In some iteration, this is one of the focuses I continually hear or read as the basis of a disagreement between views.
A discussion may start out quite pleasant, but when a viewpoint doesn’t align with tradition and popular belief, the “dissenter” is often labeled as heretic and threatened with things like hell fire.
It’s truly a sad state when we believe we have to threaten people into a love relationship—or that our threats somehow even remotely resemble Father’s love.
Church and state
It seems, at least in the US, we are continually trying to merge church and state—despite the fact that this was probably the biggest downfall of Christianity. When Constantine legalized Christianity, it ironically lost much of its potency. Church and state combined became about human power constructs. Today, we are still trying vigorously to merge church and state so that “Christians” have worldly power. We do this through blaming “secular” society for anything that doesn’t align, again, with “correct doctrine.”
It’s ironic and more than a bit sad that the Kingdom Jesus presented was completely counter-cultural to the worldly power regimes of Rome and religion that were prevalent at the time. Jesus offered a completely new kind of Kingdom that existed based on a love relationship with Father and each other.
Note: Jesus presented a counter-cultural Kingdom that was opposed to relationships of power and control. He didn’t present a sub-culture that slapped a “Christian” label on pop-culture and politics to justify hatred and injustice.
Likewise, popular doctrines seem to completely drain the love from relationship by placing them under obligation.
How do we force someone to love? It is no longer love when it is forced by threat.
Often, though, instead of two or more people existing in a love relationship, the association becomes about power, who is right, and who gets to lead. This seems to be where things go off the rails. Love is replaced by a power structure of submission to man-made authority. We then, as subtle as it may be at times, have to threaten people from growing spiritually to keep them under our control.
“There’s some dangerous things out there,” is one of the threats I’ve heard on more than one occasion. This belays a severe lack of trust in God. This exemplifies faithlessness.
Faith isn’t about knowing absolutes. If we did, it would no longer be faith, but knowledge.
Faith is about trusting God each step of the way. Again, this goes all the way back to the Tree of Knowledge. Adam and Eve wanted to know for themselves instead of having faith in God. Here we see our doctrines are based primarily on eating from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of relationship with Father.
This leads me to a point that’s been heavy on my heart for the past month or so. I’ve stopped trying to convince people of a relationship with God through words—I’ve stopped worrying about being “right.”
I can point to every proof that God wants relationship and not religion, but many seem not to care because they’ve been made afraid to seek outside of what they’ve been told God is—a monster ready to pounce and torture us endlessly.
Why do we continue to hold up Eternal Love as such maleficence? Why do we add “buts” to Father’s love? That’s not a representation of unconditional love.
It’s truly a sad state when we wrap our Savior in political agenda. His ways were, and are, completely different than our human methods of power and control.
Yet another technique I see often is the upholding of a claim that the Bible or Jesus never makes—that the Bible is somehow inerrant.
We know all scripture is God-breathed, yet, we also know humans are God-breathed—and we all readily admit that humans, God’s grand work, are far from perfect. The scriptures are all filtered through man’s view of God, which can easily be misconstrued. Again, we have to consider that God wants us to have faith in him, not absolute knowledge of everything—because then we have no need of him and we become our own gods—much like the state of religion today. And again, this is what Adam and Eve sought—to have their own knowledge of good and evil to be like God.
Further, we tend to worship the Bible as our god. We’ve even twisted the phrases of the Word of God (Jesus) to mean the Bible.
If anything is “heresy,” it would be that, though I don’t write that to badger anyone. It seems we’ve established religious idols and have long lost what it means to be in relationship with Father. We continue to extrapolate rules to conform us externally, while ignoring any vestige of the type of relationship Jesus offers.
Again, I say all this because I’ve been learning to just exist in relationship with others. Some, even/especially the zealous religious types, will be repulsed by that because it undermines their institutional power structures—just like Jesus did. When those who wield power begin to see their grip and financial security slipping, they react vehemently with even more mandates of obligation. This goes back to faith versus knowledge—being secure that God has everything under control instead of our own human securities—even those religious ones.
I hope this helps and doesn’t come across as mean spirited. Much like Matt 23, I’m only trying to free others from the political, financial, and even religious restraints that have alienated them from a real and faith-filled relationship with Father.
This is what this entire existence is about—-entering into the joy of relationship with Father, Son, and Spirit, then inviting others in through the love we share with God.