I AM! THEREFORE, I AM?

May 2014

  The fairer reporters and pundits have tried, for example, to separate the religion of Islam from the Moslem-like groups who do many un-Islamic things "in the name of" Islam. Why then don't these same reporters and pundits (and all the rest of us, for that matter) make any effort to separate all the various flavors of "Christianity?" Probably part of the reason is that "christians" (whatever else they put on their name tags) refuse to believe that there are christian groups that do un-christian things. There are them - the Christians - and all those other people who are wrongly calling themselves by that name. 

  Christianity, like everything else, has to be something. If, for example, you say you are a prestopositotarian, people are likely to ask you just what the heck that is. If you are one, then you presumably have a pretty good idea what one is. If it isn't an illness or something you were born with, then prestopositotarianism is something that you chose to be a part of. If you chose it, then you must have wanted to be a part of it. So, you explain the "ism" to the questioner. He considers your answer in light of what he knows about you, and he can't see any relationship between how you live your life and what you've just told him prestopositotarianism is all about. He questions how you can be such as -ist if you don't do anything that the other -ists do. You say it doesn't matter that you don't subscribe to any of the rules of prestopositotarianism; if you say you're one, then you are one. He rejoins that you're talking nonsense. "If," he says, "a woman tells me she is a vegetarian, but I know she eats a t-bone steak every day, I also know that -- no matter what she calls herself -- she is not a vegetarian." You shrug; have it your own way, you say. I guess I know if I'm prestopositotarian, or not.

  Is Mr. Prestopositotarian one? I say no, because prestopositotarianism is something, and it is clearly something he isn't. So, why is he saying he is? Maybe he's just nuts. Maybe -- even though he explained the -ism to you -- he really doesn't understand what it is. Maybe he likes some part of the doctrine and so -- even though the part means nothing without the whole -- he considers himself a believer. Maybe his father was one, so he thinks he is, too. Maybe he thinks that calling himself one will be beneficial to him some way. Maybe... well, add all the maybes you like. It still doesn't change the fact that prestopositotarianism is something, and it is clearly something he isn't.

  And so with Christianity. Many people nowadays are invoking their own "christianity" or their affinity with "christianity." Some of the things that have been done -- and many more that are being advocated -- "in the name of Christ" are -- according to the very clearest of Jesus' teachings -- out and out pure SIN. From reading the christian bible, it appears to me that sin is antithetical to Jesus' life and his message. So why are these people calling themselves "christians?" Probably for all the reasons that the Mr. and Mrs. Prestopositotarians claim their -ism. Realizing this, wouldn't it be proper for folks to use the same discernment with the "christians" as we try to do with other religions, philosophies and social orders? 

  This is not just a fight about who is going to Heaven; things done in the name of religion are bringing about major changes in the world order. A lot is hanging in the balance for us, our kids, our grandkids, and -- assuming we make some of the correct choices in the next few years -- future generations.

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