Gay Christian Online - Defining Religion, Fundamentalism, and Legalism And Their Negative Influences And Results - Page One
Gay Christian, Gay Christians, Lesbian Christians discern true Christianity from false Christianity, defining religion, fundamentalism, and legalism.
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Gay Christian Online - Defining Religion, Fundamentalism, and Legalism And Their Negative Influences And Results - Page One


I grew up in a nice home, with loving parents, and yet, I hated myself, had very low self-esteem. I believed, falsely, that in order to achieve love and acceptance from my parents, family, and peers, I had to be the best at everything. This was the pair of glasses through which I saw the world, my base or foundation. I interpreted everything I saw, did, or came in contact with, through this view. What must be understood is this view was false, and so, then, was my world.

In college, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, and as a good, new Christian, I was excited and zealous for the Lord. Though I was re-born in Christ, I still carried with me many old habits, and foundations. So, it was only natural for me to approach my relationship with God in the same manner as I did with the rest of the world. I thought, in order to please God, I had to be the best Christian, pray, study and know the Bible, witness, and serve more than anyone else. The end result of many years of this practice and interpretation was complete spiritual burnout. I only recovered, and found true Christianity, through a direct personal intervention from God, a touch of Godís love.

I learned the definition of a Christian is based not on what you do, but who you are; who you are will determine what you do, and the right spirit behind what you do. What I was practicing wasnít Christianity, but religion.

The definition of religion is "a set of rules, regulations, a system of beliefs or practices," whereby mankind tries to connect with God; this describes the majority of the world's religions. Christianity is the only religion that is not a "religion;" it is wrong to think "all religions are basically the same or are different paths to the same end." No, Christianity is defined as the "literal adoption of a person into an eternal personal relationship and fellowship with God and God's Family." The majority of the world's religions are devoted to people taking the initiative, turning inward or heavenward in the hopes of improving themselves, connect with God, and/or achieve some eternal reward; Christianity is the only "religion" where God took the initiative and reached down to us, and gives us not improved lives but a total new birth.

So, here I present to you some thoughts and observations to help you see and determine if you follow true Christianity, or false Christianity, mere religion. Knowing these things may help you understand why you think as you do, why you approach your relationship with God a certain way. Further, you might find insight into why and how you view yourself, why you approach God or Christianity the way you do, and determine if that way is true or false.

As a gay person, it is very easy for you to get involved in religion, "false Christianity," or even other religions, in the attempt and hopes that you might either be "cured," find a "miracle," suppress, deny or hide it. True Christianity teaches you how to be yourself, and celebrate self with responsibility, joy, peace, faith, hope, and Love.

Oh, by the way... I know this article is several pages long, but you'll find reading it from beginning to end to be worth the time and effort. These pages are here to help and inspire you. So, please continue on to the next page, read the entire article. You can even download it, and read it offline. Thanks, Ben

Gay Christian Online - True Verses False Christianity - Preface - Religion Defined HOME

t a Christian Businessmenís prayer breakfast, our guest speaker spoke about how he had time to pray and study the Bible three hours or more a day. The gentleman seated next to me turned to me and said, "Gee, I wished I had the time to do that; maybe if I did, I could be as spiritual as he." My telephone rings in the middle of the night, a distraught single mother, fretting over her checkbook. She was out of money, her son needed new gym shoes, and she was checking her checkbook over and over again to "make sure she didnít accidentally forget to tithe somewhere," thus causing God to stop the flow of money to her life. Sound extreme? Not really, weíve all wondered sometimes if the bad things happening in our lives are because weíve made God unhappy somehow, or wondered if we took the time and energy to build our "spiritual muscles," then maybe we can arise above lifeís difficulties and be successful.

Iíve known people whoíve attended church faithfully every Sunday, have read their Bibles cover to cover dozens of times, are always there to serve and help out, have a very intense prayer life, and yet they are very spiritually immature. Iíve known people who rarely get the time to attend church, or to pray, or to study their Bible, and yet I am slightly jealous of their intimate relationship with Jesus. I know of people who tithe regularly, who give generously without thought, and yet they never seem to prosper or get ahead. I know of other people who rarely give at all, and yet they have a new car every year. Iíve met people who come across as the most spiritual, the most knowledgeable about God and Jesus, and yet they show the greatest bigotry, judgmental and critical spirit, and the least love. Iíve observed other people who come across as very ignorant of God, and yet they show the greatest Christ-like love, compassion, and care. Why?

Even if youíve come from a totally non-Christian background, or may have even been involved in different religions, these situations and questions are common. Theyíre common because of the base, the foundation through which we often view our world, and view it dysfunctionally.

Letís look at a few of these situations and questions...

Gay Christian Online - True Verses False Christianity - One - Absolute Thinking HOME

ne of the most common and universal false foundations is absolutes, or black and white thinking. You see the world and self as good or bad, black or white, pure or evil, perfect or flawed. There is no middle, no gray, and no neutral. Things either are right or not; there is no in between. You think in extremes, there is no middle.

The root of this thinking is perfectionism, the need for everything to fit nicely, to be orderly, predictable, and easy to understand and figure out. Your need for control makes you compartmentalize yourself, life and other people. You continually judge self and others to determine if itís all right or not, do anything to avoid error, and justify anything that doesnít fit your narrow view of the world.

