What I Like and Dislike about Christianity
As someone getting more invested in Christianity, I have met more Christians with differing viewpoints and attended more church services with alternate interpretations of Scripture. When I listen to a sermon at church, I analyze it and rarely agree with everything said. It’s important to think for yourself, ask questions, and seek for answers from multiple outlets. I find answers multiple ways: whether that be a one on one with the guy upstairs, asking believers questions about their journey to faith, or listening to pastors. Just like a good research paper, you should use different sources for a well rounded answer.
And when you search all these outlets, you are bound to disagree with some of the information.
Here are the three things I dislike about Christianity as it stands today.
1.) One Size Fits All
“Jesus is the only way”, they say.
And the audience at church agrees, clapping their hands together… completely offbeat
And I just can’t stand by that…
This is a very privileged idea, a narrow mindset that does not consider the traditions, values, and significance of other ideologies across the globe that preach similar moral code.
Now before someone searches in their Bible to prove that Jesus is the only way, I have taken it upon myself to list a few that state exactly this.
"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6).
"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).
I still don’t buy it.
Faith of any kind is beautiful in my eyes, The strength it takes to believe in something you can’t see… whether that faith is monotheistic or polytheistic, it is powerful. And I understand that the Bible commands you to spread faith. There are verses such as Mathew 28:19 that command Christians to “make disciples of all nations.”
But let’s just be secular for a second…
If I learned one thing from my major, supply chain management it was that one size NEVER fits all.
Businesses require different processes to produce and distribute their products/services. Even when products are similar, companies do not operate the same. Think Dell and Apple. Apple focuses on differentiation in the market, ensuring they have a unique identity that no brand can replicate. Dell prioritizes cost and markets their products with that in mind. No brand can market a laptop to EVERYONE because people’s preferences differ vastly based on their economic status, their reason for purchasing a laptop, their expectations etc.
In fact, I can’t think of any time when a “one size fits all” mentality is ever beneficial. One size fits all clothes is a terrible idea unless it’s a hat. And even then, my head is abnormally small so I likely wouldn’t enjoy the cap as it’d be covering half my face.
One size fits all is an absolutely atrocious idea in education. Imagine if everyone was forced to go to college. Even though many of us go to college, I believe it’s time we acknowledge the work of those who pursue a different (and just as valid) path. There is significance in ALL jobs. Cosmetology may not seem important to you but their work brings joy to so many people. Where would we be without car repairmen or construction workers? Imagine if we had to cut our own hair. I am so thankful for people utilizing their special talents to make a living because that enriches our lives. We can’t expect everyone to fit in what we presume to be the ideal mold because one size does not fit all.
Remember when you were in junior high and you thought you aced your math test but you forgot to show some of your work and your teacher deducted points because you didn’t do it their way?
“But I got the same answer…”
“I told you to show all your work.”
And you can’t help but think how dubious this rule is because you were more efficient by not showing all details and figured out the answer faster..
One size fits all is never a good idea.
It limits creativity, restricts diversity, and encourages conformity.
I love Christianity. I believe Jesus is the son of God and washed away our sins.
But I also believe that there is not one absolute truth. And to think otherwise would be belittling the work and beauty behind other faiths and ideologies. Similar to expecting a shirt from Brandy Melville to flatter all body types. Similar to patronizing those with skills that may not need college but require intense self discipline. Similar to forcing students to learn math one way.
I am not disagreeing with the Bible. Matthew 28:19 is not wrong, and we should make disciples of all nations. But rather than knocking on people’s doors asking people if they’ve heard of Jesus Christ, I think it’s best to allow our actions to do the talking.
Make disciples with your actions.
They speak louder than words anyway.
2.) The Super Sins
Initially I was going to discuss how God sees all sin the same and therefore we cannot condemn those for sinning when we ourselves sin. Everyone sins. That’s where the whole “I’m human” quote came from. It’s another way of saying, “I make mistakes. I sin.”
But as I was researching other people’s viewpoints, I came across this blog post.
And gosh darn, Michael what a great analysis.
I have always struggled with the idea that sins are the same, no matter what it was. This just didn’t seem to make any logical sense. Saying a curse word in frustration is not nearly as bad as cursing towards someone. Lusting after someone other than your significant other is not the same as committing adultery.
But sin, any sin is the same in God’s eyes. Does that mean we should view all sins the same?
In Michael’s interpretation, all sins have the same effect -separation from God- but differ in levels of heinousness.
Lusting after someone when committed is wrong but less wrong than being intimate with someone else.
Hating an individual is frowned upon but murdering someone is —obviously— much worse.
Heinousness is a valid differentiator of sins.
According to many Christians — I highly disagree with them — both divorce and homosexuality are sins.
Both are frowned upon in our society but one “sin” is an abomination. One “sin” has children kicked out of their homes. Politicians are still trying to restrict the rights of those who commit this “sin.”
