Sunday, November 6, 2016


People wonder how a Christian can believe in something that seems "too good to be true". After all - good wins in the end. Of course it does. It always does ... doesn't it?

We get to spend eternity with loved ones whose earthly lives ended before ours. We don't have to leave them again, nor do they have to leave us - eternity. It's a gimmick... isn't it?

I think part of the problem with some people's perception of Christianity at this point in society comes from the fact that many of its principles have become cliched. At best, some Christian principles have been adapted in various forms of media to the point that the morals or plot points become tired. At worst, they're parodied to the point that basic Biblical terminology becomes a punchline and its significance is lost.

Picture that you live in a world without movies or books, without any kind of historical records. All you are used to is babies being born, and people being killed or dying of old age. It doesn't even have to be a primitive society - it can be a modern, scientifically-oriented one. Somebody tells you that there is, to put it simply, an invisible part of that person that does not die, but is sent somewhere else, and that you too will go there and meet that person again when you die. Is the idea still ridiculous to you? Is it too good to be true? It'd be an unfamiliar idea to you and your theoretical society, so of course it'd be met with some skepticism, but on what grounds? The idea that you haven't thought about it. That you haven't had any time to think about it. Not the grounds that it's somehow intrinsically "too good to be true", because you have nothing like it to which you can compare it - remember that you have no fantasy novels or mythology. "Too good to be true" is a conclusion drawn from a situation where there are already a bunch of "good" (read: pleasant) ideas that end up being untrue, a situation where idealism becomes tired, and has eroded one's perception of what's possible. The fact that Christianity presents an idealistic view of life after death doesn't negate Christianity itself, and the fact that Heaven is idealistic doesn't negate the idea of Heaven. The only reason to doubt it on those grounds is a repeated pattern of hope/expectation and disappointment - but see, that's subjective. It's not even anecdotal - it's just subjective. Even though reality, as we all know, is generally worse than we would like it to be, reality itself doesn't function in a state of perpetual disappointment. People fail, but people succeed. People lose, but people win. People struggle, but people thrive. This happens in varying degrees of extremity - some minor, some monumental - thus, ultimately, there is no such thing as "too good to be true". Good wins in fantasy novels, but that doesn't mean good can't win in real life as well.

There's also the issue of Biblical concepts and terminology becoming cliches. What does that mean? We esteem anyone who is "nice", or "generous", or "gentle" in any regard, to be an "angel". We esteem anyone with whom we disagree, or who wrongs us, to be "the devil". The word "sin" is a joke. Does the average person in a first-world nation really think of the word "sin" in the same way that they think of genocide? That is, as a serious offense? Or do they think of "sin" as a silly metaphor for any kind of indulgence that would rile up people with values the see as "traditional"? The kind of indulgence that harms oneself, but not others, so it's deemed "okay"? Anybody who assists another person in some way is a "Savior". Anyone who is good at something is a "god". There are plenty of fictional characters who come back from the dead. Plenty of fictional characters who play a role in stories that's similar to the role God plays in the real world. After awhile, these words and basic ideas that are crucial to the gospel message begin to lose their significance, and the gospel is reduced to a bunch of cliched exaggerations of everyday phenomena and commonplace story elements. Of course I'm not saying that romantic hyperbole is destroying Christianity; we probably don't need to worry about being "sinful, hehe!!", there it is again, by referring to significant others as "angels". It's about the broader mistreatment of these ideas, linguistically and otherwise, by a society that largely doesn't understand them, which makes them subjectively lose meaning. And subjectivity vs objectivity doesn't mean a thing to most people: if it's cliched in our society, it's cliched in general.

There's also the less interesting, but equally relevant point that Christian principles are often thought of as synonymous with "conservative" or "traditional" values. The idea is basically that all the things one finds unpleasant about their conservative relatives, or about the society in which they live, etc can all be traced back to the role Christianity allegedly plays in it. This idea is a lot easier to refute: use the Bible as a litmus test, not people or cultures which claim to be Christian. View it objectively and with prayer - don't cherrypick a random verse where somebody is killed, and stretch its meaning until it lines up with whatever you're opposing. The ideas in God's teachings do not line up with what our world has become. People know less about the Bible than they think they do.

Take all these things into consideration. And as always, may God bless you all and guide you according to His perfect will! In Jesus' name. Amen.

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