It builds relationships and can stop conflict. Jesus said "we should love our neighbour as ourselves". He went on to tell a story, which shows us that our neighbour is anybody we come into contact with on the road of life. Our response to show love should not depend on culture or status in society, it should not depend on politics, nationality or ethnicity. Regardless of anything else we should all agree, that is a good standard to live by.
At the core of Christian belief is Jesus. He lived as a human on earth, He identified with mankind. He hungered, got tired, felt pain and even cried. Jesus said He was the ‘Son of God’; many people agreed with Him. Even Pilate who sanctioned his death, knew that He was innocent and special in some way.
His example has inspired individuals to stand up and be counted, to put themselves at risk for the sake of others by speaking out.
“Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me”. A very familiar quotation. Organisations providing food aid for the starving, shelter for the homeless, a voice for the wrongly imprisoned, and freedom for those in slavery have sprung from Jesus teachings and lifestyle.
If our lives are only the experiences of our physical body, then why do we feel something is missing. C.S.Lewis said "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." Think about it.
Education for all, social justice and free healthcare in our own country have been driven by people with a social calling, and a Christian perspective.
The lack of an equal voice for women through much of huiman history is engraved in many cultures and societies. In Palestine 2000 years ago, neither Roman or Jewish law placed much importance on women's views. Some versions of the gospels have quotations from Jesus shown in text in a different colour. Have a look. Many of the conversatioins recorded in the New Testement are between Jesus and unimportant people. Everyone matters. There is no gender bias either. Some of the longest conversations recorded are with women. When you think about the culture of the day, what is actually remarkeable is that the men responsible for the gospels actuallty wrote these conversations down.
Between man and wife, between parents and children, betweem people in positions of responsibilty and those they are responsible for; these are all strong themes of Christian teaching.
We all go through dark times in our lives. Illness, worry and despair. Loniliness and depression are on the increase. We are very social beings, we live in groups for mutual benefit. It makes sense that we should be there for each other. The difference is that in Christian teaching, your resposnibility does not stop with family and close friends. There are very few people who do not believe that a caring, united, self helping community spirit in our society is not important. Many would say that this is missing in many parts of modern western society.
Religion has often been blamed for conflict. There is no doubt that ruthless people have manipulated religions, including Christianity, to support their political needs. Wars have indeed resulted. However atheist culture can be manipulated in just the same way and there is lots of evidence from the last 120 years that distorting culture of any type for political ends often brings conflict.
I was not brought up with a Christian belief. From my logical, but ignorant perspective of Christianity I could see many faults.
My top 3 - (there are others)
The lack of tolerance of other cultures through chunks of the churches history.
The use of differences between so called Christian doctrines by some people to
reinforce local bigotry.
Hard pews and boredom.
Well now. Is this Christianity in a nutshell? or was it wide of the mark? Well if I'm honest I can’t say that any of these 3 things have gone away. We could probably travel the land and find examples of all three if we wanted to. However, to counteract my 3 bad things, how about 10 good things.
We are all capable of deeper thoughts. We all seek meaning. We marvel at mystery and the possibility of something higher, more magical, more spiritual. Why? It's an interesting thought because it does not really have a benefit to our survival. Contemplation does not give us a shelter or food supplies to get us through the winter. In fact if we go too deep into thought a predator might sneak up and eat us! But maybe it does make sense. Maybe we were planned to be spiritual seekers? Whatever you may think about this, there is no doubt that spiritual change in people can be very profound when it happens, often leaving people feeling more fulfilled and happy. Maybe you feel it's not your thing. On the other hand It would be a real waste to go through life and not get a chance to ask the deepest questions of all.
Is there more than this? An atheist once wrote. if there is nothing after death, a Christian has lost little, if Christian's are right the rest of us are in deep trouble! It takes a lot of courage to change from one boat to another in the middle of the sea, but it is worth asking if the boat you are in is the right one for you.