Wed | Dec 7, 2016

Focus, Christians, and save Jamaica

Published:Monday | February 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Quite a few 'Christians' ask me if I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal saviour. That question always makes me feel as if I need to confirm my deep and personal beliefs or risk being chastised, rebuked and warned about how I'm going to lose my soul, be kept out of Heaven and possibly end up in Hell for eternity. Consequently, I just say, "Yes" without elaborating and hope that it ends there.

I attended St George's College, where Roman Catholicism played a major role. In the formative stages of growing in the religion, there was a warm glow inside that emanated for months. But, after a while, some of the religious teachings left serious questions in my mind. I didn't lose my faith, but I had problems accepting several aspects of it. However, since religion seems to be 'all or nothing', I kept quiet during certain prayers and did not participate in all religious rituals.

Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, poet and astrologer, Giordano Brunu (1548-1600), proclaimed, "Your God is too small," when his view of the universe conflicted badly with the religious beliefs of that time. For this, he was convicted of heresy and burnt at the stake.

 

Eternal damnation

 

Many modern day Christians retain a similarly narrow view of God. However, I see God as our Father; and I see us as an integral part of Him, so I find it extremely difficult to believe that He could banish any of His children to Hell forever on the grounds of a lack of belief.

This brings us to the belief in Jesus. Some people believe that Jesus (the holy man) was imbued with the Christos (the Holy Spirit, manifested as a white dove that descended on Him) when he was baptised by John the Baptist. They believe that was when He was transformed from Jesus into Jesus Christ (the son of God, made one with the Holy Spirit).

Those same people also believe that it is very possible that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross. Instead, they believe, that Jesus gave back the Christos (the Holy Spirit) and was presumed dead and entombed, but rose from the 'dead' three days later.

Devout Christians will say that people holding such a view are chopping at the very root of the religion and have earned themselves a one-way, express ticket straight to Hell, head first. But, would such a view really offend God or would practising Christianity by talking and talking and talking about the miracles and wonders of the religion and offering up selfish prayers while doing little or nothing to practise the religion (the way of life) offend Him?

My view is that when Jesus Christ said that no one can go to the Father except through Him, He meant that we go to our Heavenly Father by practising His principles of love for all and worshipping God, our Father, not by just begging Him (Jesus) to intercede for us.

 

Principles in practice

 

I strongly believe that the reason for our ridiculously high level of indiscipline, corruption and crime is our failure to practise Christian principles daily. Sad to say that many, if not most, Christians are focusing on the marvels of the religion and revelling in their belief that only they are special to God since they chose to worship Jesus. In general, most Christians are not focusing on the powerful Christian message of loving God and loving others and, therefore, doing God's work by showing love to others.

Christianity is all about sacrificing for our brothers and sisters in God.

A truly Christian society would see to the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of the less fortunate and eschew crime and corruption. We have very little to show for all our churches, powerful positions that Christians have been put in, and numerous Christian programmes and events.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.