Let me begin by saying, I don't know the answer!
Recently, Erin posted an interview of Obama's thoughts on religion as they relate to politics. We read the same interview, but walked away with a completely different perception. I do not believe that either is right or wrong, but it has me asking the following.
Why do many Christians believe that "their" Christianity is the right way while they fear or condemn the others? Do I do the same in my own practice by defending those who believe differently?
Living in Southern Baptist country, it is not hard to find examples of this denominational behavior, but I question whether or not this is The Truth. I should not pick on the Southern Baptists. Evangelical, Catholics, Assembly of God...almost no denomination is immune. Add in the Jews and others, and the issue only becomes more complicated.
Add in the Bible, which has gone through multiple translations and mis-translations, the challenges of applying it to current times, the unwillingness of some to look at the historical context, the challenges of interpreting customary behaviors and times of two thousand years ago, the love of sound-bites (i.e. taking short excerpts in to consideration rather than the big picture) and the contradictions contained within its text...just to name a few things.
All of this complication leads to uncertainty and different methods of practicing Christianity. Yet there are some Christian denominations who believe that their way is the only way. Many of the same denominations (and the followers) believe Christianity holds a privilege in this country and only Christianity should be expressed publicly. In other words, other denominations and religions should be suppressed, while Christians should be allowed to exercise freely without restriction. (I'm going to ignore the Second Amendment here, because the argument of the Framer's Intent will take far too much time and space with little bearing on the outcome in this post.)
Yet, in this uncertainty, each denomination believes they are "the ones" getting it right.
Quite honestly, I think that I do the same through my defense of Christianity as a whole. I admit my imperfection. I try to understand, but when I read and study the Bible, I am awed by how loving, compassionate, and forgiving Jesus was.
"Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT)
In any translation of the Bible, the verses in Chapter 13 emphasize what love is and isn't. Without love, nothing else matters.
It seems to me that we are directed to love-- irregardless of our approval.
Many different religions also believe in the power of love. Yet, many Christians fear and hate rather than love.
So-- I ask, what happens when you arrive at heaven's gate and find out you were wrong?
Me? I'll hope and pray that my love was enough.