On Leaving Church

I just ran across a blogpost by Dan Wilkinson on why people are leaving the church. There he responds to a quote by some guy named Ken Ham who claimed people would leave church because of the teachings of evolution and because this would tell them the bible could not be trusted.

Then Dan writes why young people are really leaving church, well in his opinion. Read it, I think he has a point. But one sentence made me stop and think:

No, Mr. Ham, no one’s leaving the church because evolution shows that “the Bible could not be trusted.”

What if Ham is right? I mean, maybe Ham does believe so himself, maybe he considers it a valid reason to leave church: If the bible is proved to not be trusted, one had to abandon church and faith and all that?

What is a valid reason for leaving church, or any faith group? For abandoning faith? I’d say, if you are no longer (or not at all) convinced of your god, whatever god your faith group might be worshipping.

For myself, not trusting a book would not draft me from my god, because I worship Him, not the book. So the book can be full of flaws, mistakes and what not. So what? What’s God gotta do with it?

Of course things change if the book is your god, and this is the impression I have from several conservative Christians. I am not sure if Ham falls into this category, but chances are high I guess. Those Christians reduce God to a book, a book they learn to or at least try to master. What kind of god can be mastered anyway?

How can you be surprised by joy, like C.S. Lewis was, when the God that is supposed to bring you that joy is a book you know by heart? What surprise can come fro a thing you know?

I mean, even if the bible was God? It is even reduced to one way of reading it, all is fix, all „truth“ is told and written down. Live by it. Period.

What joy, what surprise, what new life can come from this? Whatever is controlled by man will not surprise anymore, will not bring joyful news or a change in life.

If you control the sun and the rain, you will no more be happy for good weather, or rain after a drought. Because there will be no more droughts if you don’t want to, and you have sunshine whenever you like. Nothing wild and unpredictable about that any more. All routine… all civilized.

If you make the bible your God, if you want to put your faith in that bible and reduce God to that bible, and then you try to control that bible by knowing it exactly, you are civilizing God, you are depriving that god of his powers.

Not the real God of course, because the real God would not let you do that. But that image of a god, that civilized, predictable image is in the end deprived of all power, and people will not follow a powerless god, because what they need is the real God. And they will feel that the powerless god isn’t real, so they leave the church worshipping him. There’s nothing wrong about it. They are looking for the real God, wild and uncivilized, uncontrollable yet controlling everything, and a helper in hardship.

Dan writes:

They’re leaving the church because your version of Christianity has nothing whatsoever to do with right practice, and everything to do with “right” belief.

I don’t agree. I think they are looking for the real right believe to know what is right practise. By the way, I think there is a lot of stress put on right practise in conservative circles. Wrong practise would be premaritial sex, voting for Obama… you name it.

I got to Dan’s article through an article by Lynn Swayze Wilson. She writes about herself and why she is leaving Chriatianity (she’s converting to Judaism). The end of her article is great, so I’ll quote it here:

If Christianity, or any religion, can balance tolerance and love with meaningful spirituality, then I think the young people will stay. It’s really that simple

For me, what she writes there, is Christianity, so I am Christian. I understand this doesn’t work for many people who grew up with other kinds of Christianity, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Because if the religion is incapable of showing God’s love to people, if that religion is incapable of enabling the people to answer God in a meaningful way, it’s nothing but idolatry. One would have to find out, what the real idols are. I mentioned the bible being put in that place sometimes. Sometimes it’s other things that are identified with God and then civilized to have them controlled. That’s how you can loose God, trying to pin Him down. Don’t do it. All praise be to Him.

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