God's Not Dead 2

God’s Not Dead 2

So far, I have not been able to force myself to watch “God’s Not Dead”. When I heard about the sequel, “God’s Not Dead 2”, I had hoped that it was just an April Fool’s prank, but it looks like I will be avoiding it as well. I was disappointed the Newsboys even made a cameo, because in the past, both they and Michael Tate have been progressive enough to recognize that fundamentalism is failing Christianity. I have found that a lot of my atheist and skeptic friends are much more inclined to be inclusive while many of my Christian friends are quick to judge and exclude people not like themselves. Based on the scriptures, it appears that Jesus was much more concerned with calling out pompous religious leaders than he was with harping on the lost, weak, and helpless. In fact, it seems the church has reached a position of power and influence, unlike ever before in history, and yet instead of shining a light into the darkness we have drawn the curtain to keep it within our own ceiled houses.

We should be listening to teachers, students, and friends to hear their doubts, and when appropriate, we should validate them. There are really good questions that the Bible does not answer. It’s okay to be a Christian and not have a solution for every problem. If a person is legitimately confused and frustrated with the hyper conservative, right wing, political machine known as 21st century Christianity, then he or she should know that many Christians are in the same boat. There needs to be a message of hope for people who recognize problems in the scriptures, not criticism and disdain for non-compliance. If Christianity were so easy to understand, there would not be so many denominations and divided groups within our own ranks. Brilliant individuals have spent decades studying theology and they still can’t agree on the interpretation of the text. Christian groups hate on each other all the time, and draw battle lines and call damnation and fire down on competitor “cults.”

I know some great atheists, and I know some lousy believers. We do a great disservice to intelligence when we require others to adopt our biases about bad non-believers and good Christians. In fact, my faith has been boosted more by fallen individuals who recognize the need for a savior, than it has from “Stepford-esque” Christians who never seem to have had a problem with lust, greed, anger, gluttony, malice, addictions, or many of the other things I have faced in my own life.

No, I will not be watching GnD2. I won’t be offended if you feel the need to be entertained, but remember, truth is the anvil that has outlasted every hammer ever smashed on it. Beware of evil non-believer stereotypes when they are contrasted with the “always-on-the-side-of-justice” believer stereotypes, because this is simply not true. God is not threatened, His kingdom is not in jeopardy, He is still on his throne, and He does not need political warriors on the planet earth. If you feel vulnerable when someone brings up something from the Bible that you cannot explain, that’s okay. If you recognize the legitimacy of painful examples when a person attacks the actions of your God and His book, acknowledge it. There is no harm in swallowing a big dose of humility at the stupid things that have been promoted in the name of God.

Instead of digging in your heels and trying to force others into conformity, or shaming them into compliance, try building a bridge. Show a little love. Be kind to those who despitefully use you, and most importantly let people know your hope is not in our governments, but rather in our relationships with the people immediately around us. You don’t have to go to my church for me to show you kindness. You don’t have to believe like me for us to have lunch; you don’t even have to be a Christian for us to have a relationship. Be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.