force.
Twist your head around
It’s all around you…
You just ain’t receiving
Your phone is off the hook
Your doors are shut
This is a call for us to open our eyes, twist our heads around, pick up the phone. Love, the most precious thing, the one thing all people need, what people live and die for… is all around you! All is full of love!
The closing of the song is a reiteration of that idea, she shouts and sings the same line over and over again, rejoicing in the glory of that thought:
All is full of love!
All is full of love!
Recently I have been thinking about what the meaning of being saved by Christ is. What is the meaning of being made right before God if my sins still hurt those around me?
What kind of power does God have to save us? What kind of power does God have to make us righteous? Even if we really really want it – doesn’t the decision to do and be good ultimately lie with us? Then, what does Christ do for us? Why do Christians still do bad things? Is Christ just a ‘model’ or ‘inspiration’ to do good? What does Jesus do?
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