Baptist · Catholicism · Christanity · Episcopal · religion · Rites and rituals · society · spirituality

The holy war within Christianity

thecrossI know what you’re thinking…that title is a misprint but truth is, it is not. We talk about “holy wars” a lot but in modern times, it’s usually someone talking about how radical Islamics are killing and maiming people because of their religious beliefs or how the Jewish & Palestinian people are always fighting and bombing each other but have we ever stopped and think that in Christianity, there is in fact a holy war?

18882210_800418630109247_6956337245983154217_nA great example of this would be in a meme I found on Facebook. The meme, which is pictured here, claims that the Catholic church was founded by the Son of God and therefore it is the only church that God created. All other churches are not the authentic thing because they were created by man.

Okay, let me channel John Green for a moment here and use my desk. Ahhhh…*headdesk*

So basically they are saying that Protestants are going to hell? Wait, what? Um, honey, I am a Baptist and we get our name from John The Baptist because of our form of baptism called the “Believer’s Baptism” and guess who was baptized this way? If you guessed Jesus Christ, then you would be correct. They actually say that Jesus Christ learned a thing or two from John The Baptist.

So how come the Catholics swear that their church was founded by Jesus and the others are bad knockoffs? Your guess is as good as mine but I do think it has something to do with the wording of the text which says about a “catholic” church. Now being the writer I am and being that I have this thing for words and their origins, I decided to look up the word in this sense and I found something rather interesting…the word is not what you think.

The word “catholic” comes from the Latin catholicus and from the Greek katholou. Both of these words have the same definition: “a wide variety of things” or “all-embracing.” In other words, in scripture, this term basically refers to a larger spectrum in Christianity that includes all followers of Jesus Christ.

Now I get that in the Roman Catholic faith, there are some who refuse to acknowledge that they are Christian. In fact, I remember in my old Catholic Daughters of the Americas chapter when one of the past presidents basically read the riot act to a group of members for complaining about a petty issue regarding one of the lunch parties they had, she said, “We should all act like Christian women and stop complaining” and guess what happened? A lot of side eyes and dirty looks all because she said the word “Christian.”

Why? From my understanding a “Christian” is a follower of Jesus Christ and guess what? You all follow Jesus. Okay, so they put more emphasis on the Virgin Mary but they also have talk about Jesus. So why give the woman the side eye?

Truth is I noticed this issue in many branches of Christianity and frankly it turns me into a giant squid of anger. We all worship the same God and we all believe in the Holy Trinity, right? So why are we acting like this again?

I thought about this because of an arrogant man I came across in a Facebook group for Baptists. I asked a question on how could I handle the situation on people who mock me since converting and he went on to say I was not fully saved! And I should have known he was arrogant because he kept saying “Ma’am” and that to me screams, “I’m going to be a cocky person towards you.”

And to make matters worse, this gentleman (if you can even call him that) acted like every other branch of Christianity was wrong and one should only be fundamental and read the King James Version of the Bible. Oh and this guy thought my Independent Baptist (non-fundamental) self was not good enough. To paraphrase Chandler Bing, could you be any more of an arrogant Christian?

Look, there are numerous versions of the Bible because of all the different scholars that translate it. That’s why I will look at a couple different versions because each one has a different nuance to it and some do leave out more than others. Also, you know, I like seeing how people can take the same thing and word it differently.

Also, to be so arrogant and even say that about a fellow Baptist because they are not of the same branch you are? Aren’t we being a tad judgemental? Not all of us are going to be as extreme in things but that’s okay because we still believe as much as you do. The only difference is we just do it differently. If you look at the Bible, there were people who worshipped in many different ways and not all were really punished. I mean, not everyone dances around like King David. In fact, some branches of Christianity forbid dancing and boisterous praise music whereas others encourage it.

And frankly, I like some of the modern takes on worship music because not all of it is evil. There are even some that have lyrics from the old hymns and still have a lot of beauty and meaning to them.

Okay, so I may not fully agree with some things like the ultra-liberal stance of the Episcopal Church or the United Church of Christ but that’s because I am your average moderate who will on occasion agree with the liberals. Am I going to judge and condemn them? Absolutely not. Why should I? They didn’t bother me. Okay, maybe there was that one lay person in the Episcopal church who got real crazy because I made a random observation about a hospital closing its maternity unit to do gender reassignment surgeries but she didn’t get my humor anyway but I still didn’t judge her and frankly no mortal should.

I never fully got an answer to what I was asking. Some said just to pray on it and others said not to preach. I think the ones who said the latter said it because they were fundamental and they believe women should stay quiet when it comes to the gospel.

Truth is I wouldn’t preach to anyone because that’s how lay people alienate others. I know for me, I would meet people who would preach their beliefs to me and I would be like, “Can you please back away?” Truth is while we should as Christians teach our beliefs to others, we shouldn’t get preachy because it can be taken as us forcing that stuff down your throats and frankly, no one learns anything when you force feed them the information.

The best way to teach people is to share. Share your stories, share your facts, and do it in a manner that is sincere and friendly. You arm them with this information and let them come to their own conclusions because remember, God did give us free will.

And if they don’t follow your lead, pray for them.

As for the holy war, let’s stop this because frankly we are have the same beliefs.

Don’t forget to be awesome.

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