Sunday, 29 June 2008

Lukewarm

I asked a friend recently whether she was still a Christian. Her reply?

"Sort of."

If you've rescinded your faith, at least have the decency to admit it. It annoys me how many Christians I knew — and, back in the day, nearly all my friends were Christian — who have just fallen away. I'm not talking about Sunday Christians; I'm talking about real Christians who knew what it meant and believed and prayed and sought God and all manner of things.

I never "fell away" or "backslid". I examined my beliefs, and found them unbelievable. I didn't lose my faith; I chose to leave it.

I have friends who decided they never really believed in the first place, which is fair enough. But I have friends who are "too busy" or "too tired" or "can't be bothered any more"; I have friends who still believe in Christianity, who believe that they're actually going to hell, but prefer the life of a non-Christian.

I hate that.

If you're going to believe in anything, stand up for it. Believe in it. Do it. If you're going to disbelieve it, have a reason. Only two of my friends have stopped believing because they've found it unbelievable .

Sunday Christians don't bug me; they've never thought about it, never wondered about what it really means to be Christian. But I can't understand intelligent, wondering, thinking people who once had a fiery, gut-wrenching faith and have left it by the wayside for no better reason than they're "too busy".

"If [I believed], it'd be in me like a fever. If I thought there was some god who really did care two hoots about people, who watched 'em like a father and cared for 'em like a mother... well, you wouldn't catch me sayin' things like 'There are two sides to every question,' and 'We must respect other people's beliefs.' You wouldn't find me just being gen'rally nice in the hope that it'd all turn out right in the end, not if that flame was burning in me...that's what true faith would mean, y'see? Sacrificin' your own life, one day at a time, to the flame, declarin' the truth of it, workin' for it, breathin' the soul of it. That's religion. Anything else is just... is just bein' nice....

I don't think that's fashionable right now, 'cos it seems that if you sees evil now you have to wring your hands and say, 'Oh deary me, we must debate this.'"

— Granny Weatherwax to Mightily Oats in Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett), pp349-350.

4 comments:

Sam said...

Hey, kiddo!

Good to hear from you - it's been a while.

I'm taking your comments and your blog as an open question about the faith of your Christian friends (and I guess, not just them). So here's my piece.

Still a Christian. 100%. Of course, that may depend on your definition of Christian. The major difference from what I used to be is that no, I don't regularly attend church. I did this past weekend, but that was for a special reason, so I doesn't count. It does bring my total church attendance this year to 2 times, though.

Why? It's not because I'm too busy, per se. That was the original reason (having rehearsals at 10am every Sunday kinda makes it hard), but it's not why I haven't kept it up.

But "too lazy" doesn't cut it, either. Lazy implies that I feel like I need to go, that there's some kind of obligation there. I'm quite happy pursuing my faith on my own - and I am doing so more than I did while I was at church, I think.

I don't enjoy church services. In fact, I find them very uncomfortable (physically). I haven't worked out why - a lot of it is to do with my deterioration in health, but that's just amplified the discomfort I felt before. They exhaust me, and often bore me too.

I don't think there's anything even slightly *wrong* with saying that.

The only downside to it is that God has called us to have some sort of faith community, which I agree I am lacking. And I am searching for something that will fulfill that need for me, but it's taking its time.

In conclusion, I don't feel I've "fallen away" at all. I'm constantly trying to return to God as my Center.

Not that that's an easy thing, and I'm not very good at it. And I do question it, and everything else, at times. But that's okay with me.

And yes, I sin. Willingly. And I'm not entirely sure how to deal with a lot of it. Or if I want to. Perhaps I'm not living like a Christian should. It's not that I don't care about that - I know it's important - but I don't think it's the be all and end all.

I guess, if anything, I'm a Monday-Saturday Christian. :)

There's something about you, Ruth, that makes me enjoy justifying myself and my faith... I don't know what. Maybe it's your no-nonsense questioning/challenging attitude to it, and a willingness to at least listen to reasonable responses. I still like talking about it with you.

Maybe it's because no-one else likes to talk about it as much as you do.

Anthony said...

I'm not sure either excuse is less than annoying. Being a stranger who happened upon the blog, this may sound rude, but those who find Christianity unbelievable are just as irrational as those who believe it, and don't follow it.

When dealing with such an attitude, I'd suggest reading C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. Heck, I'd suggest that no matter your stance, it's a great book.

Ruth said...

Hi Anthony... I'm interested as to why you think it's irrational to find Christianity unbelievable. I assume you're a Christian?

And you don't sound rude to me. I'm more interested in why you have those opinions. :)

(On a personal note: I don't DISbelieve Christianity. I'm agnostic - I don't believe it's possible to ever really know what's out there. I don't either believe or disbelieve in Christianity. Which probably seems like another annoying attitude, too.)

Anthony said...

That's a relief. I was worried I might have worded myself in an offensive way.

What I mean to say is, to assume that Christianity is unbelievable, that it cannot be, is irrational. Christianity actually makes a lot of sense when you get right down to things.

However, it seems that as an agnostic you're not really claiming it is unbelievable, as much as, it's impossible to know. Like you said, you don't DISbelieve.

Honestly, the only entirely unbelievable belief, to me, is atheism. You might just agree with me on that.