- Religion and Philosophy
Christianity Is Not The Most Peaceful Religion
Answering the question "Do you think that Christianity is the most peaceful religion?"
To get directly to the point of my intentionally provocative title - Christianity is not the most peaceful religion because Christianity simply is not a religion. I understand many bristle at such an assertion, but it is simply the fact of the matter. Man is by nature religious, meaning he (throughout history and in every culture) assumes there is a god he has to deal with and he concocts schemes through which to make himself acceptable to his idea of who God is - that is religion. Men light candles, establish rules, say prayers, make sacrifices, etc, etc, in an effort to make themselves acceptable to God. Christianity, authentic Christianity, is not at all about that. Now, men, in their religious natures, have made religions even out of Christianity, there are many religions and religious people identifying themselves as 'Christian' who are practicing a man-concocted religion, little different from Islam or Buddhism, etc, (only the rules and terms, etc, are different - the principle of making yourself acceptable to God is the same) but this is not authentic, historic, Biblical Christianity.
Authentic, historic, Biblical Christianity is simply this; those who believe the gospel and trust Jesus alone as their only hope to know, obey, and love God point to the historic event of the incarnation and sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth . . . Christians are (to be) reporters, witnesses. Christians are not following some concocted religious scheme whereby if we do 'this' and don't do 'that' we hope God will accept us - Christians are simply those who believe the gospel message, trust in the promise of God, and announce to the world that the promised Messiah came 2,000 years ago, died, accomplished an atonement, came back to life, and lives eternally able to save all who trust in His finished work alone (and not in their own religious practices).
Now, as to the question regarding how peaceful Christians and Christianity is or ought to be, the world (in general) is under another misapprehension. The very common and popular view is that the God of the Old Testament was harsh and stern and, to many, simply mean - while the God of the New testament, Jesus, was very tolerant, accepting, and loving. In many ways this can be said to be a completely reverse account of the facts. The entire history set forth in the Old Testament is a history of God's elaborate patience with and provision for a perpetually resistant and rebellious people - while we find Jesus, in the New Testament, announcing that He is the only way to God and that no one can come to God except through Him, and talking more about sin and death and punishment and hell, etc, than anyone else in Scripture. Ultimately Christianity is the only way to real, eternal, peace . . . ultimately God is through Jesus uniting all things unto Himself, and the perfect bond of that unity is love. But now, Christianity is not at peace - it is at war with evil.
Remember, when it was asked if Aslan, C.S.Lewis' lion king of Narnia, was safe, the answer was "He is not safe - but He is good" . . . Jesus, the Jesus of Scripture and of history, was not the 'Jesus' many imagine when they think of Him. Many picture Jesus, head tilted, surrounded by children and lambs . . . always sweet, always peaceful. But the actual account we have in the Bible of Jesus portray a man who bothered just about everybody He ever crossed paths with. Jesus was not of this world, He was flawless in His character and resolute in His purpose, and that made Him a most provocative man. Even those He personally chose to privately teach and to carry on His work after He left, the 12 disciples, even they endlessly resisted His teaching and misunderstood Him. At the very end, after living with Jesus and hearing all His teaching, as He finished His work and was ascending into heaven the 12 asked "Are you now going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" . . . they were still resisting His message of salvation from sin and seeking salvation from Rome!
And, what seems to me to be the clincher to my assertion that Christianity is not a religion at all; consider who Jesus had the most trouble with, who He was continually rebuking, who fully rejected Him, and who He relentlessly denounced - the most religious people of His day! As Christians we are to meet together to worship and disciple one another. To do that we need to organize a time and a place to meet. That, understandably, leads to more organization . . . pretty soon we assert what it is we believe, what we approve of to be taught, and we ordain men to teach it, etc, etc. The end result is that, to many (even to many Christians) it all looks very much like a religion, just like any other religion. But again I assert; authentic, historic, Biblical Christianity is not our effort to do or not do or to practice, etc, whatever it is we think will make us acceptable to God . . . the message of the gospel is that there is nothing anyone can do to make themselves acceptable to God, the teaching of Jesus is that we have no hope apart from Him - Christianity is simply the reporting of that message, Christianity is not following rules and performing rituals, it is pointing back to that historic event of the death, atonement, and resurrection of Jesus.