Or, at least, that’s the vibe I came away with from a sermon I heard a couple months ago, wherein the pastor equated the shoppers at Whole Foods, Wild Oats and similar stores as being “earth worshippers.” He even went so far as to actually say that most vegetarians are, essentially, practitioners of paganism.
Well, my wife and I try to buy organic when we can, and we’ve toyed with vegetarianism a couple times (but the bacon and pork chops and hamburgers always wooed us back with their greasy charms), but we’re both evangelically based and believe Jesus is Lord and savior and son of God.
And therein lies a big problem with too many of my Christian brothers and sisters. There are those who are critical thinkers, but all too often, those who are most dedicated to the Word of God somehow forget to read much else but the Bible. And it’s scary sometimes the level of cluelessness this can engender.
The other day at church, for example, a woman whose baby had been having massive teething told my wife a friend had suggested relieving the discomfort with some clove. A suggestion she promptly shelved when her husband told her that sounded an awful lot like witchcraft. I guess with folks like Pasteur who recognized the antibacterial properties of certain molds and gave the world penicillin, we should have burned them at the stake, eh? I mean, some common sense would help here. Using herbal remedies and holistic therapies isn’t practicing magic. Using an herb or something else with legitimate biochemical properties (assuming it’s safe to consume in the first place) is no worse than taking a medicine in a bottle.
Now, if someone tells you to dig up a mandrake root, put a drop of your blood on it and stick in a bowl of milk under your bed for some healing, well, I don’t think I need to spell (pun entirely intended) out what that is. But when was the last time you saw health food stores selling a kit like that on the shelves?
The big problem with this kind of narrow-minded thinking is that Christians lose out on all sorts of opportunities to understand other people, whether they raise their kids in a different style or eat different foods or practice whole other freaking religions. How can anyone evangelize to a person if they’re already misinterpreting their actions from the get-go? If I look at someone who likes yoga and crystals and I assume that means they’re some New Age wiccan (and miss that the person in an agnostic lapsed Catholic who just likes being limber and owning shiny objects), I’m already coming to this person from entirely the wrong direction.
More than that, it’s just plain ignorant. And willful ignorance is like fingernails on the chalkboard of my mind.
Frankly, I get pretty damned tired of non-Christians painting me with some broad brush and thinking I’m a self-righteous Jesus freak just because I’m a Christian who believes in the Bible (more on that in tomorrow’s post). It would be awfully hypocritical of me to make broad assertions about their spiritual systems (or lack thereof) without having read and studied something about them. Hell, at least recognize that there are huge differences between Wiccans, Pagans, Druids and Satanists (just to mention a few groups that get tossed together into the same pot on a regular basis).
So, if you think the Christian walk is worth about as much use as tits on a bull, let me be the first to tell you that even if you think my faith is foolish, remember that some of us can be believers without handing over our critical thinking at the door to be mindless automatons. And for my brothers and sisters in Christ who think it’s OK not to know or understand other belief systems—well, damn, doesn’t the Bible tell us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves? God never told us to be ignorant dolts and judgmental assholes.