Caleb Woods looks back to a day when the values in Christian Churches were a lot simpler. He wants our kids to return to the same message about Love that he learned.
Unfortunately, Christianity has changed for the worse.
When I was younger, I grew up in a typical Southern Baptist Christian home. My family and I were in church every time the doors were open. This would include Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, each and every Revival, or any other church event. I would hear the same old stories about Moses, David, Job, and all of the disciples. These stories carried inspirational significance and almost always, a good moral. These were positive sermons. The preacher always talked about the heroes of the Bible and how we should be more like them. Stories such as “The Good Samaritan” and “The Prodigal Son” taught us how to treat others with constant love.
Eventually, the “golden rule” wasn’t enough anymore. Slowly, sermons became less and less involved with happiness and love. The pastor began to preach about God’s wrath and the fires of Hell. Church was no longer a place of peace. It became an anxiety-fueled nightmare. The preacher would yell, stomp and spit. He bashed his misinterpretations of the Bible into our heads with his loud words. He became concentrated on rules, rules, and more rules.
“Women must be submissive to their husbands,” he’d say.
“Your body is a temple of God. Don’t get tattoos,” he’d proclaim.
“Homosexuality is an abomination,” he’d spit and yell as his face turned read.
“Don’t read the Harry Potter books! They support and teach witchcraft!” he’d scream.
Somewhere along the way, the message of love was lost. Love wasn’t enough anymore. Not only did we have to hear about all of these rules to “get right with God,” but also just “getting saved” became a chore. The famous “accept God into your heart” wasn’t enough for someone to “get saved.” Soon, the ABC method became the popular thing to do. If someone wanted to get saved or help someone else get saved, they had to check off every item on the list. I’m sure you’re familiar with the list, too. It goes something like this:
A – Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
B – Believe that God sent his only son to die for your sins.
C – Confess that you’re a sinner and commit your life to Him.
There you have it – a complete indoctrination checklist. I’ve seen many Christians spend their entire life afraid of Hell. I’ve seen them try to walk the straight and narrow path and try not to ruffle any feathers, even when others desperately needed their help. I’ve seen many Christians shout out Bible verses to condemn minorities, interracial couples, women, and LGBT people. I’ve seen many Christians live their life trying to please God instead of helping other people. When did Christianity become so focused on rules and regulations?
Many people are focused on pleasing God by tithing and attending church. What if we focused on actually helping others? If you’re only helping others to please God, then do you really, genuinely care about helping people? If you’re just in it for the afterlife reward, do your good deeds for others even mean anything? When did “Love others” and “Love they neighbor” become not good enough?
Instead of teaching kids to have unrealistic expectations of perfection in order to please an angry God, why don’t we teach kids to simply show love? Is teaching a kid to show kindness, compassion, and love to others not enough? Must we equip children with Bibles to go “save” other children? If God is love, then isn’t simply showing love to others, showing them God? I’m afraid we scare kids into doing good deeds instead of teaching kids that they should WANT to help others. In this way, Christianity has changed drastically. If people show kindness to others in order to “please God,” then are they really showing true, genuine kindness?
Originally published here.
Photo: Flickr/Jim Rees