I am not my own
For I have been made new
Please don’t let me go
I desperately need you
— Meteor Shower by Owl City
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.
The parable of the prodigal son (also known as the lost son) is a famous story. A father left his inheritance to two sons. The younger of the sons was itching to go out and use it, to spend it: so he went abroad, and wasted his money on whores and fast living. Meanwhile the older son cautiously bade his time and tended to his father’s land. Eventually, of course the younger son ran out of money, so he took on back-breaking work. But the pay was barely enough to live off. He was starving, and eventually came to the realization that if he were to survive, he would have to return and repent to his father.
So he came home. And rather than facing the wrath of a very angry man, his father was overjoyed and held a massive celebration for the returning son. But his brother was less pleased by his reappearance. “You never allowed me a calf so I could celebrate with my friends. What gives?” To which the father replied, “I always have you around. But we had to celebrate: your brother was lost and now is found.”
I had an excellent conversation with a wonderful Christian friend yesterday. Talking to him reminded me of a very important part of the experience of being born again that I had forgotten. It means so much to me that I can’t believe I had ever forgotten it – especially having received communion (mostly) every week for the past few months in remembrance of this very moment.
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