I need a little help, here. I’m not “in the club” so I may have missed some of the nuance that only an insider can appreciate. I’ll just give you the bits I get and you stop me when we get to the part I missed, okay? Religions – ALL religions – come with rules. These are not suggestions, they’re rules. If you subscribe to a religion – any religion – you’re supposed to follow the rules, right? In Christianity, all the rules are all the rules. They all “count” but some seem to be…bigger than others. Some (10, apparently) are SO big, they have a special name: Commandments.
If I break down that word, Commandments, I see it contains the word ‘command’, which indicates to me that it’s’ MORE than just a simple rule…it’s, well, a command. Because it’s sort of highlighted, I feel it’s SO important that it required special handling. A person who claims to follow a given religion must, at a minimum, follow the Commandments, right? How am I doing so far?
I’ve read the Bible. I don’t pretend to have memorized it and there are some parts that will cause your eyes to glaze over in boredom – the “begats” spring immediately to mind – but I do not recall any part anywhere that allows believing ‘a la carte.’ It’s a package deal. You take the whole thing. No substitutions. (I always think about that when I see someone with a ‘Jesus loves me’ tattoo on their arm. No tattoos. Leviticus – look it up…)
One of those commands says this: Thou shall not bear false witness (Exodus 20:16). This command has generally been understood to mean you’re not supposed to lie, right? Misleading is a lie, right? I’ve never seen the asterisk in the Holy Book directing me to the caveat “unless you need to in order to defend your political position.”
So, I hear – and I mean I hear it a LOT – that this is a “Christian nation.” If all of the preceding is correct, that means this is a nation of people that don’t lie, right? That’s not really my experience. People will readily tell you they’re Christians, then proceed to say whatever they feel they need to say in order to “win” an argument, true or not.
I know there are a lot of people out there who claim to believe in a “hedge their bet” kind of way. They don’t actually believe and they don’t want to live by the rules but…just in case, they’d better SAY they believe. According to the book, God knows their heart so that one is clearly not going to work. Those people are only deceiving themselves. Ooh, two strikes with one swing…
I guess the rest are counting – heavily – on that “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven” bit. Now, this is a bit of a “deep dive” into the subject but my understanding is that forgiveness isn’t automatic. You have to ask for it and even then, you have to ask with a “contrite heart.” ‘Contrite’ means feeling remorse. That is, you have to be genuinely sorry and genuinely intend never to do it again. (Sure, you might do it again but you have to intend not to when asking…)
But if you KNOW that you’re going back to your false-but-win-at-any-cost stance right after church this morning, your prayer for forgiveness is probably going to fall on deaf ears, right? More importantly, the person, er, Being who will be judging you is not the guy on the other end of social media you just managed to deceive. It’s a GOD whom YOU claim is omniscient. Omniscient means He knows EVERYTHING, right?
The God you claim to believe in is going to know that you’ve been lying your ass off in an attempt to win a freaking argument on Facebook and that doesn’t slow you down? What, may I ask, do you plan to tell your ‘God’ when you stand for judgement?
I’ll tell you this: something isn’t right. Based on what I read and hear, either there is no “serious” Commandment prohibiting lying or I’ve overlooked the ‘unless you need to’ bit or, perhaps, there are just precious few actual Christians…