|We have a God that is knowable|
With the rise of Christianity in Singapore where 1 out of 5 are Christians, some may be perturbed at the increasing radicalization of faith. They call it a belief in God, an idea per say, grounded in hope and faith rather than a tangible experience of knowing God in absolute certainty. If God is only a human idea, then why are we so radicalized as to take on zealous actions for what we do not know for certain is truth. This argument is perhaps flawed and is driven largely by an argument that all religions lead to the same God, a universalist point of view. But it does raise questions whether Christians have been too radical and gone beyond a blibical mandate, and too sure of themselves that what they are doing is right especially in areas where harm are caused when many issues are grey and one cannot be 100% certain. Yet, God is knowable and not an idea made up by men.
Christianity has become rather diluted with many agendas, many of which are foreign to the revealed Christ of the bible. For example, if we say that we believe in Jesus Christ, surely, our religious faith is bounded by following Jesus Christ. Yet, the Christ of the bible is so different than the Christian Right who has gone outside the mountain of religion and went after the basic rights of gays including putting them in prisons, executing them, and denying them gay marriage. Yet, the Christ of the bible focused on proclaiming the good news of Salvation in Christ, healing people of sickness and infirminity, and feeding the thousands that came to Him.
There is a surprising disconnect between people who say they believe in Jesus Christ, and their actions per say. If we have faith and belief that Jesus Christ is God, and our Lord and Saviour, surely, this world would have been a very different place. The real issue is not so much a belief in God, in the Christ incarnate, but a belief in themselves their own righteousness and ability to adhere to religious laws for which Christianity becomes a cloak. They have become known for their anti-gay aggenda rather than the love of God.
We may proclaim that most Christians doesn't know God, on the grounds that many Christians exert that God is unique apart from all other gods of this world. This is presuming that all gods are the same! and so we can't know God until we see God in every religion. Yet, the bible makes an incredible assertion that God is distinct and knowable, apart from other gods. He put humanity in the Garden of Eden to have a relationship with mankind. The character and attributes of God are discrenable. As the old hymn says, "I know whom I have believeth".
The book of Genesis also talks about the fall of man, the fall from grace and how sin and Satan entered into the scene and humanity started to worship the created rather than the creator. It is a spiritual world where demonic and angelic being exist, more real than our world. They come into our world residing in religions longing to be worshipped to hijack the worship of God from mankind.
The bible is a story of redemption set in a environment of extremely violent and sexually charged religions. The nation of Israel, became a show room for God, set apart to reveal a God different than the prevailing gods around the region. The laws were the directions set to separate Israel from the religious practices around the nations, the 1st and 2nd commandment exalt them not to worhsip the created brings as gods. The final revelation came in Jesus Christ, where God became flesh and walked amongst us. Therefore, God is knowable, He wants to make Himself known and has left the Holy Spirit with Us, to continue on that tanglible connection with God.
Faith is not an idea that cannot be proven. We are called to live by Faith for what is unseen by our human eyes, but faith is no lest tangible. For Abraham was called by Faith to move out of Haran, the reality of which was only seen a few hundred years later when He became the Father of an entire nation. His Faith led Him to walk with God, who showed him that the descendents would filled the sky. It is Faith in the promises of God rather than Faith in the existence of God Himself, for God spoke to Abraham often. Abraham went out of his pagan religious gods, and decided to listen and obey the God of Israel. There were many voices, many religions, many gods, yet Abraham followed the God of creation.
It is not Faith in God that we should be addressing as if our faith in God somehow defines the existence of God. The writers of the book of Genesis, did not question the existence of God. For them, the existence of God is self evident ie “God exist”. Is this God a mystery? Is the nature and attributes of God knowable and if so what does God wants? God is not so much a mystery because God chose to make Himself known in creation in Psa 19. In Rom 1:19,20, God wants to be known and has qualities of eternal power. God was in action, His power can be clearly seen. God’s divine nature, everything in creation is a “sermon” declaring who God is.
We need Faith to believe that Jesus Christ is God, is our Lord and Saviour. It starts with a belief, and grows to a knowing of God beyond a reasonable doubt. It is a communion with the Holy Spirit no less real than talking to another person.
We become extremist or fundemantalist Christians when we do not follow Jesus, and live by the law instead of by Grace and in the leading of the Holy Spirit. Like other religious fundamentalist our belief in our religion is then summarised to a set of laws which we want everyone to obey, and we become gods giving out the penalties if these laws are not obeyed. What a difference to Jesus Christ and the quiet nature of the Holy Spirit! We have been consumed by the Spirit of the Pharisses, the Spirit of legalism and self righteousness, fogetting the heart of God.The anti-gay movement now spreading across the churches is but an opium to make them drunk with their self righteousness to cause harm so that their actions can become as sin unto God.
The gods of this world perhaps started as ideas we create but no less real being impregnated and known by the demonic beings who longed to be worshipped. However, they too like us are the created whilst God is the creator. We are created wonderfully, not only to exist but to live, to have a conscience, a free will to decide between good and evil, an ultimately to decide to worship either God our creator or the many gods and religious systems that we create.
Christianity has probably never evolved but has dissolved into a political and religious institution since the 1st century Christians. In AD 313, when Constantine came into Rome winning the battle by bearing some say the mark of Christianity (which is now a religious symbol in many churches), Christianity fell. Jesus Christ came being God's grace and mercy, whilst the church had fallen bearing the sword of man for war and dominion. The Catholic Church has since dominated with over 1 billion adherants with a religious construction/order and laws that bind people to a belief that prevents them from knowing Jesus Christ. Only the Pope and the Mother of Mary would have direct communion to Jesus, as we go through them and the priests and the past saints.
True Christianity is not an evolving set of laws and sacraments, but is based on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, with the Holy Spirit as our friend and helper walking daily with us if we chose to have communion and relationship with Him. Hence, every Christian living in truth has become living bibles, their lives too protraying the work of God in humanity as we become the hands and feets to continue on the ministry of Christ.
A true Christian extremist is one who loves, gives grace and mercy in an extreme manner. You would find them in the streets helping the sick and the poor, giving shelter to the sexual workers, giving assistance to the foreign workers. They would be visiting the AIDS patients in jails and hospitals giving them reasons to live on. Their love and unconditional acceptance would even extend to the GLBT community. It is extreme love that knows no bounds rather than the hate, prejudice, and self righteousness demonstrated by the Christian Right. Ultimately, Jesus Christ was the extremist whom they crucified because He loved us too much, and they wanted to continue on to worship their gods of religion.