Is Christianity Controlling?
I am a convert to Evangelical Christianity at age 34. I have served in many cross-cultural and cross-denominational ministries, in benevolence ministries, and mentored men.
I was an atheist courtesy of my college education. I had grown up in a liberal Christian dmenomination - so it had not been a great change in thinking. In my senior year in college, in order to prove my newfound rejection of Christianity I joined the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). IVCF did not play any slights-of hand in presenting the Biblical view of the social issues pf the day. This transparent real life dialogue of the issues of the day drew me in. Particularly being a part of the 60's generation seeing issues addressed from the point of reality sealed the deal for me.
I understand that as a fellow human being I'm flawed, sinful, and not always in touch with reality. As is everybody else on the planet. So I've had many opinions that are different than what I hold now. I've not found any philosophy of life that addresses reality more completely than Christianity.
In our country everyone is free to choose their own beliefs. But along with the writings of our forefathers (read the Book of Virtues and Our Sacred Honor) I believe that the foundation of our country is the Christian religion. And being involved in ministry I've seen many successes in broken people's lives by follwoing the Christian ehtic.
For all of those who feel a need to correct my wayward thinking I advise you not to comment and I pledge not to comment on your wayward thinking.
I will, however, welcome any dialogue from those who have a different interpretation that's based on our shared view of the inerrancy of scripture.
Recently my grandson converted to fundamental Christianity after being involved in Buhddaism and Wiccan. He is an avid reader and recently informed me that there are nine secular sources from the same period as Jesus confirming the existence of Jesus.
There are many sources that substantiate the Biblical record and help in understanding the scriptures and the Christian way of life. But I personally just like to use the Bible as it's own commentary. I read every verse in the context of the surrounding verses. Then I use the cross-references to further illuminate the verse I'm looking at. I use the process of addition only to add nuances (not contradictions) to the topic of the verse.
THe following two verses define the basis of my faith.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV) 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(1 Corinthians 3:9-11 NIV) 9For we are co-workers in God's service; you are God's field, God's building. 10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
The #1 criticism of Christianity is that it is controlling of individual behavior. This is an odd charge when Christianity is compared to other religions around the world.
The "church" can certainly be controlling. But the scriptures in the New Testament advocate individual choice and conviction. Indeed the very basic concept of "Freedom of Religion" is what qualifies our society to have the peaceful existence of all religions in our country. Religions that in other countries control the governments (based on doctrine itself). It's only strong governments in countries like the King of Jordan, the military in Egypt, and Saddam Hussein when he was in power in Iraq. In India State governments allow the persecution and murder of native Christians.
In America church affiliation is a choice. Churches do not require a certain level of giving. There are certain churches and denominations that do - but this is not in the spirit of the Gospel.