Allured by, But Unappealing to Be

Of all religions, Christianity has been pretty alluring to me. The fact that I have grown up in a semi-Christian environment might have something to do with it, but having also researched other religions- Christianity and Islam have always stood out to me.

gandhi_on_christians_by_fiskefyren-d6brxpbAs of recently, I would have said that Islam was appealing to me, but I have looked into it more. It seems rather difficult. Besides the fact that I believe Jesus exists, is the son of God and did die for our sins (the last two points which contradict Islamic beliefs), there are more “steps” to being a Muslim. It seems that it would be hard to convert to Islam, especially for someone brought up in Christianity.

As I became more intrigued by Islam, I advanced in my research. So google, yes. Search “wiki how to become a Muslim.” Fourteen steps.  Not bad compared to eleven steps on “wiki how to become a Christian.” Know what it means to be a Muslim, learn the Hadith… Alright, googling Hadith. Talk with an Imam, an Islamic spiritual leader, but I am not exactly sure where I am to find one of those.

Say the Shahada that goes “La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah.” What if I say it wrong? Yes, I can always say it in English, but it just is not the same, like a Jewish boy reciting the Torah in English rather than Hebrew. It just isn’t the same. I have begun to realize I might have to download an Islam app with translations, meanings, definitions and everything else that I might need.

Another proviso stated by “Wiki How” is to abstain from pork consumption, carrion, blood, and xtian #2alcohol. Meat must be properly slaughtered by an authorized Muslim, Christian, or Jew. Eating with your right hand, practicing proper hygiene, and saying “Bismillah” (“In the Name of God”) before meals. I forget why I even go into a room at times, so remembering this would be a task.

The funny thing is that I once had a religion and it has all come back to it- to Christianity. How to become a Christian is to accept, repent and believe. Really only three steps. Simple. I find Christianity very enthralling in certain aspects.

First of all it’s the easiest. I can literally do nothing and still be a Christian. I don’t have to dress a certain way, eat certain food, pray a certain way or travel anywhere. Seeing that the “broke” life chose me, that last one registers to me. It is not a religion but a personal relationship with a living Lord. This is just mind-blowing to me.  And again Jesus was and is a pretty chill guy, a real homie that I would definitely spend time with.

What repulses me about going back to Christianity is Christians themselves.  According to the James 1:22 Christians are to be “doers of the Word.”  I am sure that that did not mean “doing” judging, being exclusive and hypocritical, but to “doing” love, joy, compassion. “Just doing Jesus.”

One of the biggest things I dislike about many Christians that I have met is they act as if they are better. I’m better than you, and you are going to burn in hell for all your sins, is the message I get out of most. How exceedingly egoistical!

I read a story in which a man attended a funeral of a young man who had taken his life. After the burial some Christians walked up to him and asked, “Why didn’t you tell the parents that their son is in hell today?” I was shocked to see this story (and that an ex Christian website with similar stories exists) and wondered if this is what Christianity amounts to. Above all things this is what I hate, when Christians intentionally install fear.

There is also this theme of “I have to save your soul” circulating. Yes, I understand they are to make disciples of people, but the way this message is brought about is just sad. It makes me feel as If they are trying to sell Dove deodorant instead of Shield. They are so obsessed with “selling” me Jesus that they don’t want to know what my value systems are – I might be a Christian already and I used to be, but they wouldn’t know. Why? They never asked. In such situations, I don’t want to seem rude but I never know how to respond to their attempts to convert me. This makes such encounters very awkward.

Plenty of Christians have also become determined to throw Bible verses at me. It may not make sense, or go with the topic of conversation, but it just has to happen. It seems like a “who knows the most verses” competition. Adding to this, there are those Christians who are just too nice when in company, but the bravado fails them when not in a crowd.

In Kenya you will often find the bad eyed and greedy types. The type to stare you down from top to bottom. My friend does not attend Church anymore simply because of this. He has a few tattoos and whenever he attends church he is stared at, and they are not in the least bit pleased by his appearance. The others will guilt you into offering; this is a big problem in Kenya that has to be adressed. People of God, like Priests, deceive other Christians into giving large sums of money (from people who have nothing), or make them buy gifts such as houses, all in the name of sowing a seed. Some of you who watched the horrifying NTV investigation report Seeds of Sin know what I am talking about.

In all this, I  do have to be fair and say there are many Christians who get it right. In fact, when I see a genuinely nice person, I immediately think he or she is a Christian. I have found that this type of Christian is harder to stumble upon than their counterparts. They are not perfect – no one is – but anyone can see they are striving to be, going out of their way to care for others and always being compassionate. They unselfishly serve others and veritably love people.

When Christians do Christ right, it’s such a beautiful sight. They befriend those outside their faith rather than censure them on how they are living their life. They draw people rather than repel them, from their faith. I hope to be aquainted with more of these type of Christians.

-Erykah Zimmer