Saturday, March 21, 2009

AHHHHH Life is Fun.....

I spend way too much time analyzing life.

If I complained to you that I hated cold weather and you told me you loved it, would that put our friendship at risk?

If I said I could never live on the East Coast (which I actually love, this is hypothetical) because everyone is in a bad mood and you vehemently disagreed, would that cause us to then distrust each other?

If I said I was a Marxist communist (I am not) then you told me you were a radically pro-Capitalist.... well, that is when it might get a little heated....

However, have you ever known a topic so volatile to emotions, that can threaten close relationships and cause so much deep distrust as the topic of religion?

If you were wrong about the date of your spouses birthday, it might be hurtful to them. If you told a colleague that he had bad breath or a piece of food in his teeth, it might be embarrassing for both of you, but you'd forget it. However, if you say anything to someone about their religion, you can deeply offend them and often times it would require a heartfelt apology for them to be on speaking terms again. If they don't seem offended, often they back away emotionally from you or begin to distrust you. 

Religion cuts so deeply into our self-image and core identity we immediately feel defensive or attacked if anyone even questions what we believe. What is it about spirituality that permeates our pride and fear? We are terrified to be wrong about our values and religious beliefs. History is littered with wars whipped up by tyrants using our faith to get us to risk our lives.

If our image of God, our ideas of God are held up, scrutinized and mocked by someone we have even a modicum of a relationship with, we are shaken to the core. (Not everyone of course, but people in general.) 

Continually I am shocked by people who are so emotional or offended by our criticism of some of Adventism's doctrines. It is not theology to them, it is personal. I have not criticized a set of doctrines, I have personally slashed them--so they believe. This is a ubiquitous reaction of everyone I have encountered regardless of religion, so I am not particularly picking on Adventists.

I would love to have some input as to why you out there believe we are so profoundly wrapped up in our own ideas about God. Do you think that we somehow place ourselves into our image of God so that when anyone criticizes God we believe they are criticizing us?