Sunday, February 7, 2010

Curse God and Die: Why I Continue to Believe

Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. –Job 2:9-10 KJV

Some time ago I got a long, convoluted diatribe in the form of an email from someone calling herself simply, “A Real Christian”. At the time, I chose to ignore the email, but for some reason, it has remained on my mind.

Evidently, “A Real Christian” came across this blog some way or another and then read through the archives and managed to find a post or two in which I discussed coming to terms with my Christian faith and/or in which I questioned and/or criticized the so-called Christian church.

And she responded by berating me for questioning Christ and the Church. The closing lines stand out for me:

“It is evident that you are not really committed to Christ. You are a CINO, a Christian in name only. You are one of those spineless wavering Christians who are too scared to make a stand for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Instead you whine and complain about having to follow His word and teachings. You are part of the reason why this nation is in the state it is in now. Why don’t you do yourself and all of us a favor and just curse God and die."

But she misses the whole point. I have never criticized Christ; I am not so arrogant, or even so intrepid, to do such a thing. However, I did level reasoned criticism at the Christian church, and let’s not conflate the two, Christ and Christianity.

For literally centuries, man has hijacked the teachings of Christ to justify a myriad of evils. For literally centuries, Christianity has not been used to comfort or solace or as a prescription for a better life, but as a tool, a bludgeon to be used about the head and shoulders of one’s enemies, political or otherwise, a means to some usually nefarious, sinister end.

I do have a few friends who are either atheists or agnostics who remind me of this on a regular basis. They interrogate my reasons for believing. According to them, I am too intelligent, too rational a person to fall prey to myths and silly superstitions. In their own way, they too are imploring me to curse God and die.

But I explain to them that that is the very essence of faith, a belief in that which is inexplicable, perhaps improbable—“…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.”

Not only that, I worship Christ, and I place my faith in Christ, and not Christianity or the Church. However, I suspect followers like “A Real Christian” are so heavily invested physically and emotionally in the Church that they have forgotten the real reason the Church exists. As I see it, there are two disparate groups of people assembling under the banner of Christianity—church people and true believers in Christ.

And of these two groups, the former greatly outnumbers the latter, but these are the voices, the faces, we hear and see most often purporting to represent the true believers, the real Christians. And these are the voices, the faces, whose motives and methods, whose words and deeds, seem to stray so far from the teachings of Christ.

Even as I compose the last sentence, an image of Pat Robertson looking on at the suffering and anguish of the Haitian people, and then declaring that the Haitian people are in such a state because of some pact made with the devil centuries ago. I am still trying to determine what is Christ-like about such a statement.

But back to “A Real Christian.” I did not miss the irony of her statement, “Curse God and die.” Of course, this phrase comes from the Biblical story of Job, one whose faith in God was absolute. At his lowest moment, at the moment when the world seemed to crashing down around him, and when his faith was being sorely tested, his wife implored him simply, “Curse God and die.” However, Job chose not to. Instead, he held fast to his faith despite having every reason to give in and give up.

So, “A Real Christian,” the impetus to question what one believes does arise. And I would go so far as to say that if one never stops to examine their beliefs, to quantify their faith, they need not simply “Curse God and die”: they are already spiritually dead.


The Smoking Ace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Smoking Ace said...

Max, that was deep and so true. There are people labeling themselves and use it for axis of evil and not good. It reminds me of an episode of Cold Case called "That Girl." The victim was a young teenager who got caught making out with another guy in front of everybody. So she joined a Christian purity group. She saw how every kid in the group was sinning and ended up getting murdered because the young teens wanted to keep their sinning a secret.

Anna Renee said...

Hey Soulbrother! The diatribix "A Real Christian" is just the sort of "Pharisee" spirit that Jesus confronted and condemned time and again. If she had the right heart, she would have encouraged you rather than condemn you. What I love about Jesus is He looks at the heart (mind). Jesus is able to deal with our questioning Him--He doesn't dissolve if we do, but do we want to come to His truth or stand on our own "truth". Humanity's greatest problem with God is equating God with man. We see acts of deliberate sin by folks who call themselves Christians. We then get mad at God and curse Him. Yet if we humbled ourselves, we'd realize the one of greatest gifts that God gave us is free will. This one is so hard to handle!!! We blame God for giving us free will! God gave us the choice to come to Him, yet knowing that we might instead go to satan with all of his enticements!
Christ does want us to congregate in the church to learn to work together--that's why He empowered the apostles to plant churches. The church house is a solace for weariness. We ought not expect perfection from our church members but we must have forgiveness because they will hurt us and we them. It's human nature. I suspect the "A Real Christian" may NOT be that invested in the church, but in tearing down Christians. Its amazing how we folks can look at the heavens, the ant at work, sunsets, the life process, our own faces and bodies, and NOT believe in a higher power! We instead choose to believe men who tell us that there is no God, but a big bang "theory" which explains everything! How childish!
As I heard someone put it--one doesn't look at a finely crafted watch then says that an explosion is what crafted it! We don't look at a Lamborghini and say an explosion created it!
Sorry Soulbrother for another long answer. Your posts are that good!

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

You're right, Max. It didn't dawn on me until I gave my life to Christ that one of the reasons it took me a while to do so was because of the way many Christians live and die by the word of the church and all the traditions that come along with it...not that they're so in love with Jesus. Christians can be relentlessly judgmental.

We have to be better all around because others are watching what we say and do. The Word is what it is and can be interpreted in many ways but at the end of the day, I am truly thankful man will not make the decision on whether I live an eternal life.

md20737 said...

Hey Max. I just realized not to long ago it was Christianity I was upset with and not Christ's teaching. The teachings of Christ are what I believe in. Im not sure how these two even got mixed up.

But if want ill I will respond to this chick for you, whats her email?

Your posts have been a big help to me.

Denisha said...

"And I would go so far as to say that if one never stops to examine their beliefs, to quantify their faith, they need not simply “Curse God and die”: they are already spiritually dead."

Best line of this post! I sometimes find myself questioning my faith too and I wonder what is wrong with me. Why can't I or won't I accept it as readily as everyone else I know. It does not align and, as much as others know the Bible more than I does not align with what I feel within. Her stmt to "curse God and die" was extremely harsh...great example, huh?

This issue is a daily struggle for me & I take my time with it because it's what I will have to account for...not someone else.

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