Niki Made Her Choice and, Apparently, So Did We...
That was the title of the latest article I read on Internet Monk.
It reminds me of this 'My way or the Highway' stinkin thinkin at times.
I wanted to point out right now that this subject matter isn't placed here due to my beliefs, or how yours are wrong or right. Its just an example to view things a bit different. I'm using this hot topic as an example only.
END of disclaimer, and BACK to the Internet Mock article!
It was an interesting to me. It was a story of a make believe person named Niki from Japan that came to America for a short period of time to attend a Christian School for a year.
She came to America as an atheist, and went back to Japan as an atheist as well. Why? She believed in evolution, and if you are Christian you just can't believe that!
Evolution isn't the subject matter of the article, but throwing people under the bus over it is. Evolution wasn't worth throwing away this person over.
I speak about many churches and pastors on my blog, and I would never go as far to tell them they are NOT a believer just because I can't accept their dogmatic doctrine. I may not agree on their narrow view of things, but I can see they believe in GOD!
Doctrines you MUST believe or ELSE!
You hear in church all the time about the 'throw away society'. They are so quick to throw away their marriages. They are to materialistic. They love their sin.
To me you can have strong beliefs about one area, but WHY throw people away if they just can't get their mind around ONE small section of the bible like this subject - creationism?
Wouldn't Jesus want us to show them other portions of the bible that would TURN their whole life around? I have seen scare tactics within churches that if you don't agree with some portion than they seriously question your faith in GOD!
YOU know - MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY!
I have seen it in all kinds of areas. If you allow your children to trick or treat on Halloween. If you are taking depression medicine. If you waffle back and forth on certain tragic circumstances with HOT topics like abortion or homosexuality! If a woman works than she is allowing daycare to raise her children.
Don't struggle or question or you are OUT!
Here is a portion of Internet Monk's article, and the comments are also thought provoking! TO ME its interesting to read, and the comments were awesome! They get you thinking! That's the POINT!
Here is the quote:
So Niki, who heard the Gospel message of God’s love, life and forgiveness in Jesus, also heard that non-Christian science mostly can’t be believed, most scientists are atheistic conspirators in a plot to eliminate God from our culture and real Christians renounce any belief in the conclusions of secular scientists and embrace Creationism.
Niki, who heard about Jesus for weeks and weeks in her Bible class, could not bring herself to believe in creationism, so she cannot be a Christian.
Did Niki meet anyone who believes the Bible is true, but didn’t believe that science is a vast conspiracy? That the answers aren’t all to be found in the Creationist movement? That you are not forced into the “either/or” choices between Jesus and science that so many Christians insist on? No one knows, but if she did, they were few.
Did Niki receive any encouragement from someone who had managed to answer these questions and still survive as a scientist in the evangelical community? Did she meet anyone in the sciences who still believed in Jesus and the Gospel? Did she meet anyone who was a professing Christian and also a person who worked in mainstream scientific fields of research or academics?
So Niki has gone back to Japan as an atheist. The seeds were sown and perhaps they will take root and bear fruit. Perhaps one day Niki will write and say that she has placed her faith in Jesus and has abandoned her confidence in the usual scientific models of the origin of the earth and human beings. Perhaps Niki will tell us she found a church and has given up her beliefs in science so she could embrace believing in Jesus.
If Niki goes to MIT, or works for NASA or cures cancer or AIDS, will she remember her journey among evangelical Christians as an encouragement to be a great scientist?
Or perhaps Niki will go on being an atheist.
For many Christians, that will continue to be an acceptable outcome.
My first thought when I read this? Major BLECK! The sad part? Its true of some Christians.
Try to FORCE someone to believe one certain aspect instead of talking about Jesus and what he wishes to give? I'd rather start with Jesus. God can get a hold of people on his own, and transform what he wishes to transform. Why do we forget that part?
As one poster said:
We should be careful of which “facts” we become dogmatic over or we fail to become salt and light and risk becoming a poison instead.
Another poster mentioned they were a teacher, and they spoke of the fear of even talking about certain areas. Here is the quote:
I love talking about the Large Hadron Collider. I think it’s fascinating. But when I explain what it is and what scientists hope to learn from it, I get students who are both awed and some who are furious. Why the anger? At that age, I think some of it is just sub-culturally absorbed, but for others… Anger is often a mask for fear; they can easily be triggered by the same stimulus, and both are a basic psychological means of dealing with a problem or unwanted element that are often conjoined for this reason. But if this anger that arises is really a mask for fear, then why the fear? This suggests to me that people’s faith is fragile. They have to protect it from the evils that might shatter it, and then what would they have? Wouldn’t it be wiser to find ways to strengthen that faith as opposed to just sticking it in a plastic bubble?
I think we all know there are areas that we struggle in, and we shouldn't go there! We all have different areas.
For example you would NOT want to send an alcoholic into a bar to share the Gospel! If you wanted to reach those in the pub? Sending people that don't struggle with alcohol would be a GREAT idea! To the alcoholic? That could be a stumbling block, and maybe send them to speak to the swim team instead!
PLEASSSSSSSSSE DON'T EVEN GO THERE!
In college I enjoyed learning about different faith systems. I took classes, read books, and studied the different beliefs. It was truly exciting for me. I not only got the history, but a good look at what and why they believed certain things. I'm sure my 'history' bug was part of that. I truly LOVE history!
I also realize that some would be put off by that. WHY would wish to do that? YOU might FALL into their TRAP! That may lead you into sinful areas! You may LOSE your faith in GOD!
