Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Keeping it real with Saleen Oliphant

Published:Saturday | February 4, 2017 | 2:00 AMTamara Bailey
Saleen Oliphant

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

To many, he may be too radical for his own good; while for others, his belief system is a breath of fresh air. But Saleen Oliphant says that as a Christian, one should find out the truth for onself rather than be fed information.

Having been a member of the church since birth, Oliphant admitted that he initially got baptised as a result of his peers (pressure), but over time, he grew to understand how things really worked.

"It is very important for each individual to affect their belief system with the truth. Many argue that truth is relative based on the situation and or circumstance you are brought into. Truth has no flip side for me, and we always try to match what others say with our own observations or research."

He further explained: "The truth, I do believe, is guided by the Holy Spirit, who, through God and Jesus, inspires our hearts to understand and accept what is truth. Pastors and other religious leaders can only bring to us the written and spoken aspects of truth, but it's my duty to make the conscience clear as to what truth is through research and inspiration."

CHURCH RIDICULED

Because of his own findings, Oliphant revealed that he and the church that he represents have been ridiculed.

"Individuals have challenged and rubbished the belief system of the Church. Mostly done by those who have been members and others who want to know the truth but are fiercely fighting to accept the truth," he said.

He told Family & Religion that Christianity for him is more of a bond than a lifestyle.

"Society educates us as to what Christianity is, yet we rarely live its principles. Since I was old enough to understand the concept, I have endorsed that love is the order of a Christian. Christ came to Earth because of love. He taught, lived, spoke, showed, and practised love."

He added that it has not been easy, but each day gives an opportunity for acquiring more knowledge.

"The journey is a rough one as the battles are real and to keep in line feels as though I am restricted to live life for its rewards. In most recent years, I've been really understanding my purpose as a Christian and seeking to educate myself to know more about my existence and the role I have to play as an exemplary being. It has never been easy as the expectations are high and there is never enough you can do or say to not encounter controversy with persons who behave as though they know more about your faith than you do."

Oliphant is of the belief that one's spirituality plays a greater role than one's religion, but one's ultimate goal must be to have love and show love.

"The Church needs to operate on the principle of love. Jesus's life on Earth was to teach that principle, and it is by that principle we are all given saving grace. There are so many Bible verses that give us that principle, many of which are always forgotten, and in my opinion, once we go to those principles of love, we will fulfil our duties and dismiss the devil in our lives."

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com