And I’m tired of homosexuality being considered the “super sin” in Christianity. They love their own sex…. who are they hurting? I don’t believe it’s a sin, But if you do, treat gays, lesbians, and bisexuals like you would treat someone who got a divorce. Like a normal person who sins just like you.
Murder & Rape. Those are the super sins. Condemn those. Make picket signs for those. Consider not voting for politicians accused ~multiple times~ of those.
3. Modest is Hottest
I was in tenth grade with one of my closest friends at TJ Maxx trying on a flattering olive green body-con dress. When I asked for her opinion, I was expecting a remark on the color or the design.
“It’s too tight and too curvy.” she said as she tilted her head to the left displaying her disapproval.
I felt like I was shopping with a parent. The dress was flattering on my wide hips, accentuated my waist and made me feel good. I felt body shamed at the time because the dress wasn’t “curvy”. I was curvy. My body type was on the chopping block, and I felt her remark was insinuating I should hide myself in something bigger.
I felt weird purchasing the dress with her after she expressed her discontent.
So I went to TJ Maxx the next day, alone, and bought it. I only wore it twice because the material was cheap and became see through after a few washes.
Fast forward to junior year in college, trying to figure out just how “modest” I wanted to look. I hid my hair in the hoodie of my sweatshirt to see if that’s how I wanted to present myself. My friend thinking I just forgot my hoodie on grabbed to remove it, and I placed my hand on top of hers before she could yank the fabric off my head.
“No. It’s intentional.”
Understandably, she was confused but let it go and I sat in class silent, not participating as I usually did because I didn’t feel comfortable with how I presented myself.
I have the utmost respect for those who want to cover their hair but it was not for me. And I felt lost. Before learning about Christianity, I dressed to appeal to others, myself included. But after talking with God, I found the flaw in this but had no idea how to fix it. I dressed this way all throughout college. I was used to flaunting my figure for myself. And I had trouble recognizing the damaging impact it had on my quality of life.
I speak of female empowerment often, and I do believe women should dress as they please and be respected nevertheless. But the leggings I was wearing at the gym suffocated my thighs and bum. My legs chaffed wearing short-shorts. Pulling down my dress when walking around reduced the fun I had when hanging out with friends.
But I was told this was female empowerment.
This is not female empowerment; this is cleverly marketed inconvenience.
And the more I realized how inconvenient all these fashion statements were, the more I understood I was dressing to appeal to the world, not to God, and not even for myself. I struggled deciding how I wanted to present myself with my clothes for a long time. And I think I have finally decided what I will and will not wear out.
But that decision was made between me, God, and the weather on that particular day. Nothing else.
“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. “ Romans 14:13
Christians always seem to forget the first part.
“Let us not pass judgement on one another any longer.”
Although I changed my fashion style to reflect what is comfortable for me, there will always be people thinking I’m wearing an olive green body-con dress because modesty is subjective.
“Modest is hottest” is a one size fits all saying that I will never understand nor support as it targets curvier individuals who have more trouble finding clothes that fit their shape.
Modesty or lack of modesty is a personal choice and does not affect your beauty, your intelligence, or your charisma.
Now THAT is female empowerment.
With all that said, I love so much about the Christian faith. There are Bible verses and sermons I feel I was meant to hear. I remember one of my atheist friends comparing having faith to “self therapy” that you can achieve from a personal development book or a therapist. I respectfully disagree. Here are three aspects in the Christian faith I absolutely adore that cannot be replicated with secular help.
1.) Automatic Selflessness
When I was younger, my mother’s friend told me that having true faith means you can’t be selfish because you are living your life for something bigger than yourself. I brushed this off as gibberish at the time because I believed people can be fully selfless without faith.
And then I watched an episode of Friends. “The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS.”
Phoebe was trying to find a completely selfless act of goodness but with each attempt she tried, she herself felt good. She could not be completely selfless because she would get a “high” after helping them. Even after letting a bee sting her, the bee likely died after stinging her. So even this act was not purely selfless.
Friends did not go too much in depth into altruism as it’s a comedy show, a great one. But I connected what my mother’s friend told me long ago to that episode. No act is completely selfless when you take credit.
Assume two people donate to charity. One donates in their name and another donates anonymously. Both are wonderful acts of kindness and should be commended but the one who donated anonymously is respected to a higher degree in our eyes. They are not reaping any benefit from the good deed because their name in not plastered on the act.
When we give our glory to God, we are writing anonymous checks. We are living our lives to please Him. There is nothing wrong with taking credit but it’s icing on the cake when we offer our goodness to our Creator.
The hierarchical pyramid is an easy way to visualize how true faith makes people selfless. If you are at the top of the pyramid, the one taking credit for your work on Earth, then you are partaking in some of the glory.
