In the spirit of Dennis Prager explaining Judaism
this year, I think I am going to try to explain Christianity, perhaps using the same topics he is using, in an irregular basis.
Christianity is somewhat misunderstood and perhaps an explanation is in order. As Dennis says regarding Jews:
"Yet, for all their fame and notoriety, Jews are little understood. In fact, it may be said that those who do not understand Jews fall into two groups: non-Jews and Jews. "
Yes, I think the same applies; Those who do not understand Christians are both Christians and non-Christians.
Dennis' topic today is "Are Jews a religion, an ethnicity, a people, a nation, a culture? ", so mine will be "Are all Christians the same?"
The simple answer is no. Once Jesus died and was resurrected, the fate of the faith fell into the hands of sinful men and they did all sorts of things. Some felt that the new Christians also had to follow Torah (we see that as a major topic in the New Testament), some felt that there were no laws governing them, and some were kind of in-between. Soon, some were separating their spiritual being from their physical being and advocating that nothing your spiritual self could do could be wrong, in the same way that nothing your physical self could do was right. And through the years, the faith started by Jesus diverged.
Today, thousands of slightly (and sometimes very widely) divergent forms of Christianity exist. For some, Christianity is what they do on Sunday (on Saturday) and does not affect the rest of their lives. They grew up in a church setting for one reason or another and that persists, though is is just something they do, much like attending a lodge or a community meeting. For others, Christianity is a wedge that separates them from other people because of the need to maintain their separateness, their holiness and their relationship with God and their fellow adherents. For some, it affects many aspects of their lives, but places them in relationship with not only their fellow believers, but with the rest of society as a group Jesus is also calling to redemption.
We hope that ours is the third one, and most Christians believe it is the third one. But without a bit of the wedge, the otherness that makes a person different from the society that exists around him, that forces him to exist in a fallen world at his or her Lord's demand, a person falls into that hole and because not different, but the same as everyone else. Like them
And some who would identify themselves as Christians are there. They don't have beliefs any different than the world around them, but they are "Christians". The values, the absolutes that would tie them to the historic faith do not exist in their lives.
As are the separates. The ones who separate on silliness. On days and things you do. Who tell me that the Catholic Church is the whore of Babyl0n and that I have to do or say this specific thing to be saved.
The uniters are the ones who unite on common Christian faiths and activities. Like Faith in Christ, belief in His resurrection, his birth, his death, and other things like baptism and Communion, prayer and fellowship.
But uniters are always going off one way or another. Falling to the draw people in with anything mode or falling to the rule-keeping mode.
Christians are a complex study.