As Christmas draws nigh, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about Christianity, since there’s that whole “Christ being born” thing that fueled the day’s origin.
And before you go all rhetoric on me, yes, I do know that Jesus was most likely not born on December 25, and that the date may have been chosen due to solstice festivals, and that some traditions have pagan origins. I KNOWWWW. Christmas has a hodgepodge of many traditions, but it still came about because of Jesus. It means “CHRIST’S MASS,” for goodness sake.
However, I am not that person who FORCES everyone to say “Merry Christmas,” or who believes that taking “Christ out of Christmas” is the sole reason this country is “GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET” (and wow, do I hate and not understand that phrase). And if you do think that, I will say one thing: It’s a symptom, not a cause. That is not a hill I will die on because there are many other hills that deserve my time and death more.
That being said, I am tired of my faith being labeled delusional and naive (though, just like beliefs about ANYTHING, there are people who fall within those parameters).
Here’s what I have to say: If I were going to be delusional and naive, I would most certainly have chosen a delusion that was a hell of a lot easier to live out and explain.
Don’t get me wrong. I can understand why people write faith and Christianity off as delusional and naive. I HAVE THOSE SAME DOUBTS AND FEELINGS (from time to time, at least). The Christian practice of going to church is one of the oddest experiences EVER, and I’ve been doing it my whole life. If someone turned to me and said, “Would you like to accompany me to a place where there will be group singing and then we’ll listen to some guy talk about a book written thousands of years ago?” I would respond: “You are in a cult and need help.” Or if someone looked at me and said, “Do you want to talk to a great mystical Spirit through prayer and that will affect what happens in this world?” I would also be concerned about mental stability. I am aware that Christianity can come off as an odd duck.
But delusional and naive seem unfair. First, because I chose it, wherein delusions are a type of mental illness not chosen (in my understanding). And second, because living as a fully committed Christian is one of the most difficult things EVER. Now, there is an incredible amount of fulfillment, joy and hope in following God. And there is access to the Holy Spirit’s power, which means I’m not “being good” of my own will power (this isn’t a theology lesson, so that’s as far as I’ll go with that). But as someone who has been a Christian for years, I can tell you it is much much MUCH easier to live in a self-gratifying way than it is to “deny yourself and take up your cross daily” (Luke 9:23) and (Romans 12:1) “offer your bodies as living sacrifices” (before you freak out, remember metaphors, people).
So yes. I get the objections to Christianity. I think about them quite frequently, in fact. I’m not naive. I’m not stupid or unaware of them. And if you still think I’m delusional, all I can tell you is that my delusions are transforming me into a better person: One who loves better, serves better and is not solely focused on self-gratification (by the grace of God!).
I’m also not afraid to be delusional or wrong in this department (although that’s not the case). After all, what do I have to lose? Being a Christian may be the hardest decision to make on a daily basis. But despite the doubts, questions and uncertainties, I know who I am and what my purpose is: To love God and glorify Him by loving and serving others.
So if there’s delusion in that sense of fulfillment and hope, I’ll take it. Merry Christmas, indeed. (And happy holidays, too!)