Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cross Walk Religion

In most parts of the Germanic world a cross walk is an important thing. You can see crowds of people standing at the light, waiting for it to turn green when there is no traffic to be seen. Even in the late hours of the evening (towns tend to shut down completely at 8:00 pm) when no cars are on the street, people will stop and wait for the light.

Now, lights are there to protect people. They give them a clear window in which to cross the street with no danger of vehicles. And it is a good idea to respect the light on a busy road, or even a non-busy road when there are children watching. You don’t want to be a bad example. However, to some extent an adult ought to be able to decide for themselves whether it is safe to cross a street or not. When there are no cars, or when the light is broken, punishing an adult for crossing crosses from protection to legalism.

That is good picture of what religious legalism can be. Often rules are created, not because the forbidden thing is wrong, but to protect people from themselves. We do not trust people to make the right decisions on their own. We don’t trust the Spirit of God in believers to guide them. The problem is that such rules more often than not back fire. Presumably, in the garden, Adam taught Eve the rule God had given him. Only God had said not to eat and somewhere along the way Eve had learned not to touch. Once she touched and nothing happened, the real danger held no fear.

Take care in your effort to protect that you don’t do more harm.

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