Christianity: a competing ideology or a new way to see God?
Richard Rohr on the problems Christianity has created for itself due to how it has presented itself
I’m reading Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr at the moment. As is the case with all his books, it is loaded with so much wisdom and insight. Today though, while reading on the bus, this section in particular jumped out at me:
I think Christianity has created a great problem in the Western world by repeatedly presenting itself, not as a way of seeing things, but as one competing ideology among many. Instead of leading us to see God in new and surprising places, it too often has led us to confine God inside our place. Simone Weil, the brilliant French resistor, said that “the tragedy of Christianity is that it came to see itself as replacing other religions instead of adding something to all of them.” I could not agree more.
As someone who has spent their whole life within the Christian religion, I have seen this very clearly. All too often, the goal as been to convert people to Christianity over and above helping people find and see God. We are too preoccupied with getting people into our tribe.
We have presented ourselves as being the best of all religions—the one true one—rather than focussing on helping people simply find the life in all its fullness that Jesus himself spoke about.
Joining the the religion of Christianity has become an end point instead of a path to life and freedom that stretches far beyond the confines of any one religion.
If our religion spends more time pointing to itself rather than to God himself, something has gone wrong.
As Rohr says, the goal of healthy religion is to lead us to ‘see God in new and surprising places’. It is a way of seeing the world and oursleves in a way that brings us to life and fullness and hope and truth.