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Following Jesus or Just Following Tradition?

October 3, 2013

Recently I looked at one common argument I encounter when sharing the gospel with people. Here’s another interesting one: Christians are too indoctrinated or too scared to turn their backs on their inherited religion.

Now, that is probably only too true in many cases. There is such a thing as religious indoctrination; in some communities, leaving your faith could have serious consequences; and the idea of scaring people into the Kingdom through hell-fire sermons is not unheard of. That’s not, however, how the Gospel of Jesus should be communicated, and I’m pleased to report that very few Christians nowadays endorse such tactics.

And it’s definitely not always the case; take my own story as an example. As for indoctrination, my parents were atheists when I was born; I was six when my dad became a Christian, and my mother is still a non-believer. As for scared, well – the church I grew up in assumed that everybody was going to heaven; and as for community and family, there was never any religious consensus in the first place (currently I’m the only Christian of my siblings)…

Aggressive atheists often talk as if every believer in the world is such simply because of family traditions, and that we remain “religious” because we’re worried about severing precious family or community ties. Again, that’s probably true in many cases, and as I mentioned, leaving your birth faith can have consequences. But then what do we make of the many thousands of Christians who were born in another religion and then accepted Jesus, despite the very definite severing of family ties that has entailed? Despite being persecuted and even executed for their new allegiance? People like that prove that there’s more to Christian faith than family religion and inherited traditions. They’ve met Jesus and realised that what he has to offer means nothing else is worth living for.

And that’s really the only legitimate reason any of us should have for calling ourselves Christian: we’ve met the risen Lord, and have chosen to live our lives with him and for him, as his disciples in the world. Nothing to do with tradition or inherited religion; everything to do with a living, loving God calling people into fellowship with himself!

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From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

2 Comments
  1. So, according to you, people who convert from Christianity to Islam prove that their is “more to Muslim faith than family religion and inherited traditions.”?

    • Yes, at least in theory – although they are rarely persecuted for their conversion, so the argument isn’t as forceful in that direction.
      I also think the majority of non-Muslims converting voluntarily to Islam do it because they’re (getting) married to a Muslim, so there’s still the “family religion” possibility. (Not that that is never the case with Christian conversions…)
      My point was that your choice of faith (or non-faith) should never be based simply on family traditions and expectations, or even personal likings and preferences; you have a duty to yourself and others to look for the real truth about God and life – which I believe you’ll find in Jesus the Messiah.

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