how harmful is your christianity?
I recently had the pleasure of meeting my best blogging buddy, Clare Flourish. She’s a religious oddity in my opinion: the deity she believes in does appear to be of an actual benevolent variety. In the course of our conversation, I learned that in the UK, there are less than 20,000 Quakers. In the world, there are around 210,000 Quakers. This strikes me as odd. The little I know of this brand of Christianity, it seems to be the least harmful and the most in step with a constructive, thoughtful, modern society. Let’s look at some of the facts alongside the Catholic Church, the world’s biggest brand of Christianity.
approach to belief
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Catholics say, “We learn to know, love, and serve God from Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who teaches us through the Catholic Church. In order to be saved, all persons who have attained the use of reason must believe explicitly that God exist and that he rewards the good and punishes the wicked; in practice they must also believe in the mysteries of the Blessed Trinity and the Incarnation.”
Quakers say, “Quakers do not share a fixed set of beliefs. Our unity is based on shared understanding and a shared practice of worship, not on our beliefs all being the same. There is a great diversity within the Quakers on conceptions of God, and we use different kinds of language to describe religious experience.”
approach to war
Jesus said, “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword” and “Blessed are the peacemakers”
Catholics say, “God has conferred upon you above all other nations great glory in arms. Accordingly, undertake this journey eagerly for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the reward of imperishable glory in the kingdom of heaven.”
Quakers say, “We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretence whatsoever.”
approach to same sex marriage
Jesus said, ” “
Catholics say, “The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage and the social acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex relationships”
Quakers say, “Quakers see God in everyone and that leads us to say that all committed loving relationships are of equal worth and so Quakers in Britain wish to celebrate them in the same way.
approach to hell
Jesus said, “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.”
Catholics say, “The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ “
Quakers say, “The emphasis of a Quaker’s life is on present time―on experiencing and following the leadings of the Light in our lives today. Individual Quakers hold a variety of beliefs about what follows our lives on earth.”
If a spine-tingling deity ever comes my way convincing me that the logic of atheism is flawed, my first stop culturally convenient religion of Christianity may be the natural choice. Now, I don’t know about you, but the chances of me being drawn to its most popular variety (featuring dictatorship of belief, violence, intolerance and an ultimately seriously unbenevolent interpretation of the god God) are slim. I would definitely prefer to boost the numbers of quaintly named, gentle, thoughtful and inclusive Quakers. Spread the word to your Christian friends!