Screwing for Virginity

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Harmony or Homogeneity?

Wow, has it really been three months?

I've been thinking a lot lately about the variety of beliefs Christians have. I love discussing philosophical and theological issues with a variety of people, and I find that I enjoy the conversation more when someone disagrees with me. That's only true when it's an actual conversation, however, and not someone telling me I need to agree with them or I will go to hell.

I have had great conversations with both Ryan and Racie about predestination (they choose to believe in it), and I've loved the comments I've received on this blog. Sadly, many Christians are not able to enjoy conversing with brothers and sisters who have different beliefs. Look at all the church splits, denominational feuds, and even wars that occur because one group believes something that another doesn't. Is this how the body of Christ is supposed to function? I say no, and that has led me down an interesting train of thought, and I would like to invite your thoughts.

What if we're not supposed to all believe the same thing? What if the truth of Creation is too big to be contained in every individual human brain? I know that this conflicts with Protestant individualism which insists that Christianity is the individual alone before God and the individual is capable of believing all the right things. But what if that's not the case? What if the body needs certain people to believe in predestination and others to believe in free will? What if it's necessary for certain denominations to emphasize the Holy Spirit and others to emphasize God's unity? What if instead of opposing one another, differing denominations saw themselves as complements to the others?

I know that many will consider me relativistic (which, let's face it, I am), but consider this: what's more important, what we believe or what we do? I would argue that within Christian thought, ethics is primary. Why don't people get nearly so upset about wrong action as they do about wrong belief? Some may say that wrong belief leads to wrong action, but I disagree. Does right belief lead to right action? I can think of several people who have their theology all figured out, but who are absolute bastards. Likewise, simply because someone believes differently than we do does not mean that they will necessarily do things that we would consider sinful. If a person is in fact doing something wrong, then perhaps they should reevaluate their beliefs, but I don't think it follows that wrong beliefs lead to wrong action.

I know that my thoughts don't flow perfectly, but that's because I'm still trying to work it all out. I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have.