Faiths and belief systems are characterised by narratives. An earlier post On Suffering, pointed out how the narratives of different world religions make sense of suffering.
The Christian narrative at its core, is based on a simple tenet:
believe in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and believe that his death was for the restoration of your created purpose – and you will be saved.
Belief itself shapes space and time and so beliefs holds significance.
So why this narrative? What is so magical about this story, that our belief alone shapes eternity? Doesn’t belief in an exclusive narrative such as this create hate, exclusion and pride?
Many beliefs do create hate, exclusivity and pride. A belief in moralism or intellectualism definitely leads to pride. It says that “I’m good” or “I’m smart” and “I’m better than you” or I’m smarter than you.” Michel Foucault argued that all truth claims are in fact power-plays.
In response, it has been pointed out by many apologists and thinkers that the post-Enlightenment post-modern sentiment “there’s no such thing as truth” is an oxymoron, a self-defeating statement. It undermines its own assertion. It corrodes its own ability to claim truth.
The reality is that everybody has beliefs about the world, and by the very nature of believing, excludes others. The significance then lies NOT in suspending belief in an effort to be inclusive, but by extending genuine love to others.
I believe that the Christian narrative fully understood, should make the most loving, inclusive and humble people.
At it’s core, the Christian narrative tells us Ultimate Reality, became flesh and walked the planet. This man, loved those who did not love him, and forgave those who hated him and killed him. The story says, you are not saved because you’re good, but because this man was the good person you could never be. The only way to attain life is to accept you are NOT suffiicient for salvation. His resurrection from death, means that death itself is turned backwards and its power broken. This life IS significant, despite its suffering.
This narrative, enacted in the hearts and lives of believers, should and could change the world.