How I Can Reconcile My Faith and My Worldview

I have been thinking about how to speak to a comment recently made about me concerning the relationship that seems to exist between my faith and my worldview. The word “dichotomy” was used, and it is not a bad word. In fact, I will use this word as a springboard into the topic of how I can reconcile two seeming irreconcilable issues: my faith and my worldview.

 

First for the definition of the term, so the reader will know what I am speaking about: A dichotomy is a division into two non-overlapping or mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive parts. They are often contrasting and spoken of as “opposites”. The term comes from dichotomos (divided): dich- ([in] two) temnein (to cut). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichotomy

 

The terms secular and religious could be dichotomous if they are extending from the same source. If, in this instance, I am the source of the religious and secular view, then I suppose it would be my dichotomy – two opposing branches from the same tree. (I think that’s the way this works, but just to be safe, I’ll leave further explanation to experts in semantics.)

 

Pressing on now… I am first and foremost a believer in Christ, and my faith is rooted in the TANACH (the law and the prophets, and the history of Israel and, indeed, of humanity) and in the gospels, history, pastoral teaching and prophecy of the new covenant of Jesus Christ.

 

As a follower of Christ, I do not consider myself to be first and foremost a citizen of this world, but I am a citizen of heaven who has not yet come into that promised country, and must occupy myself here until I do. As a citizen of heaven, I am enjoined by my Master to obey the laws of the land I live in unless these laws are at variance with the laws of heaven. When I am confronted with a choice of obeying the laws of my land or the laws of heaven, I must obey heaven’s laws even though it might mean civil disobedience; I must be ready to pay the penalty for such civil disobedience in this case, because the governments of the land I am living in do not applaud us for obeying God rather than man.

 

For so long I have noticed that those who name the name of Christ often form or vociferously back political parties in this country. As an example, the Moral Majority became a force to be reckoned with in American politics, and it was something of a steamroller that plowed down its political adversaries and ushered certain Republicans into office on the merits of their confession of “faith”. If the newly elected or appointed politicians-turned-civil-servants were less than upstanding, it was brushed under the carpet because at least they were “for” the things the Moral Majority was “for”, and the rest was inconsequential.

 

Speaking of politics, I cannot fault any group that hopes to push forward its candidate, including the Moral Majority (now defunct). They had just as much right as any group to back their horse, and even to do their best to influence Christians to vote, and to hint broadly at what they thought was a good choice. The election process in our land is supposed to be the best there is, and we all have a right to choose the candidate of our liking, or to write in dear old dad if we can’t find someone we feel is competent for the highest office in the land. No, the fault is not with the voting.

 

Further, the fault is not that people who serve Christ do not wish to see certain things be legal, no matter how much some may disagree; we have the right to do our best to get the candidate into office whom we believe will fulfill the desires of the people. The fault is not even that we have a nation as diverse as ours, containing within it many groups of polar opposites in matters of civil liberties, freedoms, possession, war, reproductive issues, crime and punishment, industry, trade, farming, employment, health, etc.

 

The fault is largely in perception: it is in the fact that when you are talking of the Christian “religion” and relationship with God, you are speaking of a true dichotomy, though that is not always perceptible to “outsiders”.

 

In the Christian faith, if we are truly following the teachings and the Lordship of Jesus, then we realize that the false religious leaders who claim the name of Christ are the ones who are out for power, prestige, pride and wealth. They have a hidden agenda, and though they name the name of our most precious Lord, they do not do what he taught his disciples to do, nor do they walk in the truth, the light or in his love.

 

I know this to be true, because for years I was caught up in the “Christian = Republican” trap, not understanding that some of our well-meaning but truly deceived leaders in the Church were promoting political leaders who were pro-war, pro-conquest, and pro-big government. We “plebeians” in the church were taught from our spiritual infancy to trust in and believe our leaders, so naturally we would vote for the man who was “spiritual” or who claimed to be “born again”, though we may have been ignorant of most of the issues, even unaware of the rest of “our” party’s platform! (Imagine our confusion when Jimmy Carter came along and claimed to be a “born again Christian who would never lie to us”.)

 

There were a number of years during which I refused to engage in politics, or to vote, because I began to see that some of the men and women who claimed to be “Christian” were doing very un-Christian things. I was turned off, but still wanted to be a good civilian member of this country, so I did not voice my dissent or dissatisfaction, other than to abstain from voting because I did not believe my vote meant anything anymore.

