The dark side of Christianity is when people begin to believe it is by their own merit, their good works, their moral compass, their right standing, their knowledge, anointing or calling that makes them “saved,” “worthy,” “holy.” This breeds pride, power, and destruction merely satisfied to have attention from others, and never truly being a part of God. We all know of the cruel and unspeakables in the church world. Throughout every age of religion there have been periods of severe abuse, atrocities, slanderous, vicious expectations that organized religion implement. People twist the representation of God and the nature of Christianity for their own selfish desires and greed all the time. At times, we can stand back and watch the whole process of being a Christian merely becoming a source of feel good events. This is not God. This is not Christianity. This is dead religion. This is the dark side that so many people prefer rather than seeing themselves, and seeing God.
I started believing in Jesus at the age of nineteen after studying an array of spiritualities. The first church I attended, taught that religion was a term used to explain rules and regulations not necessarily created by God, but people. Religion is often seen as going to church on Sundays and obeying something like the ten commandments. Too often, organized religious groups are just that, religions. They are basing teaching on performanced based living, instead of letting it be about for example; sharing a relationship with God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, which he has given each one of us for fellowship. Why does Christianity seem to be about everything, but this? …Because of it’s dark side.
Jesus’s message to the religious sector was that they were in fact hurting people, not helping them. Matthew chapter 23 is Jesus reproofing the Pharisees and teachers of the law that oppressed the public. He mentions how religion puts heavy loads on peoples shoulders, how people do not practice what they preach, how church can be more about what you wear and how you look than God. How true matters of justice, mercy, faithfulness are neglected. Matthew 18:6 warns to not cause anyone else to stumble, to not cause sin in another person’s life, to not give cause for hatred and resent towards the church. Matthew 12 talks about a brood of vipers being people with a heart full of evil that cannot say or do anything good. These kinds of people do not represent God, but themselves.
When people represent an establishment like a church, and constantly choose to take biblical concepts out of context for the use of personal gain and power- it is abuse. Religion has always been developed through human parameters. Many religions depend on rules and systems to keep the religion active as a spiritual practice. This is the general custom, the common way of interacting with religion. As it is with all human endeavors, in this also is wrongdoing and suffering. This is a part of every church. It is because the church is made up of people participating in a faith, and all in different places in their personal walk and spiritual development. This does not mean God isn’t there, just that people are there too. God is anywhere God is wanted. So why doesn’t God just get rid of all the bad stuff in humans and keep the good? Let’s be a little more open minded about this. Hopefully, we can see that life is far more interwoven.
Matthew 13:27-30 The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?”
“An enemy did this,” he replied.
“The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?”
“No, he answered, “because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in a bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”
Christianity in it’s true nature is a welcoming spirituality that focuses on a personal relationship with our creator, not performance based living with a long line of rituals to perform lest you be condemned and judged. Instead, being a Christian is engaging in a spirit filled life by fellowshiping with the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and father God. Within this relationship is personal growth, healing, new attitudes and understanding in fruiation, and there is a deep acceptance of God’s love for yourself, and a deep love for others.
Guard against the dark side of religion. Many people do turn Christianity into a mere religion, something distant, something human made. And in some ways, we all do this to an extent in everything we know and believe. It is important to separate the human being from God, this way you can know God on your own. Even though it is nice when a Christian does represent Christ-like values and God’s spirit of love, we all struggle with being loving, putting others above ourselves and at some point will disappoint. All human beings do from one perspective. This doesn’t mean we have to make God the scapegoat. To think of all the atrocities executed in the name of God is enough for anyone to lose their hope in a higher being. God is seperate from the frailties of human discourse and action. Death and destruction is not God’s fault. It is each individual’s choice how to act, yes God wants it that way. It is better to have mercy and understanding, and also forgiveness for one another being that we all suffer in some way or another. It is our own choice to be more spiritual, instead of just religious because God is found in an interaction of faith and spiritual substance, not intellect, though the knowledge of God is there after a sincere spiritual connection because we have the Holy Spirit.
Christianity is an act of humility. It is a faith of giving, gentleness, and love. It is a lifestyle of service and acceptance of others. Christianity is powerfully strong and miracles in every aspect of life, but should never be used to represent a narrow approach to values, human rights, and freedoms. In Christ there is freedom, not people who hold one another back from the times, and from their own identity, their own destiny, or from their own relationship with God.