I think the core motivation of fundamentalist beliefs is fear. Okay, so there are the ideas of grace, mercy, love, justice, doing the right thing by following the rules, but when I am really honest with myself, what motivates me to do the right thing is not because I love Jesus so much and want to please Him or glorify Him by my choices.
To me, Jesus is a historical abstract that falls into the gray mist of history along with George Washington, Martin Luther, the Puritans, etc….I don’t live my life trying to please George Washington, nor do I feel any different inside considering Jesus, George Washington, or Abraham Lincoln, except I can visualize and understand the historical culture and situations of the last two men more clearly than I can understand an ancient Jewish civilization that was ruled by the Roman empire. There is simply no connection between our current day government (constitutional democracy) vs ancient Roman rule by emperors through their representatives (governors, Tetrarchs, and Jewish High Priests)
So how did I end up meandering here so quickly?
Many believers claim they have a deep, personal relationship with Jesus whom they love and want to please by their lives. They are so grateful for their salvation, that they feel as if they can never repay this debt, but want to “present your [their] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God as your [their] reasonable service.”
Fundamentalists teach that salvation is a free gift. It is, but it also comes with expectations, so it is not entirely free. In fact, I would argue that you are expected to trade your entire life in exchange for this ‘free gift’ of salvation.
And here is where you might think I’m going off the deep end, and maybe I am, but since it’s my blog, let’s go there. Ready?
Every preacher I’ve ever heard almost always starts with Genesis 1:1 which says, “In the beginning God (many stop here) created the heavens and the earth.”
I’d like to know what happened BEFORE that verse?? If, as fundamentalists teach, God has no beginning or ending, then what was God doing prior to 10,000 years ago before He created the earth? Sitting on his throne being bored out of his mind? Creating weird heavenly creatures? Did God create entire other worlds that had their own unique problems that He had to intervene and save them for all eternity?
It strikes me that both the religious person and the atheist arrive at the same starting point after infinite regression. Either they choose to believe there was an Intelligent Designer who always existed and who initially created the universe or they believe Matter has always existed and the universe has come into being via random, natural processes over great periods of time.
The flavor of religion designs its own ‘God’ along with its presumed attributes and builds up a resulting system of ideas.
Personally, it strikes me that from whatever point one starts, each party must start by making a choice to believe in one path or the other by faith.
And I find that both ironic and humorous!
Until next time, when I actually get back on subject, have a great day!