This is part 2 of my series based on a post by Stephen Mattson on the seven misconceptions of Christianity.
Everyone Believes the Same Thing
Beyond a basic belief of Jesus being divine, Christians hardly agree on anything. Common practices such as baptisms, communions, confession and even worship styles are hotly debated, and Christians are divided into hundreds of denominations, thousands of churches and endless communities—each passionate about their own opinions.
Christianity is made up of different cultures, ethnicities, doctrines, traditions, practices, theologians and practices—one of the most diverse religions in the entire world.
Conformity and uniformity are uncommon, and Christianity is distinguished by its variety.
There are presently over 39,000 different versions of Christianity in the world today. Except for maybe the Quakers one thing we seem to be very good at as Christians is to exclude anyone from our individual groups who might not agree with all we think is important about God. As Stephen mentions above we all have endless passions about our own opinions.
Christianity takes on different forms depending on our local cultures, traditions, and practices. Our various theologians debate, some say argue, constantly with each other about who sees the real God. Of course none of us will actually be able to see God in all his glory; it is simply impossible. Conformity is indeed a rare thing in the Christian church.
As Christians we all seem to be able to recognize at least to some degree the divinity of Christ but that seems to be where our consensus ends.
Some take the Bible as literal and total truth and without question. They say the earth is only 6,000 years old because that is how the ancestry of the Old Testament works out. They say that all the science that proves otherwise is just God trying to trick us. Many who have this opinion hold that document even above Jesus himself. They say that Jesus’ words are no more important than any others in their Bible as they all come from God’s lips.
Some take the Bible as more of a historical text to help us understand where our roots are.
Some say that the Bible is the total message from God to us. Others say it is a starting point and many other revelations have occurred since those days.
Some say God continues to teach us things about how we are to live on this earth. Much of that revelation is corporate wisdom given us by scientific knowledge, but some is also personal in nature.
Some say baptism requires total immersion, other say only sprinkling of water. Some say baptism itself is only ritualistic in nature and unnecessary.
Some believe in confession of sins to a clerical authority, others believe we answer to God alone.
Some say our life here is really unimportant and that getting to heaven is the most important thing. Others say our main objective is to make His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Some say declaring we are Christians via an altar call is all that is required. Others say how we act as Christians is what really counts.
We all believe different things and that is ok as long as we can respect that others might see things a different way. After all the only thing we are really trying to do is understand an infinitely wise God who is really way way beyond our understanding.