Like most Americans, I never really thought about what I believed or why I believed it. Like the majority of unthinking Christians these days, the ones who say that Jesus approves of everybody and their sinning lifestyles simply because He loves them (confusing the terms “love” and “approval”), I was, like them, a Christian on the surface, and was easily led to believe in such things. I, like them, believed morals to be an exclusively personal thing, and I also followed along with the general theory of evolution, without giving it much thought, because I thought it was possible that God could have used evolution to create everything. It certainly sounded logical, but I didn’t stop to think that there are different kinds and levels of evolution, and that believing in one kind doesn’t automatically mean that man evolved by chance in some primordial soup. Natural selection and minute changes in species is not the same thing as the evolution they are trying to teach our children in the schools. Back then, though, I believed that science had already proven beyond any doubt through their examination of the fossil records and all the scientific facts they had collected in all their various fields of study that Darwin’s original theory was irrefutable, and that man evolved from lower forms of life, most recently monkeys, and in the distant past, a single cell forming in some chemical goo hundreds of millions of years ago. When people asked the inevitable question, “What about God?” they were patted on the head by the apparently placating scientists and teachers and told, “Well, you poor, ignorant, indoctrinated simpleton, if it will make you feel better and put your mind at ease, we’ll admit, grudgingly, that a god could exist, and that maybe it created everything through the process of evolution, because any dummy should know that our findings are definitive and indisputable.”
Most Christians, myself included, just sat back and thought, “Okay, that does sound intelligent, and it does put my mind at ease, as long as I know you aren’t attacking my religion outright, and you leave an escape clause in your findings that allows for the existence of God. After all, you are the smart ones, the brilliant scientists who have studied these pieces to our past. Your information must be accurate, because why would you want to give us misinformation and distorted facts anyway?” And so, the concept of theistic evolution was born, along with the idea that the creation story in the bible was exclusively figurative. And I bought it hook, line, and sinker, without thinking too deeply about it, as most Christians probably still do today. For most Americans who practice Christianity, who believe in Jesus, the religion has become feel good mysticism. Just watch Oprah sometime, and you’ll see that attitude: “The Jesus I believe in is a God of love, not hate!” And I was just like this once, ready to argue with true Christians that they were hypocrites and militant hate-mongers, and money-hungry organizations filling the world with unproven myths and propaganda. Is this where you are?
Then my eyes were opened.
When Dad passed away in 1994, Mom withdrew, and I think, for a time, blamed God. My brother and his wife, who had become religious, seemed to temporarily fall away from their faith a bit when God took both her mother and our dad. But like our brother before us, the rest of us eventually “got God.” Although I believe I’m a rather deep thinker about Christian ideas, I think my sister is somewhat more passionate than me in her overall faith, though some, particularly those who did not welcome her passionate commitment, might use the term “overbearing” rather than “passionate.” Still, it is quite obvious that she is more active in her faith, and I am more passive, and we’re actually supposed to be active. However, in my defense, and knowing what I know about our personalities, our differing levels of Christian involvement are merely extensions of those personalities. And we’re all farther along in our Christian walk than those who are easily swayed into giving up Christian morals by deceivers and self-help gurus who mix Christian concepts into their un-Christian world views. We all know better, my Mom and my siblings and I, for we know that Jesus did not come to love and accept everyone, but required of us believers repentance, Christian morality, and Christ-like ethics. I am sometimes appalled at how easily the general population is swayed towards immoral ideas that go thoroughly against what Jesus taught was righteous, and yet are easily convinced they are actually Christian ideas accepted by God. Meanwhile, people like us, if we have the courage to speak up and let our thoughts be known, are quickly labeled as “intolerant haters,” and “religious freaks.” You know, it’s almost as if people are hypnotized into following that simple “Jesus-of-Love-for-everyone” doctrine, and have been programmed to revolt when someone begins talking about Jesus and the bible as they really are. Then they turn right around and label these true Christians as the indoctrinated, hypnotized ones, the classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." - Matthew 10:34
I guess I never realized that faith in Christ could be so explosive, confrontational, and difficult, but it often is. Jesus stated in the bible that His coming would be like a sword dividing families, and that the door to heaven was a small door. For this reason, I feel like my concept of Jesus, as the One who will separate the “sheep” from the “goats,” is the correct one. Those who believe that Jesus accepts everyone into heaven just because He loves them have forgotten these lessons he taught about the righteous and the unrighteous, or they have ears but don’t hear, just like Jesus warned, so that they wind up “exchanging the truth for a lie,” accepting the easy interpretation that will allow them to continue living in sin, actually going against what Jesus taught, and still believe that Jesus approves because, deep down, they are “good people,” and that Jesus’ love alone will allow them access to the paradise of the afterlife. Of course, everyone, particularly those who don’t really understand or accept the Christian concept of “original sin,” believes that they are “good,” so this reasoning basically doesn’t really hold up. If we’re all going to make it just because Jesus loves us, than why would there even have to be a hell? What’s the point of choice if we’re all going to heaven, no matter what we choose to do? If you think about it all, digging deeper than just the surface concept, you’d find this interpretation of what Jesus was all about is a lie, and many are being deceived into not only believing this lie, but fighting against the truth and against those who don’t believe in this lie. The really sad part is that they don’t even realize that that is what they’re doing! Oprah and those like her are not deliberately setting out to deceive the nation, but are doing it unknowingly. Even worse, they are doing it in the name of love, peace, friendship, and even in the name of Jesus and Christian morality. And somewhere in the depths of hell, Satan is smiling.
As for my faith in Christ, at some point in the middle of the 90's, I began accumulating evidence for my belief that truly questions the validity of the evolutionary science I had blindly put my confidence in before, and evidence that shed light on exactly why scientists might try to present their theoretical assumptions as solid, unquestionable facts (and succeeding for the most part), and why they might want to refute any findings that strongly supports the theory of creation or Jesus’ divine nature and miraculous and glorious resurrection from death. These evidences are what I have spent much of my time pouring over in my monthly journal pages as I write about my walk with God.