Dogma? I Sneeze at Your Dogma.

I realized, in reading some of my students’ blog writings (yes, I really do read them), that quite a number of them are Christians. I guess that isn’t too surprising. What really caught me off guard is how much their open profession of faith bothered me.

As a Christian, shouldn’t I be pleased that these kids have found their faith so early in life? It took me a decade of searching to come back to the faith in which I was raised. But I think their lack of searching is precisely what bothers me. Many of the entries I read were of the “Jesus-Christ-is-Lord-of-All-and-I-Submit-Unquestioningly-to-His-Authority” variety. A few problems there: 1) If they believe that Christianity is true, to the exclusion of truth in other religions, that often leads them to believe that they should be only nominally tolerant of the sinners belonging to other religions that are inevitably hell bound. 2) I wonder who is telling them what God’s/Jesus’ authority and will should look like.

The world desperately needs an inter-faith approach to global issues of poverty, social injustice and oppression. We can’t approach inter-faith solutions until we stop trying to convert each other. I doubt God is keeping tally of each religion’s converts and conquests. And, truth be told, salvation/reunification/communion with God can only be understood by the soul it touches. It simply is not my right or my business to judge someone else’s relationship with God. What do I know of such things?

I am incredibly skeptical of organized religion. I don’t want someone telling me what to think. I love church–the ritual, the meditative contemplation, dwelling with God in the quiet of a Sunday morning. But dogma doesn’t touch my heart nor does it positively transform my life. I seek God. And I believe that God quietly guides me, if I am willing to listen. At the same time, I do not believe that the Bible is infallible or that all of it is the inspired Word of God. Hearing God requires common sense and the willingness to question my own motives. It requires questioning the authority figures and wrestling with my own doubts until I come up with the answer that is right for me, that reflects my relationship with my higher power.

In my most fervent following of Christianity, I totally lost sight of Christ. I just hope these kids can see the difference between dogmatic beliefs and a relationship with God.

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