You might do well to avoid Christianity for a number of reasons. I don’t mean to sound overly negative, but it is true: this belief system can reorder your past, meddle with your present and disrupt everything about your future. Don’t believe me? Just go back to the beginning…
The founder of the movement was considered a threat to the normal way of life. He still is. Have you ever read His teachings? He said difficult and inflammatory things to His followers (and would-be followers) that you must take into consideration even today.
Jesus says you must love God more than anyone or anything else (Matthew 22:37).
He says if you put your “hand to the plow and look back” (if you have divided loyalty and reserved devotion) then you are not fit for God’s kingdom (Luke 9:62).
Jesus says you must be willing to follow His example, come before God and surrender your whole being for His purposes and His will, not your own (Mark 14:36).
He tells you that you must die for Him every day by putting aside anything you want to do or want to be that interferes with His desires for you (Luke 9:23).
He warns those with a halfway, lukewarm approach that they make Him sick (Revelation 3:15-17).
Jesus teaches that to follow Him will result in society hating you (John 15:18-25).
He also mentions that you might be placed in a situation where your physical life will be endangered or ended because you follow Him (Matthew 24:9).
What kind of person welcomes that kind of potential suffering?
And besides, do you realize the amount of faith you need to follow this God-man?
Consider this: Christianity teaches that an invisible, all-powerful, eternal being created all things merely by speaking them into existence. Things that had not been instantly were. And then, because a couple of people disobeyed Him, the whole universe now suffers. The entire lot of it: wars, famine, disunity, theft, lies, sickness, pride and all the remaining ills cast far and wide over humanity— each one arising from one original sin against this Holy One. So how did He deal with this rebellion? He sent His Son, not as a king, mind you, not at all, but as a baby born to an unwed mother. Then this baby became a man, and that man led a quiet life until his last three years or so when He went on a preaching spree that ended with His violent death on a Roman cross. But then, just when you think it couldn’t get any stranger, this man rose from the dead and then ascended back to Heaven. And now, you can be a member of His family, and get this…have God as your adoptive dad if you trust this Jesus and follow Him. Not only that, He said that He will return and set all things right again one day.*
But, in fairness, Jesus does warn people about stepping into a relationship with Him without first weighing the heavy cost of following Him (Luke 14:25-34). It’s not like He is selling something sight unseen here. He is clear about what it requires. You have to give Him that.
So, in the interest of self-preservation, let me offer some ways to avoid Jesus taking over your life.
- Occupy your time with passing trends rather than eternal truth.
You need to narrow your focus. Quit thinking about making a lasting, eternal difference. Instead, you should reduce your priorities to comfort at any cost. Immerse yourself in the culture to the point where no one would guess that you ever even thought about Jesus. Make sure you praise the world for everything it can offer you; after all, when you’re gone, there won’t be anything for you to enjoy. You need to live like this world is all there is. Grab the gusto while you can.
- Entertain yourself when you feel sad, guilty or are confronted with heavy issues.
This is one of the most important survival skills for making it without Jesus. Don’t be alone with your thoughts (you like to call it “bored” so that it sounds better than “avoiding reflection”). Always have artless music playing. Consume as much mindless television as you can. Make sure that you are occupied more often with a screen than with a human face. This is the path to happy distraction. You should not be forced to deal with real issues, endure struggles or confront your own emotions. Whatever you do, for the love of all that is good and happy, don’t think about where people are going to spend eternity. That will really disturb you. If you find yourself thinking of those things, repeat this phrase as needed until the feeling passes: “Life is too short to be serious.”
- Be more concerned about what others think than what God thinks.
You have a reputation to uphold. Following the demands of this Christ will definitely have a negative impact on how others see you. You have a job to do, events to enjoy and social media to tend, for goodness sake. No need to have to worry about a deity looking over your shoulder giving directives about what He approves. Surround yourself with those who will agree with you no matter what you say or do. Don’t, under any circumstance, connect with those vastly different from you. Be sure to change who you are to fit whatever situation you might find yourself in. Become the ultimate chameleon. Make sure you step on some people, shade the truth and hide embarrassing facts in order to get ahead. Go as far as to laugh at the things that break this God’s heart. The approval of others in your group is critical for you, just as your approval is the lifeblood for them. This is the jungle, and it’s Darwin’s rules. Your group is your bond, and your bond ensures survival. Curry favor with those with status and visibility and you just might be a chieftain yet.
- Cling to comfort.
If it makes you feel good, and it doesn’t really hurt anyone else, then do it. Only get involved with people or groups that make you feel like a better person. Look to the belief that the universe will reward you if you just do some good things for others. There is a cosmic scale somewhere, and the big system will work it all out. If you feel that you absolutely must show up at a place of worship, then make sure it’s at Easter or certainly Christmas (sometimes they can have some nice plays around those times of year). And if for some reason you feel that you should go more often, then don’t choose a church that unashamedly and boldly proclaims “a biblical understanding of truth.” No. Instead, choose a church that aligns itself so closely with the world that you have a difficult time distinguishing between the two. Look for a place where the music is good, the coffee is strong, but the theology is weak. If your options are limited and you find that you must attend someplace where the Bible is taught, at least do yourself the favor and find a church where the truth is not expected to be lived out boldly; find a church that is more concerned with fellowship and potlucks than being on mission and reaching the world. But ultimately, you don’t need anyone in any environment telling you that Jesus is the only way to find fulfillment. You need a group that does not need anything you might be able to offer. Besides, why on earth would you serve when others are there to serve you? You are the customer; remember that fact. You don’t need a place full of truth-tellers, you need a place where all your opinions are regarded as valid and all beliefs are respected. You want a place where you can belong fully without being held to any expectations. You know you should feel comforted when you leave a place, not disturbed in your soul. Seek always to remain the same; it is far safer that way.
- Live for yourself, above all others.
No one knows what you need better than you do. You don’t need a leader, a significant other or a God gently trying to walk alongside you through life. If you really want to make that belief clear, become overly sensitive to any and all critiques of your lifestyle. Talk about tolerance and love and acceptance, but be sure to scream out intolerance, hatred and rejection toward anyone who does not feel the same as you. Help others understand that, like bleeding to death by a thousand pinpricks, you have been victimized by countless micro-aggressions battering your soul. Blame others for your situation in life, and never take responsibility for your actions, for you are not responsible. You were born this way, this is who you are, and you can not be held accountable. This is why, in order to be happy, you must leave behind any belief that challenges you to change. Elevate your personal views to the level of the sacred, because if you aren’t going to follow God, you must worship something…might as well be yourself. After all, who can compare to you? (Isaiah 46:9; John 17:3).
If, after all of this evidence, you are still thinking of following Jesus, you really have to consider if following Him is worth being made into a new creation, having eternal life and bringing glory to God forever (2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:16; Philippians 2:10-11).
Consider yourself warned.
*(1 Timothy 1:17; Genesis 1-3; Romans 5:6-11, 12-21; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 27:32-56; Luke 24:6-7; Acts 1:6-11; Romans 8:15; 1 John 3:1-2; Acts 3:21; Revelation 22:12-13)