Alright, so having just finished going through the Bible for the first time, I’m surprised at a couple things. The first is how it makes a whole lot more sense than I expected going in. Pretty much all the threads left hanging in the Old Testament are answered in the New Testament. And Jesus? If I didn’t know better, I’d say he’d read the Tao Te Ching which speaks very highly of him in my mind. There’s only one thing I have a problem with: and that’s Paul. Now don’t get me wrong: Paul speaks highly of himself by admitting he was wrong and changing his ways once Jesus appears to him. That takes guts, to reverse your stance so drastically. Where I run into problems with Paul is that he seems a lot more judgmental than Jesus, and his rationale for it seems to be that Christianity needs to respected. I can see his point when you take into the account the time he’s living in: there’s a lot of social mores about how women and men should behave and while Christians at the time subverted it to an extent, there were some things that would have been very difficult to do at the time. But Jesus seems to suggest doing exactly those things despite the difficulty: he admonishes the Jews for the value they put on appearances, and when confronted with an adulteress woman, even though he speaks strongly against adultery elsewhere, he speaks up saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and since no one is willing to run the risk of claiming he is without sin, the woman’s life is saved by his intervention and his only injunction to her is to sin no more ie. stop being an adulteress. Jesus too makes a point of associating with all sorts. And this runs contrary to Paul who takes a hard-line on sexuality and tells people not to associate with sinners lest they ruin Christianity’s good name. And so Paul almost seems to fall into exactly the trap that Jesus admonished the Jews for falling into: caring about appearances too much, judging too quickly. It is easy to see why there are Christians who take the hard-line on issues about sexuality and sinners, because Paul himself advises it. But while Paul thought it necessary in his time, I hold that it is counter-productive to follow Paul’s example in the current time. To take Paul’s example would only lead people AWAY from Christianity. Instead, I would like to repeat the advice of Dr. Wayne Dyer: aim to be Christ-like not just Christian. For though you may never achieve the same state of grace as Christ, aiming to be like Christ will ultimately bring you closer to both God and Christ than if you aim to follow the doctrines of a specific church or denomination.
Published by Devin Hogg
My name is Devin Hogg. I was born and raised in Carnarvon, Ontario, Canada. I moved to Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 2009 for university and lived here ever since. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching TV and movies, going on long walks, swimming, and practicing Chen style Tai Chi. I love to write poetry and blog regularly about topics such as mental health, sci-fi/fantasy series, faith, sexuality, and politics. View more posts