Your theology doesn’t make sense though. . .

I’ve said it before, but it’s probably worth repeating: Theology can be vitally important. However, I’ve come to a point in my life where I don’t think it’s the most important. How we see ourselves and others is. Our theology therefore plays the role of second violin.

To be perfectly honest, I’m kind of tired of theological debates. It seems that wherever you look, two “ivory tower” theologians are debating ideas without even talking about the impact of those ideas on real-world people. They will debate the eternity of hell, for example, and won’t stop thinking that they are talking about real people with real lives and real loved ones. Or they will debate the question “Is homosexuality a sin?” And not even consider how their discussion hurts those of us in the LGBTQ community who have spent decades questioning our own sanity.

But I’ll admit: these debates are all fine as long as people come first. Too often, however, the impact of our theologies is not even taken into account. The Calvinist, for example, with his monstrous doctrine of limited atonement, never ceases to consider how damaging being outside of salvation is. They are always included; other are not. And the Bible, like their God (read: theology) is still on their side.

What I prefer to see are discussions and debates about how to LIVE as a Christian. How do we “love our neighbor? How do we take the Sermon on the Mount seriously? How do we treat our enemies? Who are the “little ones among them” and how can they be brought up? Who are the most oppressed and vulnerable among us and how can we honor them and help them out of poverty without exerting power over them? But such questions are too often peripheral. What is so often on the tongue of Christians are questions like “What is sound Bible doctrine?” And “What is orthodoxy?”

Well, who cares?

Seriously.

What is wrong with turning away from so-called “good Bible doctrine? What are the so-called Orthodox doing for the good of humanity that the non-Orthodox are not doing as well? Again, it’s so tiring having to defend doctrines from people who seem to care less about other humans than their own theologies and ideologies.

Ultimately, however, their theologies make no sense. The real question is, “How do we take care of others? That’s all that really matters. What are you doing for your neighbor? What are you doing for the land you live on? What are you doing to relieve the suffering?

This is why I am so drawn to Buddhism. And look, Buddhism has its problems too. There are violent Buddhists. There are Buddhists who put the so-called doctrine ahead of actual humans. But at the heart of what is taught in Buddhism is how to treat yourself, your planet and your fellow human beings. Show compassion to all that exists and take the path that leads to the end of suffering. It’s all in a nutshell. It is such a simple and yet so difficult path, but it is worth taking.

Now, that probably sounds like humanism to some, and to a large extent it is. I still believe in God, but because everything I say about God is fan fiction (read: theology), the concept of God is secondary. Humanity is paramount.

Ultimately, however, this posture made me a better human. Life is still a struggle, but instead of focusing on this doctrine or this doctrine, I am more oriented towards the relief of suffering, which is the main point of my existence. If we take the Buddhist concept of the bodhisattva seriously, this is the main point of everybody existence – raising others out of Dukkha.

If that’s not your posture, it’s up to you. To me, however, your theology then makes no sense. If that doesn’t bring life to people. . . without meaning. If that doesn’t help, in a practical sense, alleviate suffering. . . without meaning.

That’s my point of view, anyway. To quote my good friend Derrick Day, “your mileage may vary”.


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