Why Christianity?

Sometimes it’s really hard to find a niche.

I often find it tricky to come to terms with absolute certainty.

I can relate to someone who is absolutely sure that their faith is true no more than I can relate to someone who is 100% sure that faith is completely bunk.

See, I was perfectly happy being an atheist until I had a vivid dream that came true the next day. This planted the seeds of the idea of the niggle that maybe the world that we see around us isn’t all that there is.

Hello, not an athiest any longer.

But then, I can go along to church all year until I get to Easter when I go; um, raised from the dead? It’s too much of a stretch for me to believe that that really happened. I KNOW that it could have happened but I find it really hard to come to terms with.

(Easter is such a bummer for me this year. It’s my first vegan Easter, so no Cadbury’s creme eggs, and no resurrection either. I may as well just bloody well go to work.)

It’s when I feel that I’m being asked to believe the big stuff that it all crumples a bit. It’s also when I step back and thing, hang on, is Christianity the thing for me? As far as I’ve been able to ascertain, resurrection and that whole shebang are kind of fundamental to the whole idea of Christianity. You believe that or it doesn’t make sense.

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So that’s a bit of an issue, obviously.

So why Christianity? Why is this the faith tradition that I am pulled to? Or, another question could be; why organised religion at all? I know I had a go at ‘spirituality’ recently * but it’s more the ‘manifesting your destiny’ type thing that I just can’t stand. There’s lts of good stuff in the whole ‘spirituality’ arena.

I read recently that the Dalai Lama said something along the lines of it being a mistake for people to try and move away from the faith that is dominant within their own culture. I suppose that, even if we haven’t been raised within a particular religion, we have still picked up bits of it by osmosis.

I feel comfortable with Christianity. The more I read of Progressive Christianity the more that I realise that it’s probably the thing for me. Mind you, at this stage, I’m just happy to have a ‘thing’ at all.

So, to clarify, I won’t be going to church on Easter Sunday. Not really because of the fact that the resurrection just sounds like a fairy story to me, because I’m learning to live with the incongruence of some of these beliefs. It’s more to do with the fact that my children will be collecting 600 Easter eggs (each) and someone has to try and maintain control. Doctor Who starts again on Sunday night, and if they all go into chocolate comas then we can’t watch it as the little Whovian Family Team that I’ve worked so hard to develop.

* ‘having a go’ is Australian vernacular for criticising or attacking something.

20 thoughts on “Why Christianity?

  1. Hi Eva, I don’t think I have ever felt absolutely certain about christianity, for I have had many doubts and questions. But I don’t think I’ve ever had a difficulty with the resurrection.

    It seems to me that if God can create the universe, he can certainly raise Jesus from the dead. So the question is “Did he?” rather than “Could he?”. God seems to be careful with his miracles, so why this one?

    But it also seems to me that if anyone merited being resurrected, surely it was Jesus? It seems quite appropriate that it happen.

    So that’s how it seems to me. But whether I want to be in church “celebrating” this is another question – that’s where I’m more likely to have my doubts!

  2. 1. Why must we decide about Christianity? If a Muslim or Hindu or Bahai walked up to you and demanded that you “decide” one way or the other about that religion, you’d simply burst out laughing.

    2. Best church for sidestepping all these issues: Unitarian.

  3. In truth there are few Christians who have certainty about the resurrection – what it really was and what it means. And if you ask those who do claim certainty to explain it, you can quickly find that their understandings can be somewhat fragile and they can be unaware of how conflicted the biblical accounts are.
    Each gospel writer gives us a different account. The earliest gospel, Mark, has as its original ending, the young man by the empty tomb. The earlier, pre-gospel references, in Paul’s letters, talk about it in quite different terms too.
    So you actually have a wide range in choosing how to understand this part of the faith (otherwise known as heterodoxy) and should not feel pressured by any one interpretation.
    I would strongly recommend reading Spong’s book “Resurrection: Myth or Reality” for a more in-depth examination of the area. With a couple of strong caveats: be prepared that he is so strongly focused on Peter that he downplays the story of the women; he doesn’t engage with any of the John material in any way and there is a third – but RiverSong is whispering in my ear “Spoilers, sweety”.
    He has written a subsequent book which I believe picks up the third area.
    In spite of his male ecclesiastical short comings (and we all have our blind spots), it is a really good treatment of the subject.

  4. “Each gospel writer gives us a different account.”

    Hi David, how are you? This is true, but doesn’t necessarily mean that we can choose to believe what we like, as you suggest, or to follow Spong in disbelieving in a literal resurrection.

