Belief or Practice?

One of the biggest, and most popular, contemporary understandings of Christianity is the idea that Christianity is essentially about believing the right things – but Jesus never instructed anyone to understand doctrine correctly. Rather, he gave instructions about how to live. All of the parables are about how to live, how to treat one another, how to go about daily life. Not one of them is about believing the right things. Despite that, much of contemporary Christianity seems not to care a bit about how people treat one another – in fact, sometimes their beliefs are used as justification for mistreating other people in horrific ways. Authentic Christianity is about right practice, not right belief. That’s why Jesus summarized the entire Law and Prophets as love God with all your heart, mind, and soul and love you neighbor as yourself. Conspicuous by its absence is the word “belief.” There is nothing in scripture that justifies the currently popular notion that Christianity consists of deciding if I believe something about you is right or wrong and then acting to persecute or marginalize you. There is nothing that justifies refusing service to anyone if you own a business. Nothing. Such behavior is a lot of things, but Christian isn’t one of them.

One thought on “Belief or Practice?

  1. In all, I take the current “religious freedom” laws push as a positive sign. The faction of conservative Christianity that wants to condemn LGBT people once assumed (correctly) that it could set the direction of the country as a whole. Now realizing they can’t, they’re fighting to opt out. That is a huge step. The next stage will be that they get tired of being on the outside and they start to amend their way of thinking until, a few years from now, they won’t admit they ever thought such a thing– as when Jerry Falwell quietly took his old segregation sermons out of circulation and forgot he ever gave them.

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