(Shakes head) It may very well do that to them, because that is something they may struggle with. I had no issue whatsoever there, and if anything it strengthened my faith! Some may question my walk and commitment because I went places that may tempt some. It didn't tempt me at all, and them saying it MIGHT have doesn't change that either. 'WELL IT COULD HAVE!', they say. Sigh.
Sometimes I wonder if opening people's minds at bit may make them fear that they will lose their faith. Faith can't be all that strong if you have close yourself up completely. Fear is NOT something our faith wishes us to have in this area is it?
They can't even wrap their minds around this difference, because its MY WAY or the HIGHWAY!
I do tend to wonder at times if faith IS fragile for some people. I read some beliefs by some about HOW they refuse to celebrate Christmas for example. I don't have an issue with them NOT wishing to celebrate it like others do for their own personal reasons, and how they realize this may trigger something within them they wish to avoid. That's fine! When they question MY faith and walk because I don't have the same triggers? That is an area we can use different people for different purposes. We are custom afterall!
People will use 1 Corinthians 8 in a way to show you that you must believe as I believe or ELSE! In the case of Niki from Japan? Was their stern belief in the creation story ONLY worth losing her completely?
Why can we NOT allow God to move her in that area (if we feel its needed) while we show her that Jesus loves her, and he wishes her to be saved? I mean is God NOT going to allow her INTO heaven if she still questions the big bang theory for example compared to the story of creation?
Would our STERN policy on creationism not cause her to stumble? Do our 'must have' doctrines cripple our ability to share the Gospel?
As one poster stated:
I think another stumbling block for non-believers is the stubborn (and possibly dishonest) refusal of many Christians to admit the obvious: the Bible is really, really hard to understand. It doesn’t “explain itself” and it requires a great deal of knowledge that can only be gained outside of its own covers.
That was profound to me!
Science to me at least opens doors to what God created on this earth that may not be covered in the bible. I mean THINK of atoms and molecules for example. We have learned ALOT from the study of those! Its impacted every area of our life.
It's amazing the knitting that God did to place things together they way he did. I mean WOW! The more we understand about the science the more we advance all kinds of things. I realize SOME good and SOME bad okay?
Do I believe hook, line and sinker every aspect of science? Heck NO! Do I have to in order to accept Science?
I wouldn't think so since there are all kinds of theories out there that were proven false. It doesn't mean the study of the molecules and atoms aren't still pretty AWESOME! If you think about it some FAILED theories open doors for others that were beneficial to us.
I JUST don't understand the fear of science or psychology for example. I don't agree with all aspects of it, but some of it makes a lot of sense! What is even stranger? That KNOWLEDGE made parts of the bible more clear to me as well! Imagine that?!
The article that the Internet Monk linked to another interesting one as well. One of the stories spoke about a man that was a Scientist. He was a strong Christian man, and yet his occupation separated him in alot of ways from the other believers. He would be stepping on fragile areas if he spoke of his work to often.
Here is a quote from Timstafford's Blog:
Over the years, this became problematic for my friend. He was loyal to his church and appreciated its work in his life. But his life as a scientist was completely excluded. Most of his day was spent in the laboratory. His ambitions and joys were largely wrapped up in his research, but he felt that talking about it with church friends was awkward, almost embarrassing—as though he were describing an intimate bodily function in mixed company. As the years went by, and he became an increasingly prominent scientist, this split existence became more and more uncomfortable to him. He grew increasingly detached from the life of the church.
MY way or the HIGHWAY!
Why his work was worth throwing him away? Why is that acceptable to treat others like that?
We deal with domestic violence on this blog, and over the years I have alot of letters from men, women and children that have left the church AFTER they left the abuser!
The church couldn't accept what had happened between these people within the marriage. They couldn't accept that their spirit was being crushed, and their bodies were being damaged. They couldn't accept that words: corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. I mean the bible says that? Sounds a bit stronger than 'verbal unkindness' for example doesn't it?
Our strict doctrine on how we deal with marriage pushes people RIGHT out of the church! I do feel that marriage is important, and YES it is what God would wish. YES I do believe he hates divorce, but he also hates alot of things. In most cases? I believe marriage is the best way. When you get into an abusive situation? It gets a bit sticky for all kinds of reasons.
I cry at the brokenness of people dealing with down right evil within their homes, and they are asked to PRAY only! Given some speech about how they are NOT in the Will of God if something doesn't happen according to HOW others see things!
Its like they don't even listen when people TALK!
Science isn't something that has to scare you.
Freeing a person from the cycle of abuse can be a good thing! I realize people go straight to divorce when I say that, and THAT is NOT what I'm talking about! I was thinking healing of the abuser and their family.
Niki could have gone home as a Christian, and she didn't due to doctrine.
The scientist was pushed out of the church due to his occupation, and an unrealistic fear of science.
When the going gets tough? The doctrine doesn't save them.
We throw them under the bus, and people leave the faith.
Its like common sense is something evil!
How inspiring we would be if we were free to open our minds! How much FRUIT could we show if we didn't have FEAR of things due to church doctrine! How inviting we would be if we didn't allow differences to automatically shut others out of the faith!
When do they take the speck out of their own eye?
Doctrines have purpose. The mission of the church as purpose. The bylaws of organizations have purpose.
When those are used to SHUT people out? That's a bottleneck! When people don't feel welcome, and when people feel they can't speak freely? When doctrine is used instead of compassion, grace, and love we are telling others MY way or the HIGHWAY!
Its not that people don't want to HEAR and LIVE the word of Christ! Its that they are being told they CAN'T due to rule one, rule two, and....
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