(Not) Making Sense of Christianity
I know that it’s been a long time since my last post, and I’ve kept thinking to myself…I should write a post. But then I feel that it would just take so long to catch everyone up with what I’ve been thinking about. Since I’m lazy, I would probably do a really poor job of that, but I wouldn’t want to post something that I know to be a pretty lazy post. And so I’ve sat around without any new posts.
But I’ll try something out after all.
Recently, I’ve been commenting at LDS & Evangelical Conversations. I used to read the blog a long time ago, but at some point, I just stopped reading as regularly. It wasn’t for any particular reason…it just dropped off my list.
Recently, though, it got back on my list. What intrigued me was a series of posts by Jared C. Without linking to each post that caught my eye, I’ll just say that what intrigued me about Jared was that he is someone who was raised Mormon, who had been an atheist for some time, yet who appears to have come to a very different (…Protestant?) view of Christ. He has written a series of posts attempting to harmonize LDS concepts to traditional Christian concepts (for example, his post that the traditional Christian God is the Light of Christ in Mormonism). I don’t think this is really done to say that Mormons believe the same things as non-LDS Christians — since Jared’s project also about showing that there is something missing in how Mormons understand Jesus or how they understand sin — but I do think it is very much an ecumenical project.
That being said, what I’ve been interested is seeing if perhaps he or the other regulars at LDS Talk can make sense of Christianity for me.
The premise of Christianity doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The idea of a perfect Garden of Eden, a fall from grace, the need for Jesus to die to atone for our sins…that entire setup doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Although I recognize that people do pretty bad stuff to each other, to ourselves, etc., I don’t really see a reason to categorize this as “sin” that needs to be “saved from”.
I guess the disappointing thing from my discussions at LDS Talk has been how it seems that faith or belief are really very particular, unconscious, unchosen sorts of things…this is despite the fact that my interlocutors insist that these things are chosen.
I mean, it really does seem like some people — not a whole lot, not as many people claim to be Christian — have certain experiences that drive them to give up on themselves. In so doing, they submit to God, and ??? Magic happens. That is the transformation of Christianity.
But not everyone is going to hit that rock bottom. Not everyone is going to have that sort of reaction to hitting rock bottom, even. So Christianity will elude those people.
I think I’m doing pretty well. I think I’m a pretty lucky, fortunate person. I haven’t had any real traumas. I haven’t had any serious trials. So maybe I haven’t had the sort of experiences that would cause me to give up on myself?
At the same time, I don’t see religion as much of an improvement. I see a lot of the ills in the world as being amplified by religion (although I resist saying that they are caused by religion. I wouldn’t say homophobia or sexism are caused by religion, but that these are natural human issues. But what I would say is that it doesn’t seem that religion has a great track record on helping people rise above human nature on these issues.)
So even when I see problems, I don’t think that that implies the need for a divine solution. I just don’t see it.