In any discussion forum on religion and spirituality, it is not uncommon to see questions asked by religious people with an agenda to influence others to follow their theology or way of thinking. I have been guilty of this too. I thought I was sharing the good news of grace, at least based on what I understood back then. Having chosen to step away from the christian religion recently, I have been mostly sharing foods for thought and personal reflections in my own blog instead of participating in discussion forums, and no one needs to feel obliged to agree with my views in my blog.
Having said that, I am coming to learn that human relationships are more important than having the “right” doctrines. After all, all doctrines are human opinions anyway, and every denomination seems to think they have the “right” set of doctrines and others are misled by the devil, so to speak.
Someone said the following, and I think it is so true:
“Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people. Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all his children. Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as I am in how you choose to live and give….” Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
It can be disappointing, therefore, when we look at religion from the outside, we see the religiosity still being perpetuated in discussion forums by some people who choose to value their doctrines over human relationships. For example, in a particular discussion forum, someone asked christians to share a difficult experience in their christian life that eventually strengthened their belief in the Lord, showing that He is real and cares for them. This sounds like a sincere question at first glance, and a number of christians gave their honest answers about their struggles. One particular christian openly shared about her struggles with health problems. Yet the person who asked the question later ignored her testimony completely, and did not even say any word of comfort and encouragement to her. Instead, she favoured another christian’s testimony just because it supports her doctrine.
One may say that this is human nature, but here, we see how religion can make people insensitive towards other people’s plights and feelings. Besides, when we look deeper, we notice that the above question was most likely a pointed question to judge those people who are finding freedom from the christian religion and questioning the idea of God. It is a controlling spirit that does not want people to be free to think for themselves. If anything, people who are coming out of the christian religion are not so much rejecting God per se; they are actually rejecting the concept of God that mainstream christianity has been preaching – that egoistical, vengeful and judgmental kind of God who threatens to burn people in hell for not loving Him or worshipping Him. People want to experience the freedom of discovering the kind of God that they have always intuitively known or believed in their heart – God who is unconditional Love and whose Love is inclusive, unending, universal, unchanging and unfailing.
[Post updated on 19 February 2012]