Many of the contentions I have encountered people having with Christianity have to do more with the abuses of it than with its actual reality. The Church throughout history has produced much injustice and oppression that are far from the truths of the Gospel message. If the abuses of religion and the rules and laws of oppression were in fact true Christianity there would be good cause to run the other way. Often people run from corruption to the opposite extreme to avoid the problem, yet they avoid truth in the process.
Christianity pure and simple is about being a follower of Christ. Jesus is our example for life and ministry. Anything more or less than that is not real Christianity. So the real issue is who is this Jesus? Is he a mere mortal who was a good philosopher on par with Socrates or is he something more?
Is living like Christ really so dangerous for society? Jesus said to love your enemies. He said to do good to those who do wrong to you. He came to free those in bondage, give hope to the hopeless, bind up the broken hearted. He healed hearts, minds, and bodies. His revolution was one of the heart. He came to bring life where there was death. To bring healing where there was sickness. To bring truth where there was falsehood. He said that His Kingdom was not of this world, but it was found in righteousness, peace, and joy.
The Church has misrepresented Him to the world. Christians misrepresent Him to the world. Not all of the Church, not all Christians has done this. However, it’s the abuses that are often illuminated.
Can we not look past man to examine the truth claims of Christ? I keep hearing people say that there is no evidence pointing even to a man named Jesus teaching disciples along the shores of Galilee being followed by masses of people, performing miracles, dying by crucifixion, leaving an empty tomb, and appearing to His disciples alive and well. I hear the claims, but yet I’ve read and studied so much information that says otherwise. I’ve read the stories of atheists who set off on journeys to disprove the claims of Christ only coming up with overwhelming evidence that Christ is the Son of God.
Is it really a matter of a lack of evidence or is it something else? Is it maybe fear of being a part of something that seems to be full of hypocrisy and oppression? I agree that some of Christianity, even today, fits the bill of what its antagonist claim. However, there are those who are not a part of such a structure and they are living supernatural lives that shine forth the truth of a living God. All who are in Christ make up the Church, but not all who attend church and claim to know Him are in Christ. There are those who have been in church for years and yet don’t know God personally. That’s not something I can judge for another, but I have heard the testimonies of those who have come from that into really knowing Him. Then there are those who do know Him and don’t live like it. And there are those who know Him and have never matured in Him for various reasons. And there are all of us who are imperfect and yet striving in Him to be more like Him and to know Him more relationally and intellectually.
Just the same, let us not focus on man’s successes or failures in following Christ, but on Christ Himself. Everything rises or falls with the validity or invalidity of this man named Jesus. He is either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord. He cannot be just a good man. He cannot be dismissed as never having existed. History records his having lived. Jesus asked His disciples “who do you say that I am?” That is the question for each of us as well. You might not be in a place to answer that question yet, or maybe you need to re-examine your answer. Let us examine honestly who is this Jesus?