    John Wenham has put together a historical account of the resurrection based on the assumption that the stories are different because they were told by different people who were in different locations over that weekend, and so knew some things and not others. His account shows the stories can then be understood as quite correct.

    Whether we believe his reconstruction, or Spong’s “deconstruction”, or something else is, of course, our own choice, but I think it is important to know that a historical harmonisation is eminently possible, perhaps even convincing.

  5. I thought the Resurrection and my faith were straight-forward until my parents died. It was then that my belief in the visions children had had at Fatima and Garabandal began to become more important to me (Fatima is approved worthy of belief by the Catholic Church, whereas Garabandal is neither approved nor disapproved yet). Garabandal, as a warning to priests way back in the 60s in flourishing Catholic Spain), I find compelling now. Mother Theresa believed them but internet material on it is often very cranky and bizarre. The BBC interview with the main visionary, Conchita Gonzalez, in an award-winning programme around 1980 is very credible and watchable on YouTube. Let me know if you want to sort out the genuine from the cranky on Garabandal- it’s a remarkably hopeful and joyful story. I went there myself for a week about 20 years ago. Was the death of JP2 the ‘end of an epoch’ as was predicted? Look at the facts for yourself. It’s quite amazing.
    http://www.garabandal.com/
    or
    http://www.garabandal.us/home.html

  6. “Why is that? I’m interested- if you’ve written about it can you link me?”

    No I don’t think I’ve ever written about it. I don’t know if I really understand myself.

    I know my emotions don’t always follow conventional lines – I can sometimes feel little touched by something quite sad, but feel sad about something unimportant. So I’ve always felt like I am not very spiritual, not very responsive to God – most of the time. My faith is based on evidence and logic, and a bit of stubbornness too I think, rather than on spiritual experience – which I guess is why I write about evidence and arguments.

    Church seems to be aimed at people who respond in the way you’d expect, and I often find I am quite untouched by what is going on – I think I don’t easily participate in public emotion. Then unpredictably and occasionally something hits home. I also think churches are generally not very much like what they ought to be, so that doesn’t help much.

    Overall, I think I’d rather be doing something for God rather than telling him I love him.

    • I hate public emotion. I’m with you there! The evidence and logic bit doesn’t really work for me as I often think that what is classed as evidence isn’t, in fact.
      Although your blog IS excellent…

      • Thanks for that compliment! I don’t think evidence needs to be some weighty intellectual thing. We all make choices all the time, and we base those choices on what seems most right (or at least we try to unless we are feeling really down at the time), and that means evidence. I also just try to choose what seems most true in my beliefs about God. But we are all different.

  7. Sorry if I’m intruding here quite a bit. I’m interested in the value we all place on feelings. For those of us who are parents, I think God allows us to experience in our family life something of His life in the Trinity (a community and family of love in its essence). The Catholic Church is also like this (which is why we have a Holy Father who is really a ‘daddy’ = Pope). It’s so true that one must do things for one’s children, often regardless of how one feels. It’s the law of love operating in the family that is also the essential relationship between those in the Trinity. The important thing is that it is the right, loving thing to do at the time, guided by wisdom, hopefully handed on by grandparents and so on. One may not feel in love with children all the time, but you have to try to be more and more because that’s the right thing to do.
    Feelings have a part to play but, nevertheless, it’s a side show compared to doing what is right for those you care for. You understand as an adult, but the child usually doesn’t, the discipline is necessary but the child resists, the Church exists to be one family handing on timeless beliefs (most 2000 years old), but as individuals we may all feel a pull away from that family. But look around you, that’s the pull of the individualism that’s tearing most developed societies apart. If we give feelings primacy, we would neglect our children. Feelings are a comforting sideshow where there is a timeless, objective law of love to be found and lived.

  8. So why Christianity? Why is this the faith tradition that I am pulled to? Or, another question could be; why organised religion at all?

    I’m not going to scripture you to death here. I think, as a believer in the God of a virgin birth and of a resurrected Jesus, that the answer to your WHY is that Jesus is wooing you. I don’t believe organized religion matters all that much, but that Jesus does. He died and rose for you and he is patient. He can handle your doubts and questions. And he will increase your faith so long as you keep wrestling with it. ❤

  9. Hi Eva,

    It is an interesting topic– the issue of resurrection. Even the scripture speaks about how the saints in heaven (disembodied) eagerly groan to be clothes in resurrection bodies.. There is something about identity and the “you-ness” that comes with being clothed in the body that we once had…let alone, the issue of obtaining a glory like that of the humanity of the Lord Jesus.

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