I saw an article in the Toronto Star titled, “Pope Francis says it’s better to be an atheist than a Catholic living ‘a double life.’” It fit in very nicely with some thoughts I’ve been having lately.
Namely, that we each find our path alone. Early in our lives, our parents instilled beliefs in us either directly or by religious proxy. As we grow old enough to think for ourselves, we embrace or reject what we’ve been taught and fine-tune our own beliefs.
What I don’t understand is how someone can claim to accept the entirety of a belief system like Christianity, but really only practice the parts they like. For example, many Christians are against same-sex marriage because it violates the sanctity of marriage and their religious teachings. Yet at the same time, many of these same people have divorced and remarried. I would suggest that divorce is much worse for marriage than two people getting married, who happen to be of the same sex. Further, the Bible does not allow divorce. So how can anyone who has divorced and remarried stand up and claim to defend marriage?
I certainly do not believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, but the last time I heard, this is one of the tenants of Christianity. So how can Christians remarry? Work on Sundays? Lie? Steal? Masturbate? Have sex before marriage? Eat pork? Get tattoos? Gossip? Eat shellfish? The list seems entirely endless, and largely nonsensical, but it’s the word of God, right?
Even worse, your average neighbourhood Christian priest seems to steer clear of these topics!
It would be one thing to simply take on the Christian ideals you like as your own and not call yourself a Christian, but if you profess to be a Christian, how can you rationalize picking and choosing what you will practice?
If you really believe there is a hell, this would seem an unwise course of action! Yet many (most?) self-professed believers do it.
Disclaimer: I selected Christianity simply because it’s the religion I’m most familiar with. The same could be said for any of them.