FLOWER MOUND, TX: America is at a crossroads of faith as the question practicing religion vs Christianity is being asked. Recently, when evaluating the qualifications of devout Catholic Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) previous queries of the justice come to mind. A potential nominee for the Supreme Court, Feinstein had previously asked Barrett,
“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”
A September 7, 2017 Washington Post headline for an article by Aaron Blake read, “Did Dianne Feinstein accuse a judicial nominee of being too Christian?” The implications prompted Senator Orrin Hatch to warn that the senator was violating the most emphatic sentence in the entire US Constitution which states,
“No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
While Senator Feinstein’s statements demonstrates that even US Senators can make stupid statements, it reveals a bias toward the role of religion in the daily life of many Americans.
No one has accused nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of being too Christian, yet. We’ll see.
Dictionary.com broadly defines religion as:
“a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.”
There are several world religions: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity.
Each of these meet the broad definition of religion. However, Judaism and Christianity are more likely to ascribe to a narrower dictionary definition
“a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”
Practicing Religion vs Christianity
Religion and Christianity have differing responses among on-the-street-Americans.
- “I view religion as a handicap, it makes people closed minded.”
- “Religion is outdated.”
- “The church is a group of hypocrites.”
- “Science has superseded religion; it no longer is viable.”
Religion and Church-going are often merely social clubs. Men and women go because their friends are there, it makes them feel good, or they get to discuss the latest political buzz.
In the exercise of Sunday morning church “workout,” they are buying weights to tilt God’s scale of justice in their favor. Little thought as to how they will conduct themselves on Monday. Religious observances, business practices, and ethics/morals are compartmentalized.
Millennials are staying away from religion and the church in droves.
College students see religion as the result of superstition based on myths—science or unhindered fun has replaced religion. It has forced local congregations to step up their music programs to include full contemporary bands and fun activities to attract young people.
In many churches, the Bible they proclaim as a message from God, lies at home on the dresser or are ceremonially carried to church only to return to musty shelves when church is finished.
The hypocrisy of it all is apparent.
Faith-based Christianity is a religion, much more than a social club.
Faith-based Christianity represents a group of like-minded believers, who take the Bible as a serious document, seeking a relationship with the Creator God in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, an accepted historical person with a real message.
Church services are an opportunity to worship through prayer and learning about the One who has given His life for them and a promise of a future with Him. The principles of the Scriptures are practiced, not out of fear of eternal punishment, but as obedience and thankfulness for the great gift promised within their pages.
Why is faithfully practicing of faith considered too Christian? Christianity biblically practiced is nonjudgmental.
If one’s view of Christianity eliminates a real practice of biblical teachings, then the subject of science and the Bible is easily tilted in favor of scientific evolution.
Christianity acknowledges consequences for behavior.
But the one viewing Christianity as a living faith sees the Bible’s implications on ethics, morals, and conduct. The Bible is a book with authority and relevance in all phases of life. It is not an anvil upon which the believer must get pounded for missing church, abstaining from prayer, making poor decisions, or letting the offering plate pass unimpeded.
Let’s not jump on the theistic evolution (Biologos) bandwagon prematurely. If evolution and Christianity are to find common ground for discussion, the question must be asked: Does the Bible have reliable information? If the answer is “no,” then end of discussion.
If the answer is “yes,” then the study of the Bible and evolution can continue with mutual respect and understanding. Each camp coming to its own conclusion, but only, after an honest wrestling with the data—keeping an open mind.
The Bible’s role in faith
Are Christians being less authentic to their faith if they want a hearing on the Bible’s reliability for speaking as a legitimate source for truth? The Bible is not a strawman that can be used to summarily dismiss when discussing evolution—atheistic or theistic. It is not just another outdated historic relic pacifying the superstitious or ignorant. The reader can evaluate the evidence, weigh the testimony, and as the jurist, make his/her decision. That’s next.