Friday 23 June 2023

Being a Christian: If it's so simple, why is it so difficult?

Being a Christian is clearly very difficult in the West in 2023 - because (apparently) extremely few people seem to be doing it. 

Yet it must also be extremely simple. 

Why do I say it must be simple to be a Christian? 

Because we know that God is the creator, who makes the-world-around-us; and also that he is Our Father, and loves each of us, as His child. 

Such a God would obviously both want- and be able-to make it simple to do what was necessary to follow Jesus Christ to salvation...

Simple enough for children, for simple people, for weak people living in evil environments... And simple enough to happen in just a moment (as often depicted in the Gospels). 

So why is it so difficult, nowadays?

One reason is that Christianity is "too simple" - which puts of those who have pretentions to intellectuality (and that means a lot of people nowadays!). A simple answer is regarded as facile: for modern Men, simple = simplistic. 

Another is that resurrection into Heaven seems obviously "too good to be true". Generations of propaganda have made people assume that the truth is we are meaningless accidents in a purposeless universe; so any positive view of life must be merely wishful thinking or delusion.  

Another is that Christianity is first and foremost "not of this world" - it is directed at resurrection after death; whereas most people regard death as a final annihilation; and therefore seek, above all, to change their own lives and "the world" for the better. 

Given that becoming a Christian leads to a loss of status in Western nations; the outcome for a new Christian (and all real Christians must -sooner or later - be 'new') is usually that of making his own life immediately less esteemed and less successful. 

Furthermore - and more deeply - becoming a Western Christian in 2023 is active and participative: we ourselves have to do most of the work. 

Whereas, what people mostly want (especially modern Western people) is to be overwhelmed by 'reality' - indeed, for most people, reality just is that which most strongly overwhelms us.

People expect to be overwhelmed by Christianity like they might be overwhelmed by a blockbuster movie, or a media-stoked frenzy, or a multi-pronged propaganda campaign.

Whereas, to become a Christian 2023; entails ignoring all that is most culturally-overwhelming and making a solo-decision, perhaps without social encouragement or support (indeed, quite the opposite); making-up one's own mind by going against what mainstream opinions regards as "the evidence" or good-reasons; and taking full responsibility for one's beliefs and behavioural ideals in a situation where even the self-identified Christian churches are urging different things.    

These are just some of the reasons why being a Christian in 2023 is so very difficult; even though it is also so very simple. 

1 comment:

William Wright (WW) said...

Hard to know how you are defining Christianity, and that is important in having an opinion on your statement as to whether hardly anybody is 'doing' it these days. In one sense, more people than at any time in history consider themselves to be Christian based on their own stated beliefs in a Being named Jesus.

I myself fall under the camp that not one of us knows enough at this point to truly be Christian... in that we have an incomplete at best, and false at worst, story of who and what Jesus is and did. So - a baseline I am comfortable with is that today nobody is a Christian.

I do think, however, that a story will come about that will put any Hollywood blockbuster to shame in terms of its scope and power, and will be frankly awesome (for those who want to hear it and believe in it), as it tells the whole thing, going back to well before this Earth was even thought of. At that point, many people will become Christian because we will at last fully understand everything about Jesus and the story he has been creating, which is likely both more comprehensive and more real than currently imagined.

We will have been there also throughout the passages of time and through the ages, and we will remember the parts that we have played in Jesus' story, which will be a great blessing to those who have tried to play their parts well. This story or chapter then ends, and we are made free at that point to go and start writing our own new stories, which I think gets to some of your views of participating in ongoing creation.