Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Western Christianity's "First World" Problem

It is often said that a flaw of much religion is that it is an opiate; that it is only concerned with an ideal afterlife as a way of taking our eyes off of the problems we face in the here and now. However, an argument could be made that much of Christianity—especially Western Christianity—is wrong in precisely the opposite extreme.

Too many strains of faith within Christianity today are obsessed with things that are passing. From Health and Wealth ideas to social welfare at the expense of the eternal, many Christians have a viewpoint that fails to make it past our final breaths and it robs faith of a vital dimension.

This is not an attempt to ignore the blessings and plans Christ has for us in this life, but it is an attempt to expose a shortcoming we have. Western Christianity is in danger of becoming a system that fails to find its way past “first world problems.” We have it so good in this day in age that it sometimes feels like Jesus is little more than just another religious charm, a messianic rabbit’s foot. Jesus wants us to have our best life now. He wants to bless us with money, the secret to happiness, and the common sense, clean living that will ensure we avoid all of life’s little annoyances.

Whatever complaints you might raise against faith being some “escape” for the masses of humanity that deal with illness, poverty and oppression; it is these people that often have the best perspective on a life of faith. If we don’t want to go to the extreme of embracing poverty and simple trust in God; the least we could do as rich believers is truly dedicate a huge portion of our overwhelming riches, comforts, and free time to really helping people who face a more realistic reality of a struggle to survive. We might improve others’ condition in an exercise of Biblical justice, and gain some much needed perspective along the way.

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