The flaw of this thinking is the world is anything but perfect, anything but predictable. People just donít follow predictable patterns, and neither does life, but for some reason, this form of thinking is hard to shake. Itís hard to shake because itís so easy to justify it by observation. You see someone doing something or using something irresponsibly, and itís easy to declare it wrong in all cases, because it makes it easy to predict life, or so you think. But, then you get confronted with people who seem to be right in their lives but enjoy the liberty of something you think wrong or that goes against your beliefs. When this happens, itís all too easy to dig the moat deeper, raise the drawbridge, and cling more rigidly to your absolutes, than it is to open up your heart and mind to other possibilities. To dare think some or much of life is actually gray, or neutral until acted upon, is a threat to your absolute thinking, your need for control.

Absolute thinking does some interesting things. It isolates you from anything and anyone that doesnít fit your narrow views. It cripples your ability to make rational decisions, or any decisions at all. It makes you unable to handle change, crisis, loss, or pain. Unable to distill life down to simple black and white, you sit going nowhere, waiting vainly for simplistic solutions to your life issues, rendering yourself impotent in spirit, mind, and body, going nowhere. The more and more life proves itself to be unpredictable, not black or white, the more rigidly you cling to your dogmas, rules, regulations, and laws.

Absolute thinking makes independent thinking, questioning, and doubts forbidden. This is the way it is, the way it will always be, and if you question or doubt, you donít have enough faith, or you are rebellious, and refuse to submit to authority. If it doesnít come from your base, it is suspect. You wouldnít dare question your pastors or religious teachers; after all, they know what is right for you. You wouldnít dare read a book about a Bible topic that is different than what you believe because it might cause you to "error." Your church or religious upbringing is right and everyone elseís is wrong. You are quick to judge a movie, television show, or book as evil without even attempting to learn about it, view it, or understand it. If someone does challenge your beliefs or foundation, you become angry and defensive, instead of calm and secure. Loyalty is a virtue to you, but blind loyalty is stupid. You think being disloyal, even if evidence shows it unhealthy, is a sin. Youíd rather not think about things that contradict, look the other way at inconsistencies, and avoid anything that doesnít quite measure up. Come hell or high water, youíd rather go down with the ship, than speak up and question. God forbid you actually do some thinking for yourself, research some other differing opinions about what certain Bible verses mean, or trust God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to lead and teach you without the "help" of anyone else.

But God gave you a brain, and I think Jesus intends for you to use it. Just because we question, or doubt, doesnít mean itís unhealthy, sinful, or that we "donít have enough faith." In fact, questioning, researching, seeking facts and other opinions, is a sign of maturity, strength, and responsibility. To relinquish to someone else what you believe or who you ought to be is a sign of immaturity, and insecurity. To question or consider information that is different might make you realize that what you believe or are is wrong, and you canít handle that, would rather live in isolation behind your strong walls of absolutism than admit and embrace change.

pin you out of control, and I guarantee that whatever you grab on to, you will grab tightly and strongly. Many people choose spirituality to find some form of control or stability in their lives. Instead of dealing with your insecurities and dysfunctions, you escape from them through spirituality. Spirituality that offers absolutes, simplistic thinking and views of life are very inviting to someone who is insecure, unstable, who donít like self, and seeks reform of or deliverance from self. Further, if you are a person who wrestles with addictions of any kind, be they sex, drugs, alcohol, anything, even shopping, itís common for you to seek in absolute spirituality quick fixes and formulas to be set free from them. You seek someone outside of yourself to fix you, think if you do this or that, or think this or that way, you will finally be set free, happyÖ perfect. Being gay makes you a perfect candidate for this false thinking.

You have to continually practice your spirituality, lest you "fall away from the true faith." Miss a church service and you feel guilty. You justify attending spiritual meetings, instead of partaking in family functions, or even going to work. Itís better for you to go barefoot than have your pastor go without a new pair of shoes. You havenít knocked on as many doors for Jesus this week as you did last week. You should pray more, itís been a few weeks since you last fasted or "gave up something for Jesus." If you want just average income, then give an average tithe to God, but if you want abundant income, then give abundantly to God. This church isnít "on fire" anymore, and you decide to go to try another church, float from church to church, never blooming, because youíre never planted. This church isnít preaching the "true Gospel," so you think youíll go start your own, or wait until God leads you to one that is right. You think you need to search your heart more, or deeper, to root out all thatís wrong and sinful, so you can finally be a "worthy vessel," and have Godís blessing flow through you.

Black and white thinking and perfectionism attracts persons who have addictions, habits, and dysfunctions. It also attracts persons who hate themselves, or who are very insecure. Trying to cure the one, they often end up transferring one for the other. If you are addicted to alcohol, for example, you might turn to absolutism, through blind adherence to formulas, laws, and rules, to "cure you." But, instead of finding deliverance from alcoholism, you simply transfer one addiction for another. Bound now to a fear that one slip in your faith will cause you to slip back into your alcoholism, you become overly zealous in your faith, caught up in a never ending cycle of needing more rules and formulas to keep yourself and your life in control. You can easily replace alcoholism with other dysfunctions, such as over-eating, sexual addictions, drugs, gambling, compulsive behaviors, co-dependencies, depression, anxieties, fears and phobias, even ďconfusion or denial of your sexuality or sexual orientation,Ē and see how the quick fix promises of absolutism and perfectionism seem so inviting and hopeful. Gay people often turn to absolutism, thinking if they do this or that God will cure them of their sexual orientation. When this doesnít happen, the "temptations return or remain," they become even more zealous and rigid in their spirituality.

See Also: Autobiography Religious Service, Living the Gay Christian Life.

et's move on to learn how false things bind you, and how to find true Christianity and spirituality...

True Verses False Christianity, Page Two Companion Article How You Can Be A Gay Christian

You may also read a companion article How You Can Be A Gay Christian...

How You Can Be A Gay Christian

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