why i am a christian – part i October 23, 2006Posted by Brad Richert in personal, religion.
I sit here writing, knowing full well that I should really be working on a silly assignment due on Wednesday so that I can start work on another due on Thursday, giving myself a bit of time to study for a midterm that I also have on Thursday. My laptop, prone to overheating, sits tilted on an angle upheld by a book on the religious right. It is a sunny day, my cats are lazing about and my wife is watching some television show on her laptop. And it is quiet. Very quiet. The hum of my computer is drowned out only by the hum of the humidifier. In my procrastination I have been scanning random websites, mainly those concerning contemporary Christianity. I think about my beliefs on a daily basis, mainly because my area of study forces me to. Yet every once in awhile I feel the need to share why I am a Christian, or more importantly, why I am the type of Christian that I am.
I grew up as a devout evangelical Christian who was not afraid of confrontation. In junior high I was obsessed with the study of Creationism (we did not call it Intelligent Design in those days) as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution. I studied cults and world religions so that I could be prepared to discuss any subject matter with someone of another belief system. Yes, I had little friends for I had little time for them – not that this would have mattered for I was self-admittedly socially inept. My family were my friends in addition to the few neighbours or hockey team members I would occasionally spend time with. I told myself that my beliefs were my own, yet I hung on to every word my parents, specifically my mother, preached. Although I asked many questions, those questions never were critical of evangelical Christian beliefs. It made sense to me that an all-powerful God could create the Earth in six days, and that those Christians who questioned that are simply weak in their faith. It did not make sense to me to question whether an all-powerful God could use Evolution as a tool, as the Bible would have surely mentioned that we evolved from apes. Scientists, on the other hand, were secular humanists who, although might have some good intentions, were ultimately conspiring to undermine the Christian faith. Of course, scientists were not the only ones: non-Christians in general had a beef with Christianity.
High school forced things to be examined a little more closely. I still would never think about questioning the evangelical position, but issues of morality became more imminent. Although I felt insecure and like the world was against me, I knew that I was truly better than everyone else. I was a Christian. I did not sleep around before marriage. I did not smoke. I did not drink. I did not swear (In History 12 I switched the word “ass” to “jerk” when I read a Churchill speech out loud in class). I knew that these things did not make me a Christian, but they made me a good Christian; if being a Christian was better than a non-Christian, certainly a good Christian was exponentially greater. Call it naive theology, but to me it was simply common sense. By grade 12 I was extremely interested in politics. I found myself overwhelmingly outnumbered, however, as a strong supporter for the conservative Reform/Canadian Alliance party of Canada, not to mention my support of American-style capitalism as represented by the Republican party. I actually had one person who sided with me, but her views teetered on the edge of where conservatism meets fascism. The person who opposed my views the most was be my agnostic high school girlfriend, an unholy alliance for sure, but we agreed not only to disagree, but that passion of politics was a good thing no matter your views.
This relationship, in addition to some other friends who were proclaimed atheists (wannabe- scientists for sure), would push me to develop more coherent and acceptable arguments for my beliefs. I came out of high school with strengthened beliefs and a better foundation. Political issues had become wholely reconciled into my faith. Abortion was a result of selfishness and the lack of taking responsibility for one’s actions. The only difference between pro-choicers and pro-lifers was at what stage life begins. Homosexuality was never as much of an issue for me. It did not belong in politics. I viewed it as a sin against God, but not much different than my view of divorce: it was not in God’s ideal plan, but certainly is not an issue for the state to be involved. The big arguments, however, was in economics. I believed that if you work hard, you can succeed. My grandfather was a self-made millionaire who was originally from a farm in Saskatchewan. My father was an independent contractor, who was hit hard by tax increases that effected small businesses, surely a result of socialist tendencies in the British Columbia government run by the New Democratic Party (who were wasting tax payers dollars on obsolete ferries and other scandals). I even questioned the validity of socialist arguments from students who has $300,000+ houses with nice cars and food in the pantry. Life is not fair, that is a fact of life, it should not be up to the government to cater to people who were not willing to work, and those who live in nice houses gained from the achievements of capitalism have no crediblity.
Seeing that my high school counterparts were completely one-sided in the political spectrum, I switched my university application to Kwantlen from Commerce to Political Science. I was not surprised when I was outnumbered again in university college, even in a bastion of Christian conservatism that was Langley (where Focus on the Family and Campus Crusade for Christ of Canada is headquartered). I ran out of money after one semester. So I went looking for work. There was slim pickings, but I found a job at a retail outlet in the mall where I was quickly bumped up to Assistant Manager – capitalism was working – work hard and you get ahead. Yet as time progressed I found that the company I worked for would do anything to rip off consumers and employees alike. I became a little unsure of my economic political beliefs: not enough to throw them away, but enough to question my future in politics. On a whim, I decided to attended Bible College. As fall semester got closer, the more I felt like this was the right path, I could be a pastor or a Bible college professor, and/or maybe get into politics later on when I had everything figured out.