One phrase; two intentions.
The first is the question, why Christianity?
Because Christianity is valid in its internal consistency – the Bible does not contradict itself, and a “true believer” is a fundamentalist who follows the principles in the Book (at least as best as we can). When a believer follows the tenets of Christianity, it is remarkably consistent with the external world.
The Bible not only does a fantastic job of characterizing human beings as immoral and wicked when they do not follow biblical principles like not murdering, stealing, lying, being promiscuous, etc., but it is remarkably accurate in its historical, scientific, anthropological, and even prophetic claims.
In all my years of studying major religions, none other can make the claims of being as internally and externally consistent as Christianity.
Christianity makes truth claims, and it is incredibly difficult (I would argue, impossible) to debunk them. If Bible is true (and I believe it is), and Christianity is the manifestation of following the Bible, then Christianity is true and anything that contradicts the Bible and Christianity is false.
That is why Christianity. Because it is Truth.
The second intention is a definition of a specific type of Christianity that is inquisitive by nature.
“Why” Christianity is a Christianity that asks the question, “why?”
Unfortunately, very few Christians are “why” Christians. I have also found that most of the few “why” Christians I have met look to the wrong sources or build their truth claims on false premises.
I have been reading a book that makes claims against Christian Rock ‘n Roll and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). The author’s overall argument is that CCM and Christian rock are wicked forms of music.
So, I ask “why?”
The author spends most of the book using examples of CCM lyrics that are not necessarily Christian, talks about the lifestyles of Christian AND non-Christian artists, quotes a number of non-Christian musicians saying very non-Christian things, and details how a few Christian artists are barely, if at all, Christian.
To a non-”why,” I see the appeal of such arguments. However, I personally find them rather shallow. I want to know why rock music is inherently wicked. Is it the lyrics? The songwriter? The instrumentation (sorry, drummers – this usually falls on you)? Would a non-vocal rock band like Trans-Siberian Orchestra or Explosions in the Sky be as wicked as AC/DC or Slayer?
Is it the melody? Chord structure? The rhythm? The fact that it makes you want to move? To what extent? Mosh pits? Foot tapping?
Where are the lines between wicked and holy, acceptable music? Is classical music okay? Jazz? Hymns only? Which era? Western hymns? Eastern hymns? What are hymns? How do we know what music the Lord likes? Is it at all possible that God enjoys some (but probably not all) Christian rock or CCM?
Why does the author think the way he does? What are his motivations? Why did he include the arguments he did? Why did he not include others?
Why the Bible?
I have been a Christian for more than 30 years (yes, I am old). In all that time, I cannot fathom the number of things I have taken for granted.
I have always believed that the King James Version (KJV) is the only word of God in English. I reject the NIV, NKJV, ESV, MEV, NLT, CEB, and all the other letter combinations of the 200 or so English translations over the past century.
However, I did not fully research the KJV until about six years ago when my pastor at the time (who used a KJV) decided to abandon it. That research only strengthened my resolve, but I came to realize that I took the Book for granted. If I could do that, then what else did I fail to investigate?
Why the KJV? I go into great detail here, but it basically comes down to the fact that it has stood the test of time – more than 400 years and counting – and has been the primary Bible behind the explosion of Christianity after 1611 throughout Europe and the United States, including two Great Awakenings. If “by their fruits you will know them,” there is no Bible that can compare to the fruits of the KJV.
Do you know why you use the version you use? Do you know why it was translated? How about who translated it? How about the history of the texts from which it was translated?
Why do people dress the way they do? Is it to fit in? Is it to stand out? Tradition? Culture? Is it rooted in biblical principles? Where? Can you cite the verses for suits and dresses?
Have you ever thought about why our churches are structured the way they are? Why are some churches so similar, while others are different? Why do some pastors only preach, while others preach, teach Sunday school, visit shut-ins, preach on the streets, go door knocking, go to prisons, counsel, and more?
You can go to almost any church of almost any denomination in almost any state and this is the format: sing a couple songs, do announcements and take the offering, sing a couple more songs, have a soloist, and then preach with an altar call of some kind. Why? Where did it come from? Is there Bible to support it?
Is there a Bible verse saying why there must be a soloist? Is there one for having a choir? An altar call?
Why must we even go to a church building? Why not a house or a school? Why not some form of online forum? Why is the local church important? Why are there almost always certain religious objects like a cross or candles?
Why (Not) Movies?
Are films inherently wicked? Are “Christian” films even possible? Why are Christian movies so awful? Should Christians even watch movies or tv? Is it okay to watch at home, but not at the theater? Why do some parents reject Harry Potter’s magic, but are okay with Narnia, Cinderella, or the Lord of the Rings? Why do so many people who outright reject “Christian rock” not reject non-Christian movies and tv shows? Why is it okay to watch a secular “true crime” show filled with violent imagery, but not have drums in music?
Is it even biblical at all to be frivolously entertained? What sense of humor is appropriate? Is there any biblical justification at all for leisure? At what point does rest become laziness? How much Bible did you read today? How many people did you witness to? How many did you walk past without saying a word? How many could you have reached if you were not on social media, watching a movie with the family, or even reading this blog?
Do you know why there are so many contradictions in the various cases I just laid out? Because most Christians do not ponder “why.” Those of us who do, often rationalize away the contradictions, because the conviction is too hard to deal with.
We KNOW that we are to be witnessing at all times, but we watch tv. We KNOW that we are to “pray without ceasing,” but we speak unkind words to our loved ones. We KNOW that we are supposed to constantly feed our spirits, but we feed our fleshly appetites. We KNOW that we are to be like Christ, but we sin every single day. We KNOW what the Bible says. We KNOW we are supposed to memorize and meditate on the words of God. We KNOW all of this, yet we do not follow through.
WHY A “WHY” CHRISTIAN?
A “why” Christian is one who, at the very least, can understand the roots of the problem. A “why” Christian can self-reflect better, can rationalize and articulate their positions better, can come to a deeper understanding of biblical principles and how to apply them better, and can stand in the face of death and tell a persecutor or tormentor why Christianity is better.
A “why” Christian is wise, kind, and spiritual. They are critical thinkers. They have better answers. Even if they cannot live up to the standards by which they know they should – at least they know what those standards are and why they need to be lived up to.
We should all work to become a “why” Christian. If you believe you are one, why? If you are not one, why not?
Why are you not finding answers to the questions I posed or formulating new questions of your own?
Why am I still writing instead of doing the same?