Okay, so I’ve given you all some background, objectively, concerning salvation. It is an important doctrine in many religions. Now I would like to talk about some things that I find people struggle with under the doctrine of salvation: autonomy and accountability.
As mentioned before, Christian salvation is different from most religions. While those religions have a savior figure, it is not part of their doctrine that all sin (Note: I define sin as separation from God) is absolved through this salvation figure. Even though Zoroaster does have a savior that showed the way to living “right”, those followers of Zoroaster are individually accountable for their sin. Christianity is unique in that a major part of the doctrine of salvation is that Jesus died to absolve the sins of the world and now we are free in Christ. We are free from all sin even if we sin…
Autonomy is defined as freedom or independence; essentially the ability to act on one’s own individual desire. Free will and freedom are important to feel human, however with this autonomy there is also responsibility. Under the basic doctrine of salvation, Christians have the ability to do as they feel is right and just, usually with respect to the life of Jesus. Since there are only 4 books in the Canon about 3 years of Jesus’ life there really isn’t that much to go on so many followers of Christianity in the beginning started to make their own restrictions as they saw fit. It slowly became about controlling the autonomy of the individual because what kind of religion is just based on freedom and free will?! That’s called living ya life like it’s golden!
The other day someone tweeted this “@RevHanker: Faith has become an object to control/own rather than a verb to live”. I believe once the autonomy of the individual was sacrificed in the name of religion, Christianity took a turn for the worst. Faith is not a tool to use for manipulation and control. There are so many times I hear in the pulpit “God wants you to do….” or “God hasn’t blessed you because…” People then attempt to do X, Y, Z only to discover that another preacher/minister says to do A, B, C instead. First do I really need someone to tell me what God wants me to do if I have already accepted a relationship with God? Second, if we believe that God is omniscient then God was well aware of our ability to reason and the necessity of such ability when we encounter challenges.
Critique is welcomed everywhere except the chapel…the place where it is most important. Our spirituality determines all aspects of our lives and to remove critique for fear that people will operate autonomously is detrimental. Autonomy is part of salvation so we can think about our choices. Salvation is not about controlling the lives of people to fit into a manmade norm; we are capable of determining the most suitable path. Within all of us, there is good. I firmly believe that. Once we treat each other as bad, then we cease to give that person freedom and autonomy…under God. If I can’t be free in faith then it is not a safe space.
This is a paradigm shift that MUST happen in our places of worship if we want them to continue.
My 2 cents…