 

Remember, though originally the word “Christian” was the derogatory label that was tagged onto Jewish believers in Christ (it meant “little Christs”), today “Christian” and “Christianity” are our terms, and we are the ones who have the right to define these terms: to be a Christian is to be Christ-like and to follow the teaching and Lordship of Christ. If those who observe a particular sect or cult that names the name but does not follow the teachings or Lordship of Christ, they typically, and unfairly, lump these people into one group, thus making all Christians responsible for the evils of this world. No group can be that consistent – right or wrong, good or evil.

 

It is unrealistic to think that all Christians are responsible for the Crusades, for example. For one thing, I am a Christ-follower and I do not believe in bombing or fighting in order to take something away from someone else. I do not believe in using our young men and women to kill another country’s young men and women so that we may be enriched as a nation. I do not believe in wiping out a race of people based on their religious views. I do not believe in using babies as shields, or poisoning the wells, or using microwaves to silently kill unsuspecting victims.

 

In the case of the Crusades, I must also state that although I am a former Catholic, I do not believe in the Catholic Church as the true Church. The Crusades was, when you boil it down, between the Muslims and the Catholic Church. Though even modern Christians get the rap, it is unfair to equate a Christ-follower of today with the usurpers to the throne of grace (the false apostles of Christ – the popes) who were busy enriching the coffers of the church and expanding her real estate holdings as well as her influence and power over heads of state, at the expense of and off the backs of the hard working peasants of the world. To blame all Christ-followers for the Crusades is like blaming all white people for bringing slaves over to our country: though the sins of the fathers may be visited upon the sons, justly or unjustly, it is clear that those who were as yet unborn were not responsible for the actions of their ancestors.

 

With this point made, it will become clearer why I can proceed in my quest for a more Christ-like existence, while I occupy this world as something of an emissary of my Lord and Master. As an ambassador of Christ, I must believe in his teachings about the world, our place in it, the meaning of our existence, and the future of mankind. I must be interested in teaching, promoting and demonstrating his interests. If I fail to do so, the fault is with me, and I must then confess my fault and continue on, doing my best not to repeat my errors, knowing that I have forgiveness in the One who sent me.

 

As an emissary of Christ, I can clearly see that there is great evil in all of the governments of this world, especially among the leaders and the silent partners who are the movers and shakers of the new world order. I have no problem believing these things will happen, because Jesus warned us that these things would happen. I can have peace in my Lord, and faith in the ultimate outcome no matter how things look, because I know who wins the final conflict.

 

But, you say, how can it be that simple? My answer is that I am looking for another country, a heavenly country, and I expect no good to come from the kings and emperors and generals of this world – NOT even from the land of my birth.

 

But, you ask, how can you speak so casually about the end of the world? My answer is that I am fully prepared to suffer for my faith, and to lay down my life if necessary, in order that the truth of my Lord may be shown to surpass that of any man who claims to be “good” or “righteous” or “true”. I fully expect that we are coming to a time when Christians will be singled out in our society because they will refuse to be marked in any way that gives our allegiance to the rulers or leaders of this world. We have been warned that this will happen, and we are prepared for this eventuality.

 

My view of the world is this: Man is sinful by birth, and is under a curse because of his disobedience (the fall of Adam and Eve). God had a plan to save man from himself, and so He prepared a bloodline, beginning with Abraham, from which a savior would come – a lion of the tribe of Judah. God said that the soul that sins must die. But God was not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to eternal life. Still, there were men who hated God, and they wanted no part of a relationship with Him. They were lovers of this world and haters of their fellow man, and they were filled with the spirit of anti-Christ from the very beginning.

 

The prophets of old foretold the birth of the messiah, and they described his life, his power, his authority, his relationship with the Father, and his death. Jesus foretold his own death and resurrection. After his resurrection, which was witnessed by many witnesses, he ascended back to heaven, resumed his former glory, and sat down at the right hand of the Father. He sent the Holy Spirit to his followers so that they might have power to be witnesses of him. He gave them the commandment to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

 

Whether one wishes to believe any of this is immaterial: the fact is that Jesus NEVER sent his disciples out to make war on their neighbors. He did not authorize violence, but entreated his followers to turn the other cheek, to walk the extra mile, to give more than is demanded, and to love even their enemies. There are examples too numerous to recite of his followers being obedient, even unto death, and these are considered true emissaries of Christ and examples to all who would follow in his steps.

