Monday 26 August 2019

Given the many and serious disadvantages; why become a Christian?

There are serious and up-front disadvantages to becoming a Christian here and now, in this place and time.

Being a Christian will get in the way of your sex life and sexuality, your career prospects; and your desire to attain high status and wield power.

That's a pretty comprehensive set of disadvantages!

So what do you get in return, as it were...

A Great Deal, is the answer.

You get meaning, truth and purpose.

You get sure and certain hope; in resurrected life everlasting.

You get significance in what you do in this life; your experiences and what you learn from them have permanent reality; that means your love is permanent, your creation (as it is conceived in your thought - not merely as implemented materially) is permanent.

Your life will have a reason; that means your specific actual life that you are in here-and-now; this will be known as something specifically For You; something from-which you can and should be getting the experiences that you personally most need; and that starts immediately and never stops.

Awareness of your own sin is painful - but is not all bad! It is all and completely fully repent-able, and the flip-side is to know that you have an essence of divinity, and this can (and should) be developed to greater and greater god-like-ness; again starting straight way.

So Christianity is not all doom, gloom and misery - far from it.


Bruce Charlton said...

Comment from William Wildblood:

What do you get?

In the short term, some relatively minor difficulties which can be got over. If you really do believe in the truth of Christ these things won't matter that much.

In the long term, everything!

Tintagel said...

I've been thinking about this a lot recently. Maybe it's my fault because I can't make myself believe in Mormonism or Mere Christianity as opposed to an actual confessional Christianity, so I'm probably not taking the advice you have to give, but this hasn't worked for me yet.

I've never had anything come out of sacraments or prayer, responses or notions as to what I am 'supposed to do', or anything in the present. I also thought that sacraments and prayer would 'fill in' the space of doubt / 'wagering' I had when I decided to become Christian but it did not. I just know I'm supposed to become a saint and that I fail miserably at this, and that if all that I say I believe is true the likeliest is outcome is to be condemned.

Anyways no real question here, feel free not to post this.

Bruce Charlton said...

T - For me, it was necessary to become aware of, reject and revise the metaphysical assumptions I lived-by - I mean the mainstream modern materialism/ scientism/ reductionism/ positivism (whatever you want to call it). Until I sorted that out, I couldn't even begin.

Anonymous said...

Lately I've been experiencing and wondering about the career struggles. So many times I've seen people who are doing excellent work and making a positive difference chased out by envious people on power trips. Yet they never seem to have a problem with the lazy and mediocre, I wonder if demonic forces keep Christians out of powerful positions, or if God prefers Christians to stay away from the temptations of power and prestige? There's definitely a recurring theme about converts losing the "glam" of their former lives, such as with Moses and Paul.

Bruce B. said...

As a young married man, I had all the access to sex I could want (albeit without the variety in women some men apparently crave). It was having children (and coincidently being visited by Mormon missionaries) that started me thinking.

I think there are not great disadvantages these days– very minor ridicule and occasional stories of minor persecution – the early Christians endured monstrous things. I understand what you’re getting at – the giving up of pleasures but my life is full of pleasures and very few hardships (of course I could always be seriously tested but that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon).

I think a problem is that I can’t reconcile my desire for truth with the ADVANTAGES I want from Christianity. It feels unprincipled to even consider the advantages (mostly good spouses for my children and the blessings of grandchildren/healthy families, plus a real escape from cultural ugliness) yet my calculation of the access to the advantages keeps me from acting. There’s also, of course, wanting to see deceased loved ones again, particularly my father.

It is so hard. e.g. I would love to be Mormon – they’re great. I am always pushed towards the Catholic faith by my quest for truth (not saying I’m right -that’s just where my mind keeps being led). But there’s so much that I’m afraid of in that Church and I keep WANTING the advantages that I may or may not get in that Church. Meanwhile, I fail to lead my family and I see their chances of believing the faith slipping away (this literally keeps me up at night).

It feels like I am the lukewarm type that Jesus will spit out.

Thanks as always for considering my (a college dropout) thoughts-I’m humbled.

Bruce Charlton said...

@BB - I'm glad you don't feel the disadvantages of being Christian, but there is no doubt that most people do - the sexual 'restrictions' alone are sufficient to make the idea of converting intolerable for many, and for young Christians they can also seem extremely onerous.

I had always assumed, from your comments, that you were a member of the RCC or a High Church Anglican, so I'm surprised to heard of your sympathy for Mormonism!

I know what you mean by the feeling that what you most want cannot be true, exactly because you so much want it; but that is a demonic snare - and one of the very worst.

Probably the answer is to learn to discern the desire of your heart, of your divine and real self - and distinguish this from superficial, inculcated, expedient or merely hedonic desires. They are actually extremely different; but many people treat them (by assumption) as variants of the same.

BruceB said...

I am high church Anglican (continuing Anglican). My bishop entered the Catholic Church through the Personal Ordinariate although I have not followed. We used to live in an area around many Mormons – I have a very high opinion of them and some parts of their theology appeal to something inside me although it's hard to say if it's because it says something I want to hear.