Monday, May 3, 2010

Is Christianity Simply a Convenient Tool?

I read this blog post by Mark Shea yesterday and it got me thinking. The post, for those who wish not to follow the link, is an excerpt from Western Confucian which asked where all the pro-life sputtering, squawking Republicans were when Planned Parenthood was receiving over $300 million every year when Bush was president and Republicans controlled Congress. We nearly derail healthcare reform over abortion funding now but didn't bother to stop it then; why not?

Good question; I don't know the answer. Mark Shea suggests the Republican party likes to be pro-life in election years and then forget by the end of the victory celebration but I think that's a tad broad brush. I don't know the answer but it raises a point worth considering for anyone who allows their faith to affect their decisions (that should be all of us).

We need to be very careful what we use our faith for. The intended purpose (obviously) is salvation and to make us more like Christ. However, faith is a very convenient and tempting tool for other uses. It has a way of influencing topics by whipping up religious passions and offering the shield of divine justification (if God is for, who can be against?). This can be handy to be sure—injecting religion into a debate can be beneficial--but two big dangers ensue.

First, associating a cause (like immigration or global warming) with our faith makes it hard to tell the difference. When we do this it's easy to take an opposing view on the topic as an attack on our faith. Because most of us cherish our faith pretty deeply, this situation makes an honest discussion of the topic nearly impossible.

Second, it's easy to go get distracted and make Christianity about something other than Christ. When we begin to think the purpose of Christianity is to end abortion or the death penalty or this or that we necessarily remove Christ from the purpose; and therefore salvation. While it's true that there are moral issues that need defending; the issues themselves are not the purpose or the summit of Christianity. These things are important but they will pass away. Christ will not pass away; he must be our foundation and our purpose.

In the end, it's important to make sure all things we do are geared toward our salvation. As long as we keep that goal in the foremost of our minds the rest should fall into place.

1 comment:

Jess said...

"Second, it's easy to go get distracted and make Christianity about something other than Christ."

Love the post, we spend way too much time assuming a stance on issues = Christianity, and Christianity = a stance on issues. I think this same argument can be used in discussing how denominations argue amongst them selves.

"One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"" 1 Corinthians 3:4

We should all say we follow Jesus. Why do we always ask each other if we are Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant? Asking if someone follows Jesus tells you something much more important than if they attend church X.