Campbell’s Tomato Soup

There are tens of thousands of denominations in Christianity.  There are an estimated twenty-odd major religions in the world, many of which have or likely have several (if not hundreds or thousands) of branches, break-offs, streams of thought, denominations, sub-groups, or whatever you want to call them.  For the sake of simplicity, I’ll just use sub-group here.

When it comes to non-religious groups, I only recently discovered that
a) there are more than just atheists and agnostics and
b) even atheists and agnostics have sub-groups.

I had always thought you either didn’t believe in any gods or you didn’t know if any really existed, and that was the extent of it.  How do you find the “right” label for yourself?  And are these labels even important?  They always kind of bugged me….maybe because I didn’t know how to label myself.  I always said I was a Christian.  “Yeah…but what kind?”

“Independent fundamental, Bible-believing, Bible-beggin’, foot-stompin’, soul-winnin’, door-knockin’, pew-jumpin’, sin-hatin’, devil-chasin’, King James Version ONLY Baptist!” —Mark Lowry (the only place on the net I could find this quote is here)

My family on both sides is several generation Pentecostal.  From the age of 10 until in my teens when my family stopped attending church, we went to a Baptist church.  So was I a Pentecostal?  Was I a Baptist?  I didn’t really know and figured it shouldn’t matter.  I was a Christian!  That’s all that mattered!  I remember catching a ride somewhere with my great-aunt and uncle and a couple of friends of theirs.  My aunt and uncle are, of course, Pentecostal, as were their friends.  Conversation revolved around God and church, and my aunt suddenly warned her friends “Be careful what you say!  We have a little Baptist in the car!”  I thought about that warning many times over the years, which lead to my belief that denominations don’t matter.  Or labels.

And yet…being label-less in regards to my belief system…I catch myself looking for one.  I feel more vulnerable and lost without one.  I think “If I had a label, I would know what I believe and I’d have an answer for people when they ask me.”  There’s comfort in that.  Security.  I don’t like not having an answer.

GOD I miss the days when I knew what I believed!

God said it. I believe it. That settles it.

I am a rabbit-trail kind of person both in the literal and figurative sense of the term.  Give me the choice between a well-worn path in the woods and some narrow little animal trail that juts off into the brush, and I will go for the little one every time.

Mental and conversational rabbit-trails are also a lot of fun to follow.  Like many other students I’m sure, I had Facebook open while trying to study math today and I saw someone posted a very long devotional thingy on the wall of a group I’m a part of.  Yes, a Christian group…mostly for teens I think.  The guy who runs it was in youth group a few years ago when I was one of the youth leaders which is why he added me to the group.  Anyway, the guy who posted on the group’s wall this afternoon was obviously not one of the younger teens I usually noticed leaving messages.  So I snooped his profile.  I DO love open profiles!  LOL!  Reading through his favourite quotes, I found one that stood out to me as being incongruent with Christianity in general.

“What can’t be tested can’t be trusted.” -John Burns

I’m not an expert on…well…anything, let alone religion and testing and proof and stuff…but I really can’t see how one can like or believe a quote like that and still have faith.  Like my big brother continually tells me every time I look for proof that God is real or Christianity is right or hell exists as a place of eternal torment, “It’s belief because there is no proof.  If there was proof, it wouldn’t be belief.  It’d be fact.”  Not to say that belief or faith are bad, they just seem incompatible with only trusting what can be tested.  Especially in regards to Christianity’s version of God, I remember being told that while God tolerated being tested and people’s requests/demands of proof, he didn’t like it.  Sure God proved himself to Gideon and Thomas,  but Jesus himself told Thomas (after giving him the proof he asked for) “Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”  Therefore it was always better to just accept the things of God unquestioningly.

When “God said it.  I believe it.  That settles it.” seems to be the general mentality of Christians, how can anything be tested?

I guess that’s why this quote on the profile of a person who appears to be a very devout Christian confuses me.