Lately, I have wondered why I believe my religion is right. We grow up being told from the moment we are children to believe a certain thing. Our context shapes what we believe in. Often times, our parents tell us what our religion is from the time we are born and we just know that we are to believe that it’s true.
I would say that many a Christian was raised on the notion that Jesus Christ is our savior and that he died for our sins. I was certainly raised up that way and I believe that notion with my whole being. My faith in Christ is not faltering. Rather, what is happening is that I’m wondering what makes me right and even more than that, I am wondering what makes other people wrong.
I strongly believe that the reason Jesus Christ was sent to our world by God was to give each and every one of us a second chance, a clean slate. When I think about what Jesus did for me, I am in complete awe and I express my gratitude often. What confuses me is whether or not the old testament was discounted by the death of Jesus and if it was, was all of it discounted or were only certain parts discounted? This is how I see it: when Jesus died on the cross (even though this didn’t actually happen), I like to imagine billions and trillions of people (myself included) lining up in front of Christ on the cross. Each person in this line is holding a debt certificate. As Jesus is dying, He is willingly taking each and every person’s certificate and replacing his/her name with His own. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says that Jesus “died for all.” To me this means that some of the things in the old testament saying that people who have different religions don’t get to have eternal life went with those debt certificates and Jesus Christ to the grave. That same verse also says “so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose on their behalf.” This is where it gets wishy-washy. Jesus died for “all.” All means everyone. Everyone means…well…everyone. Then, it says that because Jesus died for everyone, those people will live for Him. What about the people who don’t live for Jesus Christ?
I do have hard evidence that Jesus died for their sins as well as ours. If that’s true, why do we live for Him and why do others not live for Him? I believe it goes back to the context thing. On one hand, I believe that people who don’t believe Jesus Christ came to save us all are wrong about that, but on another hand, I believe that God manifests in different people in different ways and that Christianity isn’t above any other religion. I think religion and spirituality can sometimes be contextual. Those are probably bold statements.
I am not losing faith. I am challenging faith. I think faith should be challenged. Note that when I say that, I don’t mean that God should be challenged. We are all on this faith journey through our lives and I am going through a time in my journey when I am feeling connected and faithful, yet lost and confused.
I am of the United Methodist denomination of Christianity and since I was a child I was told that God loves me and everyone else and that we have an accepting God. I was told to always be an accepting person myself and that was part of my duty to my God. I hold fast to that, and I love my neighbor. I love my Christian neighbors, my Muslim neighbors, my Buddhist neighbors, my Shinto neighbors, my homosexual neighbors, my heterosexual neighbors, my White, Black, Asian, Latino, purple, blue, polka dotted neighbors…the list goes on and on. What I know is this: God told me to love my neighbor as he has loved me. That means I love all people with all of my being because that is the way God loves me.