Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Religion: Let's Talk about It

Since I'm reading Escape, religion has been on my mind a lot lately.

I'm a Christian. I was brought up in the Baptist church, I currently worship at an Apostolic Church, but also worshipped with the Church of the Living God in college.

Some important things to note about the protestant Christian Faith:

1. We believe that religion is a choice. Even though most of us make the same religious choices of our parents, we don't believe that you're automatically Christian because your parents are Christian.

2. We believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. He came down from Heaven, died for our sins, rose in three days and now sits and the right hand of God making intercession for (i.e. saving us from) our sins.

3. We believe that anyone can be saved, if you believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead and confess your sins and belief in Jesus with your mouth you are saved [from hell]...

That's about all we agree on. LOL! Some believe that once you're saved, you're always saved. Some believe that if you sin and don't repent for it, you could go to hell just like anyone who isn't saved. Some believe that ONLY Christians are going to heaven. Some believe that only their denomination of Christianity is going to heaven... and so on and so forth.

The reason I bring this up, is because in Escape, the things that they believed saved them were SUPER outlandish. They believe that plural marriage was how God separated his chosen from his unchosen. They believe that everyone from the outside world (i.e. not wearing those ugly clothes and participating in plural marriage) is evil. They believe that the more wives a man has, the more closer he is to God. Now I'm reading this and it just sounds like a crock of shit that allows men to degrade women. BUT if you've never heard anything differently, how would you know differently?

I'm sure believing that someone rose from the dead sounds outlandish to people who aren't Christians. I'm sure believing that you can become a child of God, just by professing your faith in him, sounds nuts to non-believers. But this is what I believe, what I've been taught, what I've placed my faith in and what I base the majority of life's decisions upon.

And this is what compelled me to write about religion today. Most churches I frequent preach that the only way to heaven is through Jesus. But if someone lives in a country where Jesus has never been uttered and subscribes to another religion and follows that religion's tenets is that person doomed to hell? What if Christianity is the wrong religion? What if Islam is God's true religion? As a Christian, who's been doing [or trying really hard to do] what Christians are supposed to do, am I now doomed to hell because I picked the wrong religion? And who's fault is it that I picked the wrong one? Who's fault is it that others live in places where you can't even say Jesus? Or that I live in a country where I can freely pick a religion?

My BFF mentioned that the bible speaks of different faiths coming together in heaven. (I haven't read it myself, so this is just hearsay right now, but I do trust that she's a better bible student than I am). She thinks if you follow the guidelines of your religion, then you'll be straight. I personally believe you need to be on A team. I don't know if you need to play for Christianity or Islam or Buddha, but you need to have some connection to God and heaven other than yourself. I personally feel like, pick a team, and play for it.

So I guess the question of the day is, If I follow A heavenly book of guidelines, no matter what the religion, is my seat in heaven sealed? Or is it about choosing THE RIGHT heavenly book of guidelines?

I probably should have consulted the [Christian] scriptures to get the definitive answer on this, but my bible studying skills haven't been on point since high school... Sad.

3 comments:

ThummyB said...

Soo...

As a Christian, then I believe that you need to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior to make it to Heaven.

As an individual...I believe that ALL religions are 'man's' way of interpreting God, who is really above interpretation. I don't know if God is truly saying 'Yeah, the Jews...those are my peeps.' or if he is simply judging each person on their own actions and the strength of their PERSONAL relationship with Him. I would recommend that everyone play for someone's team (b/c religions do provide guidelines, interpretation, and accountability that is hard to master on your own), but at the end of the day, I'm not sure that God believes that anyone of us truly has it 'right'.

kay* said...

first, very brave of you to write about what can be such a touchy topic for many. kudos for doing it respectfully & intelligently.

i've always thought the same thing as you in that - if someone is on the other side of the earth and never heard of a specific belief and believes in something different - does that make them wrong? are the doomed? (very) long story short...at the end of the day i believe that if you live right...do right from wrong and just try to be a good person you'll be alright.

Brown Girl Gumbo said...

I"m with Kay - kudos to you for bringing up such a controversial topic.

T, I swear we are related!!! I too am a Christian and when I was younger I used to ask my mom, how could we be THE only ones going to heaven when so many people around the world don't practice Christianity? I would also ask, "If I was born in China and my parents were Buddhists, wouldn't I simply follow their religious practice?"

It's such a tough topic, but she told me that if you don't accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you will not enter into the gates of heaven.

I just don't know if that's true, but I guess we won't know until it's time.

Again, awesome topic!! :-)