Thursday, May 19, 2005

chosen paths

I've never made any secret of the fact that I'm a christian, despte my deep misgivings about the modern day church. But today I read a blog post that really crystallized some of what I felt about the church. I've been reading Tym's blog for some time now, enjoying the vignettes about her life and work but today's post really made me sit up and think.

She's right in some ways though. I may be christian, but I'm not blind. I quote from her post

"Then there's the plain fact that the moment anything gets institutionalised --- education, social assistance, healthcare, exercise, religion --- it tends to go straight to hell in a handbasket"

A sentiment I thoroughly agree with. Everything always starts out well in terms of ideology, its when it comes to applying it to real life that mucks it up completely. Anything that becomes systemised or institutionalised just basically seems to calcify and rot from the inside eventually. There was so much bad press about communism that I didn't find out what it was really about until I went and read Marx's manifesto and realized the dream had nothing to do with the reality.

I left church for very much the same reasons she did. I was in university receiving a liberal arts education and all those new ideas just led to the questions no one in church could or would answer. In fact, one tended to be villified for asking too many questions. Churches, like all other institutions, need tame followers, not potential trouble makers. For me, the end was when a cell leader openly declared her admiration of President George W Bush as a christian leader and voiced her support for the Iraq war. As I recall, she could not answer even simple questions about his other policies and grew annoyed when I harped on about the Kyoto Protocol.

I doubt I'll ever resolve my problems with the current stance of the church over contentious and possibly incendiary issues such as gay rights, gay marriage and abortion. I hate the fact that christians are associated with abortion clinic burnings and small minded homophobic men.

But all this being said, I still went back to church in the end. I can't quite bring myself to abandon my faith altogether and most of Jesus's actual teachings still have as much attraction for me as they did when I was 14.

I'll never be able to swallow everything churches tell me wholesale, because that's who I am. But I know that with all institutions, you have to accept the good with the bad. I survived three years in NUS after all.

I'm back in there because despite what everyone says, I really do believe in God. No matter what evolutionists tell me( and yes, I have read their arguments) I refuse to believe in a non creationist view of life in general. I suppose for me, God and the church will always be separate in my mind. The church can go ahead and claim it speaks for God, but I for one, will never really buy it.

In the end, my view is that everyone has to find their own way to God. I'm glad I took my time with it and didn't cave in to well meaning but pushy friends.

I'm generally still meandering my way around, having come to the conclusion that I want to stick with being a christian and I won't claim to know "the way, the truth and the life".But I guess that finding out your own raison d'etre is part of growing up, part of the experience of life itself.

All I really have to say to non christians who like trashing christianity( and no, Tym's not one of them) is for them to just leave it alone. Trashing it won't make it go away and there are more constructive ways to spend your time. I don't feel the need to apologize for pesky evangelizing people, having never been one of them, but I do have to say that pushy, annoying, no-respect-for-boundaries type people exist in every race, culture and religion. I've frankly met just as many pushy annoying atheist 'evangelists' and except for a slight difference in phraseology, they're both equally irritating.


Blogger Woof! said...

hey.. this was a really thoughtful post..

I'm not religious, but have always struggled with (i) the need to toe the line when it comes to certain teachings, (ii) how much of the rules are man-made / what u believe your religious obligations are, and (iii) who are u to decide what religious rules are wrong?

like, if a catholic uses artificial contraception, does it vitiate his/her faith?

or, the one which i believe I will get flak for: whichever way i read the bible, pre-marital sex and even making out (as long as it causes u to have "sinful" thots) is "wrong".. so what makes the individual christian entitled to carry on nonetheless?

7:56 AM  
Blogger limegreenspyda said...

i share your sentiments too.

stopped going to church recently, for not unlike reasons as yours.

it irks me to see how man bends the words of God to suit himself, and how sometimes those steeped in their faith can be the blindest and least sensitive of all. i believe God exists, but it's not for man to put Him in their own little conformist boxes.

8:35 AM  
Blogger jeffyen said...

I tend to follow Mark Twain's "Never let school get in the way of your education." to "never let current church teachings get in the way of faith." :)

I too disagree with many current happenings. Bush's election victory seriously woke me up to the sheer absurdity of it all. I was so angry that day (I wrote it in the blog) that I decided to quit 'Christianity' for a day, but promised to return the next, ready to fight. I think Christ really has been severly misrepresented sometimes...

8:43 AM  
Blogger Shadow Nova said...

Woof, that which you believe you will get flak for, let's go right back to the beginning. I'll probably get more flak for this :)

(Skip it if you're not interested in some potentially warp christian logic)

What defines pre-martial sex? Sex with somebody before you are married.

But what defines when/who you are married?

Is it when you sign on some paper officiated by the government?

Or after you've lived 7 years with the same person, where in some countries, the person is considered your legal spouse with or without a wedding or certificate.

Or is it when a man "cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh", hence sexual consummation defines the wife.

If you go by the bible, it seems that a man see a woman he likes, he took her as his wife. The meaning of "took" certainly did not refer to carrying her around by hand. :)

Sometimes they had feasts after the Act, sometimes they had it before.

Christ said the woman at the well had 3 husbands. This implies sexual consummation defines the marriage.

In other words, if a christian think it's "just" having pre-marital sex, think again. He/she is essentially married to whoever it is. If he/she is having one partner after another, he/she is essentially committing adultery after the first.

That is at least my take on the issue. Because ultimately, no ceremony, vows or certificate of marriage will make a person treat the relationship as a marriage unless their heart wills it so.

If two christians had sex, they should be responsible to each other as husband and wife. That makes "making out" quite a serious affair now doesn't it? :D

12:05 PM  
Blogger adinahaes said...

woof!: I supposed I've always believed that no matter what we do/or avoid doing we're all equally in the same boat. So that does mean the ordinary christian certainly isn't entitled to carry on. and yes, I do agree that many of the rules are man made but again that applies to all religions and ideologies, not just christianity.I'm pretty sure that Marx did NOT envision the state Russia and China would sink to after taking and using his ideas.

I agree with what Jeffrey said, " never let current church teachings get in the way of faith" =)

The church is as much a social institution as a spiritual one and most of the rules are in place to bind us to current social norms which may or may not actually reflect Jesus's teachings. ( They may pretend to, but heck, one thing you learn in law school is that rules can be interpreted to achieve just about any outcome you desire).

8:33 PM  
Blogger blubbering nonsense said...

hihi! can i link you to my blog?

12:03 AM  
Blogger adinahaes said...

hi blubbering nonsense,

sure, you can link me =)

I'd feel honoured.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Woof! said...

hey.. yeah, my comments were def directed at all religions, just that I'm a lot more familiar with the protestant faith..

6:50 PM  
Blogger jeffyen said...

maybe can form support group...recovering Christians... :)

6:19 AM  
Blogger adinahaes said...


I would join that hypothetical support group.


9:12 PM  
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12:23 PM  

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