Every once in a while, a theological debate surfaces on YWS, usually bashing Christianity and Christians everywhere who, like you (even if you aren't Christian) just want to be accepted. Some believers will try to tell you about our faith, it's what we do. It's what we are called to do. But some just keep pushing.
The ironic thing is, all of these essays and debates surface because people refuse to accept Christians as they feel Christians don't accept them. Although the only reason I'm still alive today is because of my faith, I'm not going to write a biased essay. So instead of writing an essay laying out why I feel the Christian way is the only way I want to live, my thesis is different. Rather than "Christianity is not a lie" my thesis statement is...
Acceptance is not a lie
In this essay, I'm going to actually include facts and legitimate bible quotes to outline the basic ideals of the bible and how they relate to the opinions and actions of Christians everywhere. To start, I'm going to go to the gospels. One of the more well known verses of the Bible is in Matthew, Chapter 22, verse 39.
"The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Let me be more specific. This verse does not say "Love your Christian neighbor as yourself" it simply says your neighbor. Old, young, pretty, ugly, tall, short, gay, straight, atheist, Christian. Every single neighbor. Every person you come across, you will love them as yourself. Granted, not every Christian follows this.
These exceptions are people like Westboro Baptist Church. If you aren't familiar with these people, they are know for their extremists beliefs. They are known for going to the funerals of soldiers, homosexuals and those who took their own life to degrade the lives they lived and their families. These are the Christians that make headlines, the Christians the whole world sees. Are all Muslims extremists? No. There are extremists in every religion. Including Christianity. But people rarely take the opportunity to see the Christians who are doing good things for the world.
There are mission workers from Churches who go to third world countries where Christians are being persecuted. There are people in Churches who go to countries across the globe and can't tell their families where they are. Why? If someone happened to let it slip in a blog or on twitter, the effects for the missionaries could be disastrous. Not all Christian missionaries set out to convert people. They set out to offer help. One great Christian Organization is Called World Vision International. The organization is made to send food to hungry people all over the world to keep them healthy. These people aren't necessarily put in danger for what they do, but they do a lot for the world and demonstrate the ideals in the Bible that every Christian sets out to follow.
Now for the "believers" who maybe aren't so great. I mentioned the Westboro Baptist Church earlier. I'm sure you all heard about the death of beloved Comedian, Robin Williams last month. Robin Williams was a good man who inspired laughs and smiles from people all over America. However, because he took his life, Twitter feeds implied that the Church intended to protest at his funeral and degrade him and his family at what was supposed to be a private affair.
I just outlined two sides of Christianity. However, there are many more sides of it. There are approximately 7.5 billion people on this planet and we're rapidly approaching 8 billion. 32% of the population of the world identify to be Christians. This adds up to approximately 2.4 billion Christians on the planet. Out of these Christians there are 41,000 different organizations and denominations. This just proves my point that saying "most Christians" is a completely inaccurate statement. Just as it would be offensive to say that "most" people in a race believe something, it's offensive to say that "most" people in a religion believe something else. The only way to group all Christians as a whole is with this statement:
All Christians believe in God the Father, and they all believe that Jesus Christ died so they could go to Heaven.
In fact, the single most popular and well known verse in the Bible is John 3:16 For God so loved the world, he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Please don't get confused by this verse. This verse means that if you believe in Jesus Christ, you will have eternal life in Heaven. Not that you're invincible on Earth. (haha)
Now on to what people believe. This is a quote taken from the essay I am responding to. "It is indoctrinating their minds and brain washing them to mindlessly follow this book, and it causes much harm in many areas of life. They try to stop scientific progress because it goes against their beliefs, they try to ban gay marriage because to them that's a sin, and they just sit around and point fingers, and then call themselves the loving people of the world. It is hypocritical and it is another failure of the Christian culture. If God is love, why aren't His people? Why do they attack the right to marry someone you love because they're the same sex? Why do they fight the right to have a choice in abortion, because sometimes it is a choice that is needed for women. It is their bodies anyways."
That statement isn't true. What you're talking about is scientific advances and reproductive rights. I'm going to tackle this common misconception starting with abortion.
Most Christians don't believe abortion should be legal under any circumstance Let me clarify what I mean by this. 20% of Christians said they thought abortion should be legal under any circumstance. 22% said it shouldn't be legal in any shape or form, case closed. However that leaves the remaining 58% (the majority) of Christians who didn't believe abortion was a yes or no issue. The popular belief with any group of people is that abortion should be restricted, but not entirely. As far as gay marriage goes, an average of 60% of Catholics (a growing majority) actually completely supports gay marriage. Catholicism is one of the dominant Christian denominations. However, it varies with other denominations as well.
As far as the laws in Leviticus that say whoever lays with someone of the same gender shall be stoned... that part? The only part of the Bible that people seem to be familiar with? News flash: The Bible was written thousands of years ago. When Jesus came he established a covenant. This covenant says that sin doesn't send you to hell. This is the same thing as saying Southerners are bad people because their ancestors were slave owners. My ancestors and the ancestors of believers and non believers everywhere, yes. They did kill homosexuals simply because they were homosexual. But until I kill a gay person, or until every single believer on this Earth kills a homosexual, it's not right to act like we do. Especially for a law that existed thousands of years ago.
For the very last leg of my essay, I'm going to cover the topic of hypocrisy. I have just outlined the ways in which the Christian belief calls Christians to be accepting. While this doesn't mean all Christians follow that rule, many of them do. But I'm going to turn the table. The essay I am retaliating to was rude, vulgar and degrading when talking about Christianity in their claim that "most" followers of Christ aren't accepting. In reality, in most parts of the world, Christians aren't being accepted.
Statistics show that between the years of 2006 and 2010, Christians were publicly harassed in 139 countries, making Christianity the religion most persecuted in the world. In 2014, an average of 180 Christians are killed every month for their faith. This adds up to an estimation of 2,160 believers in the year of 2014 alone.
Honestly, I didn't write this essay to bash anyone's religion or to make their opinion seem illegitimate. I wrote this essay to show you that Christians are taught to be accepting people, whether they actually are or aren't is up to them.
I believe that accepting others is what we are called to do as people. Not just as Christians or as atheists or even as boys or girls, blacks or whites. We all need to accept each other as human beings. I initially wrote an entire essay on why I feel Christianity is the best way to live. And then I realized that for some people, it just isn't. Whether you're Christian or not, I will love you as I love myself. That's what my faith tells me to do, and that's what we are called to do as homosapiens.
So please, I beg you. Just learn to live as one, as a unit. There is room for everybody on this Earth (until we reach 8 billion people, and then we're screwed). I know that if we work together, we can learn to accept and respect the people around us. We can create a world in which we see each other through the same set of eyes, no matter what their beliefs are. Every person deserves a chance. Please, take this into account. We are the next generation. We can change the world. And while I usually don't like Michael Jackson, I'm going to reference one of the wisest things he ever said.
I'm starting with the man in the mirror.