Why So Much Contention in Religion?
I was four different kinds of Baptist for about twenty years and I can tell you there isn’t a more contentious environment anywhere. In addition, a cursory perusal of history will reveal that the vast majority of wars are religious by nature.
In this ministry, which is a think tank and not a Christian organization though religion is part of what we study, we are constantly plagued by petty issues brought up by religionists. What’s going on?
Answer: under law.
In the New Testament, we find a dominant theme: those under condemnation condemn. Love isn’t the order of the day; it’s all about sin sniffing. This flavors all of reality. The worthiness of a person is judged by their lack of faults from the perspective of everyone who has their own mental court of law.
Think about how scary that is; everyone you come in contact with is going to judge you by their own perception of what is good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable. And think about gossip for a moment; it is the combined condemnation of multiple courts of law from different perspectives. Gossip condemns you from multiple angles while rarely missing any fault and even adding some that aren’t true. The endgame of condemnation is condemnation and slander is a handy shortcut for that purpose.
And don’t forget Bible verses. A single verse standing alone can be twisted to say anything about everything.
What is the biblical prescription? The law is to be used for love and not condemnation. When one is born again and no longer under condemnation, the preoccupation is love towards others and not fault finding; or at least it should be.
Another attribute of being under condemnation is the desire to control others and it shouldn’t be a surprise that condemnation is used to accomplish that by people who are under condemnation. It goes something like this: “Because you are unworthy, you need to obey me for your own good.”
Condemnation is also used by those under condemnation to uncondemn themselves and proclaim themselves innocent in their own personal court of law. “My wife is frigid; therefore, I had no choice but to commit adultery.” Examples along this line are inexhaustible.
Most marriage counseling is unsuccessful because it seeks to rectify two condemnation lists from two different courts of law; good luck with that. If the focus is love, sin will be displaced as a natural consequence. In contrast, condemnation is a bottomless pit that can never be sufficiently rectified.
No surprise then: God so loved the world that He gave His only Son who didn’t come into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
You CANNOT fix anything predicated on condemnation and that includes church as the quintessential example. Where the Bible is used to condemn rather than to instruct in regard to love which does no wrong to its neighbor, only strife and misery remain.