I see a common argument among people who dislike evangelism or dislike Christianity in general, and it goes like this: I don’t need to be saved. I don’t want to be saved. I’m insulted that you even think I need to be saved (even if you don’t say so). Stop trying to act like you have any clue how to save my ass that didn’t need saving to begin with.
OK, fair enough. But then again, I’ve never been the kind of person who gets into your face and says, “You need the saving blood of Christ.” Yes, that is what I believe, but I’m not into confrontational encounters where I try to browbeat a person into choosing Jesus.
And before anyone starts, this blog doesn’t count as being in your face. You don’t have to come here and you can leave here any time you like. I haven’t trapped you in a corner or pounced on you at the office trying to proselytize to you. This blog is here for me to muse about spiritual matters, to share my thoughts, to show people that Christians aren’t all from the same cookie cutter, to perhaps get people thinking about Christ, to expand my own thoughts, to entertain, to vent, and other such things.
I find it interesting that some folks here and there still seem to want to paint me as at least slightly judgmental because I believe in Hell. Believing in Hell doesn’t mean I feel warm and fuzzy about it or derive any kind of satisfaction out of anyone who does go there. It’s like saying I’m judgmental if I were to say that having prisons and courts is a necessary thing. Hell is the spiritual equivalent, like it or not. Or believe it or not. Don’t paint my opinions or my attitudes solely on a belief in Hell and judgment of souls. A slice of my beliefs doesn’t give you enough to go on about me. It would be like me judging a person’s intelligence based on the fact they like some empty headed pop music.
But, on to the point of today’s post, which was inspired by a post at another blog, Tit for Tat, titled Are We So Bad We Need to Be Saved? It’s a short post, so I’ll just paste it below, but check in at Tit for Tat’s site using the link above anyway, because there will be comments to that post, most likely. Besides, you might find some interesting, edifying or entertaining stuff at other posts there. But here it is:
After several recent conversations, it got me thinking(again). Are we really such bad people that we need to be “Saved”. I mean ,like really, do the majority of us continually do crappy stuff to each other, everyday all day long? I like to think that my fellow Human has just as many Good moments as they do bad, and if that is the case then why do many Christians feel the need to see themselves as inherently bad? Im wondering fellow bloggers, do you see yourselves as inherently bad or good?
His general point is a good one to ponder. Are we really so bad? But I would submit that it isn’t so much about being good or evil. It’s easy to couch sin in terms of good vs. evil but that isn’t necessarily always the best way. It has its places and uses, but sin and salvation are a lot more complex than that, which is why I rely on metaphors and analogies a lot around here.
And yes, I’m about to do so again.
Let’s look at sin and damnation/salvation and sinning/being saved from a different angle. Not whether we seek to be good or embrace unfettered badness. Not whether we see ourselves on the side of light or darkness. Not whether we believe in God or not. Let’s consider the alcoholic instead, as a stand-in for the sinner.
Alcoholics comes in all sizes and shapes and types. Some get violent, some get silly, some get unconscious, others get all sorts of other ways. You have constant drinkers on one end of the spectrum and binge drinkers at the other. An alcoholic may drink to excessiveness, or may simply drink constantly at a very low level.
Alcoholism causes problems. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as killing someone while driving drunk. It doesn’t have to be hitting a spouse or child while under the influence. It can be as simple as wasting family money on too much drink and hurting your household in that manner. It can be the fact that your little buzz every night when you come home from work to unwind is robbing you of opportunities to bond with your family. It could be the slow destruction of your liver. But the fact is that an alcoholic chooses to drink, despite doing so to his or her own detriment and sometimes also the detriment of others.
But what all alcoholics share is a problem. It is in part a sickness and in part a choice. And it can only be solved when the person admits that he or she has a problem.
Sin and damnation are very similar.
We all sin. Even born again folks are sinners. They are simply like alcoholics on the wagon. No alcoholic ever stops being one. In fact, in terms of sin, people are worse than alcoholics because even those who “take the cure” will in almost 100% of cases still sample sinful ways, whereas a committed alcoholic in recovery might never again touch a drop of liquor.
The problem of sin isn’t so much being evil. It’s a matter of whether we recognize we have a problem and seek the solution to that problem. That’s the crux of Christianity.
Sin is a departure from God’s plan and it causes us to separate ourselves from His grace. It is the admission that we are sinners that puts us on a road to getting back in connection with God.
Just like alcoholics, there are sinners aplenty who will maintain that they don’t have a problem. They don’t need help. They are mostly good. They can quit being separated from the divine any time they want. It’s not just atheists or agnostics who do this. It isn’t even people who believe in other religions. There are so-called Christians who do the same thing.
But they do have a problem, even if they don’t admit it. All of them. All of us. The reason the Gospel is there is to provide a mirror for those people to look at and, hopefully, see the problem, desire to solve the problem, and take the cure. That cure would be Jesus.
Just like an alcoholic being confronted with their problem and getting help. What is the reason they should seek recovery? Not because they are browbeat into doing so. Not because the law tells them to or else. Not for any other reason than this: They have chosen to do so, and want to do so.