Lately I’ve been thinking; why is it that so many people let religion get the better of faith? Why is it that certain religious groups think that they have the monopoly on God? What makes THEM more right than others? Why is it that some pastors, preachers, reverends and ministers feel the need to manufacture facts to support their own conclusions? Two cases in point:
Early this year, I decided to attend church services at the church where my father serves as a board member. Pastor Tim McGraw, a man whose knowledge and counsel I had come to value, was giving a message that day entitled “Living In The Days of Daniel”. During this message (commonly referred to as a “sermon”), he brought up the then-prevalent news item regarding Charlie Sheen. Pastor McGraw mentioned that a great number (the number he stated was somewhere in the hundreds of thousands) of people follow Charlie Sheen on Twitter. He went on to state that the people that follow Sheen on Twitter share and espouse the SAME moral (or IMmoral) values that Sheen does. Later that day, I got to thinking about this statement, and became rather disgusted that McGraw had engaged in a blatant politically-natured tactic: manufacturing facts to support his own conclusions.
Now, there were a lot of solid, bible-based references to support his assertion that we are indeed living in times where traditional values and morality are on a MAJOR decline. He cannot however, even hope to qualify the statement he made regarding Charlie Sheen’s Twitter readers. Now, I’m not discounting the entire sermon (bath water and the baby) based upon this introduction of falsehood, simply because I can INDEPENDENTLY support it’s conclusions based upon current events and social mores. What I AM saying, if I’m saying anything, is that I should NOT have to carry a mental BS filter with me when I attend church.
Late last year, I ran into two Latter Day Saints elders down in the parking lot of our apartment complex. We got to talking, and they asked if I’d ever been baptised. I answered them in the affirmative, telling them that I was baptised in the Lutheran faith as a small child, and then as a reaffirmation of my faith, was baptised as an adult by a pastor in the Assemblies of God churches. A few minutes later, one of them asked me that, if I was that enthusiastic and serious about my faith, why don’t I get baptised? (What he meant and explained was why don’t I get baptised in the MORMON church.) What, so when I was baptised, I wasn’t baptised? So again I ask; WHY do the Mormons think THEY are more right, have the ONLY authority to baptise, and have more a monopoly on God than anyone ELSE? If you ask me, that’s pretty damned ARROGANT.
Let me conclude by saying this: I believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe in the Holy Spirit. Yes, I believe in the Trinity. I also believe, as C.S. Lewis did, that there may be more than one road that leads to the same destination, and that no one road is decidedly better for everyone than another. Each of us must find our own way to salvation, IN our own way and time. I also believe that the truth can be found all around us. The KEY is learning how to separate the “wheat from the chaff”, the truth from the cruft.