10 January 2010

Dwindling Christianity? Or Increasing Value?

Christianity makes sense. It also makes a difference. Christianity is not blind or wish-fulfillment: it’s historically sound and reasonable, testified (witnessed) by 100s of people-many who had no stake in its truth. Christianity is not simplistic. It is complex enough for the intellectual to spend a lifetime examining, yet made simple enough to be grasped by the mentally-disabled – at least in its essence.
On the surface, if there ever were a losing cause in this world, it would be Christianity. Why is that? Unlike most other religions, it is not inheritable nor is it contagious. By that, I mean, for example, a husband cannot give it to his wife nor can a grown child cannot claim to be protected by the faith of his parents. For this reason it will never be the “largest” religion. 
Beyond that is the qualitative difference that Christianity has. It is not the religion of the domineering, the powerful or the 'cool' people.  To add to its liabilities (or reasons not to be a follower), Christianity challenges ones ego in a big way, and does not showcase its true giants (for they showcase Jesus Christ).  I doubt that such a religion could have mass appeal.
Indeed, it is what Christianity cannot do which is one of the most striking things about its veracity. Christianity cannot have adherents-in-name only: to be a Christian is to be a follower of Christ. You cannot travel on two paths going in opposite directions-at least not for long.
What's a religion to do?  Apparently, if Christianity is to survive, it can so only by God’s work (as He has seen to do for centuries).
Since Christianity's hallmark is love and forgiveness and since these qualities are ill-regarded in most spheres that humans esteem, then there are some things that would logically follow. As humans devalue its hallmark, then it will go into decline. As its value declines, its adherents will dwindle.  I think it's pretty well documented that human history has spent its time fighting against what Christianity seeks to do-which is to soften the heart of the person.
Still, if you look at real Christianity, you will find it has stubbornly refused to die out. I am not saying that this is “proof” of anything with regards to Christianity, but it is an interesting item of trivia. 
But, it is the quality that real Christianity distills-love which seeks not its own-that becomes my focus here. This kind of love is in extremely short supply-which may actually increase its market value. In addition to the value the market will place on it, there is that other odd thing about that kind of love. It has INTRINSIC value, unaffected by the "market."  Love that does not seek its own good first is beyond interesting-it is compelling.  Where do you find this love? Where real Christians are. They don't market themselves, so don't bother with that path.
I am quite sure that if you look for true Christians, you will find them. Surely you know that old saying "Ask...seek...knock...?"
(Oh, I guarantee that you will not look if you are afraid of what you will find.)
"Then one of them…asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40)