Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hijacked Christianity

Pat Robertson recently said this about the recent Haitian Earthquake:

"They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil,"

Christianity has been hijacked by people like Pat. If you're not a Christian, you could easily dismiss its claims by thinking that people like Pat are accurately representing what it means to follow Christ.

Pat is speaking this way because he is assuming that he is a prophet. Jesus also claimed Divine authority. In Matthew 9, He tells a sick man lying on a mat that his sins are forgiven him. The religious leaders of His day were skeptical even believing that Jesus was blasphemy.

Now Jesus didn't simply tell them to have blind faith and believe He was a prophet. Instead here is His response:

5Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." 7And the man got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

If Pat is REALLY speaking for God, he needs to authenticate such authority. I'm a computer geek. Working in IT, I am often challenged to authenticate who I am before gaining access to computers, networks, files, resources. In computers, you authenticate yourself via a username and password.

If Pat speaks for God, then we are NOT simply asked to believe it via a blind faith. Pat needs to authenticate his claims via some miraculous work that can only come from God. Mr. Robertson will NOT do this.

While it IS true that the Haitians practice voodoo and that Christianity condemns such practices, it would be presumptuous for anyone except a true prophet, to say that they knew that this earthquake was a judgment from God.

I can't tell you how many times I've debated with non-christians and had to deal with the distractions of the caricatures that they mistook Christianity to be.

G.K. Chesterton once said, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried."

So I implore both non-christians AND Christians, don't believe that these claims represent the teachings and example of Christ. I also challenge other Christians to take back our faith from the hijackers.

Questions that Shake Us All

The earthquake in Haiti should remind us of old questions, not new. Why does evil exist? Why do people suffer? Why do bad things happen? I often hear this last question phrased as "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Jesus was approached by a man who predicated a question by addressing Jesus as "Good teacher". Jesus asked him in Mark 10:18, "Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone."

If we really want to know about suffering and evil, we also need to know about goodness. What does it mean for something to be good? I realize that not everyone reading this posting even believes in the existence of good and evil. Some people believe that these definitions are imaginary and arbitrary in the sense that what we call "good" and "evil" is merely what we like. We might call something pleasurable good and something associated with suffering evil. Of course many people call sex outside of marriage evil, or a drug-induced high to be at least a bad thing.

These are just two examples of things that might bring short-term pleasure for long-term loss or suffering. Let me suggest that these things bring pleasure within the "smaller picture", but there is a "larger picture", a "greater purpose" to serve. If we serve that "greater purpose", if we are driven by it, we inevitably will be drawn to what we commonly call "good".

My favorite Christian teacher, Steve Brown ( says, "Everyone needs a metanarrative." We all need a larger story to explain the small stories of our lives.

My heart goes out to the Haitian people. I don't understand the smaller story. I can't dogmatically say why this has happened, but I can respond with love, prayers and giving because my life is driven by a larger story, His story.