Is that wrong? No. is there a better way to live life? In my opinion, yes.
Giving glory to God forces us to live a life to please something greater than ourselves. We can be good without faith; I fully believe that. But I do believe that pure selflessness is only achievable when we believe in something bigger than a big bang.
2.) The Glow (explained by the paradox of choice)
I remember when walking into church services at my university, people just had a happiness to them. There was something special I could not pinpoint about the atmosphere.The closest thing I can describe it as is a “warm glow.” Those I find who follow Christ are happier than those who don’t.
At first, I thought this came from the warmth of Jesus’s embrace.
Some of that I truly believe is from opening our hearts and minds to Jesus Christ.
But that glow can also be explained by the paradox of choice.
According to the book, “The Paradox of Choice” there are two types of people in the world, maximizers and sympathizers. Maximizers are those who search for all available options and sympathizers rather search for an option that works.
Now you may think that maximizers are happiest because it sounds like it from the title. Oh, they maximized their options; therefore they maximized their opportunities for happiness and success. This is actually not the case.
According to psychologist and author of “The Paradox of Choice” Barry Schwartz, maximizing choice ironically leads to paralysis or difficulty in decision making. When one is given too many options, they freeze up and are unable to make a decision.
Another negative effect of excess of choice comes from less satisfaction when choosing an option. Schwartz explains that even after an individual overcomes paralysis, that person receives less happiness and satisfaction from their choice because it is easy to imagine there is a more perfect choice out there.
Lastly, Schwartz mentions that when more options are available, the higher our expectations are. In his Ted Talk linked here, Schwartz mentions how he was upset when he went from only having to choose from one pair of jeans to deciding between hundreds. Even though after choosing from hundreds and finding a better fit, he t was still less satisfied than if he was to choose from one. He explains this phenomenon by addressing the significance of higher expectations. When there are more options your expectations for those choices rises, and you expect one to be perfect. When one isn’t perfect, you are upset because you put much more time and effort into making that decision versus picking the only option available.
So how does this relate to Christianity?
Those who follow Christ have less options. There is a more narrow and set path for them to follow. Nonbelievers may still be abundantly happy but it is unlikely they will feel the same amount of content as believers of faith because the abundance of choices they will have to make cause paralysis, dissatisfaction, and higher expectations.
When you live a life for Christ, there are “options” that we don’t tantalize with. This makes life easier as we are picking from 25 pairs of jeans instead of the 60,000 available choices. Our lives are more fulfilled because we believe we found the ultimate path, the best option, and do not need to look any farther.
So those individuals in these services had this “glow” that I initially connected to the spirit of God in their lives. However, it can also be explained by psychology and economics. The opportunity costs of those options seem grander when there are more choices. Less choices mean less opportunity costs and less opportunity costs means more satisfaction in choices and more satisfaction in choices means a happier life.
Faith makes me happier because Jesus is cool but also because psychology is cool.
3.) The Angel Inside All of Us
I talk to myself in my car, and I address it like I’m talking to God. I thank Him for the beautiful sunrise on my way to work. I tell Him about my current struggles with sin and ask Him for advice. Most times, he won’t respond but there are the rare occasions when He will. I don’t believe God meddles in life often. I cringe when car crash survivors praise God for saving them because “God has a plan”, placing themselves as superior to the ones who tragically died in the same crash.
As if God’s plan for them was to just die.
Talk about a superiority complex.
But I do find comfort in relating certain coincidences with God’s presence. And I truly enjoy building a relationship with Him and have discovered something incredible thanks to me opening my heart to Christ.
When I was younger, I used to believe that your conscience was like an angel that lived inside you. We always knew what was right or wrong if we listened to our conscience. I lost that belief when I was 11, after my English teacher mocked Greek Mythology.
“Crazy to think people used to believe this,” she said.
And I’m thinking, okay we believe someone is up in the sky watching our every move and has a plan for us.
Since that revelation, I despised faith as it seemed just as asinine as Greek Mythology. Since then, my conscious spoke softer. And freshmen year of college I swear it went mute.
I lost my angel.
As I decided to talk to God and let Him in on my struggles, my conscious grew louder, choices were clearer (paradox of choice but also Jesus), and I became happier because I found my angel again.
I agree that some choices are difficult than others, but if we allow our conscious to speak clearly, if it is not muddled by peer pressure, societal standards, or authority figures I believe we can make smarter and healthier decisions for our future.
Ever since I built a relationship with God, my conscious speaks with a megaphone 24/7.
And I absolutely love that. It is by far the best effect I have noticed from investing time into learning Christianity. It is a strange concept that there is some entity in the sky who is watching His little Sims characters’ every move. There are times I doubt His existence but I also know my life has improved because I choose to believe in Him.
I love Him and I owe it to Christianity, the good and the bad, for helping me build this unique relationship I have with what I believe to be the Creator.