By Jacqueline Gedye
THE EASY answer to why I am a Christian would be to say I am a Christian because I was born in a Christian country and my parents are Christian, so naturally it follows that they saw to it I was baptised. 1 had very little choice in the matter.
Even in later life our parents hold great sway over us, and that, added to very little experience of other religions, gives us still very little choice but to be Christian. Just the same, for example, a child born in a Muslim country of Muslim parents has a very good chance of being a Muslin also in later life, even when the child is old enough to choose.
It is only when we come to be less dependent on our parents for information, when we can find out for ourselves from reading and other media, can we formulate our own opinions on religion — our own and others!
Still, it can be said that very rarely does a young person drop out of a particular religious group and opt for another. What is much more likely in adolescents is that they will drop out altogether, mostly from apathy rather than any atheistic or moral convictions.
Though this appears to happen only in our rather affluent Western society, other ethnic groups Hindus and so
forth — appear to have less trouble. It could be that in our affluence and comfort we forget our roots, and what our roots include,
At one time all England was Catholic, before the Reformation, and then after that it was still Christian, if dividedly so; but nowadays so few people seem to have the conviction of the early Christians that many young people take this as a sign that Christianity is no longer a factor in their lives — rather a liability which gets you out of bed early on a Sunday morning!
A lot of the meaning has drained from religion; it has lost its life blood, its momentum for many, so that all they use church for is baptism, marriage and death (funerals). That is not Christianity, it is habit.
Christianity is a brotherhood of people with the same beliefs. It is unity. Political differences and race differences, age differences and class differences are forgotten and all are joined together in common worship.
We need Christianity. It is the force for good in our lives, it ever strives for right and justice. 1 am a Christian now because I want to be; 1 want to share in the life of the Church and God. It is the way, the truth and life, and must not be betrayed by those who know of it. All people are the Children of God, Christian or not, and they have the right to worship in whatever way they choose With no interference — that is, free will. Any good religion will lead ultimately to God. Many religions have existed centuries longer than Christianity, and the people who worship in them are not condemned, because they too are good and devout as they follow their conscience. Besides they are united with us in humanity, they are our brothers and sisters in God, and part of God's plan surely is to unite us to this belief.
All people are God's Church — Muslim, Hindu, Jew or Christian. We must all love and trust in each other and in God, even though in the past differences have seemed almost unreconcilable.
The Message of Christ is of God: he set un his Church on earth and continues to dwell
among us. His followers are united to him and so to God, and through his active presence in the world today we are able to cope with these immense problems. We must share with one another our good fortune and our sorrow.
Unfortunately, there are many barriers to unity. Christian or otherwise. Even Christians cannot agree with one another. A sad example is Northern Ireland. So there is little hope at present that everyone can be united to one purpose of good and rightousness.
The key to the true understanding of Christianity is the command of Christ to serve. He served us by giving up his life on the Cross, we must serve him through our fellow man.
Our world is full of wars, massacres, cruelty, exploitation, hatred and crime. It is full of a lot of good things too, but it is the bad things that Christians must try to eradicate. We must progress.
In technological fields we have progressed enormously, but in the progression of love, peace and caring we seen to be sadly lacking, in fact in some ways we seem to have gone backwards rather than forwards, heartlessly sitting in comfort while others suffer.
It may be that the evil we see around us has numbed us so that little shocks us, and there is not much that will stir us from
our cocoons. We as individuals are helpless, but united by the Church we can help others less fortunate, relieve to some extent the suffering — as indeed many Christians are doing now.
To know whether you are a Christian or not, you have no need to look further than your heart.
Despite great evil, God sent His Son to help us and set us on
the right path, to be always the servant of others and follow God, who alone gives purpose and meaning to life.
If man turns from God he is lost; left to himself man cannot rectify the situation, he must be shown by someone who knows the right path. That is why Jesus came to us to re-establish a truer relationship between God and man.
Through Jesus it is possible to break the bonds which hold us to sin and evil and to help those who need care and attention. Not only did Our Lord give us this but much more, He gave us not only spiritual sustenance but bodily sustenance also (the feeding of the 5,000), because it is very difficult to believe in a God who professes to be good and starve at the same time. In this way Jesus showed us how we must help, as Christians, the poor.
Christians are God's instruments on earth; we help the ignorant towards the right path or at least should try to, and help to give them life in God. Jesus told us he came to seek out and save what was lost, and we as Christians try to follow his example as far as possible.
Truth stands at the very heart of the Christian Message: it is that God loves us and gives himself to us, and in return we should do the same in our lives. I am a Christian because I believe it to be the right way to love and serve God, but I have had all the advantages of life — good school, home, teachers and relatives, good people who have helped me keep faith and strengthen it.
By their example I have taken many lessons in Christian life, and I have seen that iCshi erasntidanlithyoL a ebveeanututalifu y of ly1 way my example others may see this too. Christianity is an overwhelming truth, but all our beliefs cannot stand on their own.
Jesus alone gives meaning to faith, he relates everything to one purpose, unity with God. Jesus was God made man — a great mystery, one of many unexplainable. Yet 1 am a Christian because in my heart I know that there is message.
Now goodness in his
Now goodness in his
age Now I am a Christian because I want to he, not simply because I can think of nothing better to do hut because I want to love and understand God more fully and through Him my fellow men, and help them in whatever ways I can, like Jesus helped us.
It is to be hoped that through his example, and Christian example in general, the world will eventually take heed and become a more pleasant place to be.