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A devil’s-advocate view of Christ-like acts

Misuses of faith

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Labeled for reuse by Wikimedia Commons

J.Q. Church, Web Manager

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Since the birth of Christianity, many changes have come from the developments which stem off of it. From cults to widely-established religion, motivations that staggered the view of Christ-like faith came from several aspects. Some studies claim 15 misuses of faith, whereas others stand on 10.

Much of faith today is based off of what I believe to be five difficult misuses of Christ-like faith that deviate from His teaching. In our early childhoods, we have memories of sitting in Mass and watching the collection plate go around, watching our parents, aunts, uncles and even grandparents offer money. A dollar, five, even $10 comes from people’s pockets to donate to the church. In many churches I have been in, the collection was said to support the upkeep of the church which could be new roofing or pews. Other churches prefer a donation to pay the salary of a priest because it is “right and just” like a calling from God.

“We have three pastors in our mega church,” my significant other explains. “One runs the church but he’s often touring his new book and the other two will fill in. We live in a gated community of mostly doctors, so the collection plates are often filled with money and checks to the church.”

At the time of the conversation, she did not understand that the collection of money is used to feed the salary and touring of their priest. Instead of this priest making somewhere around $40,000 annually, he was making close to a rumored $120,000 off the church alone.

If her priest in Kentucky is not enough to convince you, then how about the Rev. Michael Jude Fay, a Catholic priest? He was convicted of stealing $1.3 million from congregational collections at his church in Darien, Conn. A bookkeeper and an assistant pastor at St. John’s Church reported it to the church but was turned down. They soon after had a private eye come, and Fay was easily convicted.

Our second major issue of the faith is judgement of others. In my lifetime, I have lived in the faith of the Nation of Islam, befriended a Jewish family, and become a baptized Catholic. In the Nation of Islam, they would preach against oppression and things within the faith, asking us to not judge our brothers and sisters outside the faith but to bring them understanding without throwing Allah in their face. The Jewish family I befriended were unlike the stereotypical “judgmental” and “stingy” Jews that we see in television and movies. This family often shared and sacrificed for those around them, going out of their way, and allowed others to have their own faith and not once used their faith to judge.

Unfortunately, as a Catholic who has attended Lutheran, Baptist and Presbyterian churches, I have not seen these positive qualities, especially seeing as each is a stem from Christianity made in the image of its Creator.

Before my decision to honor Father Ray Guthrie with my baptism, I spent two years dealing with Bible Thumpers, which dictionary.com refers to as “an evangelist or other person who quotes the Bible frequently, especially as a means of exhortation or rebuke.”

My parochial school classmates believed faith in Christ is the only way, which meant they showed extreme bias and judgmental views to anything not considered “Christ-like.” You are either straight and Christ-like or fall to the depths of hell.

The third misuse of the faith comes as justification or excuse for sinful behavior. Some of the faith believe they live with no fault and justify that they have no reason to go to confession if they never sin. “Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes?” President Donald Trump said in a 2015 CNN interview on his faith.

Nobody is perfect: even priests and pastors ask for their forgiveness from God. A man who is bound to strike before thinking in strategy is especially prone to make mistakes compared to the average man.

Richard Mourdock gave a startling belief testament in 2012 of what he believe was God’s intentions. “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, [I believe] that it is something God intended.” Many of us can agree that we know not of God’s true intentions but we can also agree that God certainly wouldn’t want to spread the belief that life is intended in rape, which would branch to no abortion and a series of issues with the mother forced to have that baby.

 

 

On March 12, 1507, in Viana, Spain, Cesare Borgia was murdered. Much time after, his father, Pope Rodrigo Borgia, had a painting of Cesare made in the image of Christ. Who painted this? None other than Da Vinci, his supposed lover. This image of Cesare as Christ has been re-imaged as close to Christ himself with similar features of Cesare seen today in churches.

This leads us into the fourth misuse of faith and Christ: re-imaging the faith and Christ to your liking. Unfortunately a painted white Christ is not the first instance of re-imaging. It has happened in Japan, Turkey, Egypt and more. The term to describe this is called color coding.

Labeled for reuse by AK Rockefeller on flickr. 

Labeled for reuse by hrohmann on Pixabay. The Turkish christ

 

Based on your beliefs and the race of those around you, you chose to color something or someone in that image of those neighbors.

What is the real image of Christ? Revelation 1:14 describes “one like unto the Son of man” in the King James Version: “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire.” The next verses go on to say his feet were the likeness of fine burnished brass which, if you don’t know, is a golden dark brown color.

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Labeled for reuse by Max Pixel

As you can see, the dark finish on the chair matches that of the child, and possibly a red tint to the skin. Either way, Christ was a darker man in his life. How he chooses to come to us as God is his choice. We should recognize Christ in any image.

The fifth misuse is control. You should not use God as an excuse or justification. It should not be used to enslave and beat your children like it was on a young adopted girl a decade back who was beaten and tortured in the name of God. The faith is also misused to put women underneath their husbands as to say they must abide the rule and word of their husband. We cannot forget how Christianity was used to put fear of God in African slaves. If you need a hint, watch 12 Years A Slave and watch as Michael Fassbender’s character devises whippings and rules whilst reading the bible.

Much like everything stated before, the problem is control. The controlled idea of a perfect Christ, money manipulation, what makes you Christ-like, and what some people think gets you into heaven is actually the easiest way to go to hell. It is part of what is making Christ and the faith harder to accept.

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A devil’s-advocate view of Christ-like acts