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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Master mentor #7

Monday – February 4, 2008 – Chapter 6 (Book 2, Chapter 1)
As CS begins another chapter, he begins to draw some conclusions about God and what is different about the God that we find with Christians and what others believe about God. He divides all humanity into two categories: those who believe in God and those who do not. At this point, he calls those who do not the minority. I don’t know if I agree that this is still the minority. Maybe this is a product of the fact that this book is over 50 years old. But maybe not. Secondly, he separates those who believe in God into two categories: those who believe that God is beyond good and evil and those who believe that God is good or righteous. He holds up his argument here.
But I want to go back to something that he said at the beginning of the chapter. CS says that he is going to start off by telling the reader something that all Christians do not believe: that is that all other religions are wrong all the way through. This is a thought that has popped up time and time again in my mind and one that I would resonate with.
This semester I am taking a course on the Muslim religion. A couple of weekends ago, I was sitting in this class in Indianapolis and as I was listening, Dr. Douglas was talking about how most Muslims see Christians (and in some contexts Americans) as irreligious because they never see us pray. But yet, if you asked most people what was one thing that they would recognize about Muslims is that they are required to pray five times a day. As a Christian, there is something a little bit convicting about that. In fact, I would say that it’s very convicting to think that Christians pray very little. But I would say that it would be a fairly accurate thought. Muslims are known for their devotion to prayer (discussion on rote prayers versus heartfelt and spontaneous prayers aside for now). But if a Christian were to begin practicing the habit of going outside or into their church and praying five times a day, most Christians would think that they had lost their mind. But there is still something compelling about their devotion to prayer. And something that should be considered and assimilated into our way of worshipping God. I am betting that it would help my relationship with God a great deal if I were to develop the practice of regular times of prayer.
There are always things that other religions and definitely some within the Christian religion can offer to encourage my relationship with God. For instance, I feel that Protestants (myself included) have a very low view and a very poor practice of the Lord’s Supper (communion or the Eucharist). But you would not make that accusation against a Roman Catholic or Lutheran Church. There is something there for me to learn. I wouldn’t say that I would consider becoming a Catholic or Lutheran for their communion emphasis anymore than I would consider becoming a Muslim for their prayer practice. But again, there is something to be learned there.
I do however agree with that CS says in following up on that thought… “But of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic – there is only one right answer to a sum” (pg 43).

Jim

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