 

In taking stock of my own actions and trying to reconcile my faith with the responsibilities and privileges of my citizenship in this world, I was confronted with the fact of the coming Judgment Seat of Christ, where he will judge all true believers and reward them for what they have done: good or evil. It was then that I began to try to review all areas of my life to see where I was lacking. Without going into the details, I will say that when it came to my life as a civilian in the United States of America, there were certain things I had to analyze. I am not a member of the armed forces, though I was a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, a member of Homeland Security, and my Geneva Convention designation is non-combatant, group IV. I was a volunteer, and I gave meritorious service for which I received commendations and medals. I was a public education instructor, a marine vessel examiner, a flotilla vice commander, a division staff officer, and held various other offices and medals. My aims and goals were in keeping with the aims of the USCGA, and there was no conflict. We performed search and rescue operations and provided safety instruction for boaters and their children. I was also a recruiter for the Coast Guard, inactive, and I would not do this job again, even though the Coast Guard is mainly concerned with patrolling our waters and drug interdiction; the USCG also provides marine transport for troops and assets in times of war, but it does not have an infantry or send troops into combat.

 

As a believer in Christ, I help others to learn and grow in the knowledge of God. My job is to exhort, guide, guard and care for those who need help and instruction within the “body of Christ” – the Church (universal, or worldwide, and not the man-made institution of religion). If I had found that my duties to the Coast Guard, for instance, were in conflict with my duties as a believer in Christ, then I would solve this conflict by resigning my duties in the Coast Guard. As a recruiter, I needed to be able to believe in the mission of the Coast Guard so that I could encourage and influence young men and women to join its ranks in service to our country.

 

It is not so much that I don’t believe in the missions of the Coast Guard, but that I no longer believe in the ability of our nation’s leaders to utilize the members of the Coast Guard in such a way that they will not end up involved in conflicts that are diametrically opposed to the commandments of my Lord. Therefore, I can no longer in good conscience be a recruiter. This is a fairly simple and straightforward example. I am inactive, and no longer enrolled with the USCGA, so my doings (or decision not to do) are not going to have much of an impact on others.

 

But there is a ripple effect to our actions, and we are responsible for the outcome. I do not want to be responsible for getting any mother’s son killed in a military action that is ultimately illegal or immoral. It is one thing to defend our nation against invaders; it is quite another to make forays into other countries in order to wrest their resources from them, killing those who are resistant as we go. As a follower of Christ, I do not want to have the blood of innocents on my hands. If I do, I will be called to account, not merely in this world, but also at the judgment seat of my Lord.

 

The hardest question I think I have had to face is the dichotomy, if you will, of choosing a Republican candidate because he is anti-abortion, but overlooking the fact that he is pro-war. This is inconsistent with the teachings of Christ, because life is no less important because it is that of an 18-year-old who is sent off to fight an old man’s war; it is no more important because it is that of an unborn baby who cannot speak up for herself.

 

I finally came to the decision that I cannot support either party, or any politician who supports either abortion or war. I can understand and support defense of our own land, but I cannot support needless violence or the slaughter of innocents – no matter where they live. I accept the fact that I have voted in the past for men who sent our sons, our brothers, our fathers, our uncles and our neighbors to fight over “stuff” that we had no right to take; I have had to come to the realization that I have blood on my hands to the extent that I supported a man who talked us all into waging a war that was not really about what he said it was about. For this I humbly repent to the Lord and to my fellow man, and I have purposed in my heart never to do so again if it is at all possible to learn the truth.

 

I also have come to the realization that my place in this life is not to join in any fight except the fight for the salvation of the souls of men and women. I cannot be concerned about their salvation if I am joining in a war to kill them. It is not my job to condemn anyone. I do not condemn anyone with my words here, but I seek to explain the evolution of my own thinking as I examined my thoughts, my beliefs and my actions.

 

The fact that I can see that all the nations and the leaders of this world are corrupt helps me to be quite objective about the particular evils that are rampant in our own country. I have no qualms against exposing the evils of the secret societies to which our country’s leaders belong, or the dastardly experiments that have been perpetrated against the citizens of our country against their knowledge or without their consent. I will not be silent about the seeming innocuous flood of propaganda that comes from our media, and I will speak up about the Prince of Peace and do my best to be a good example of a Christ-follower.

 

To summarize, my view of the world is that it is full of every kind of evil, and the end of it will come as foretold in both the old and the new covenant (the Bible). God will punish those who do evil, who insist on having their own way to the detriment of their fellows, and He will destroy this earth with fire. The souls of the dead shall rise again to judgment; those who had faith in God will be rewarded by Him and live with Him forever; those who hated God will go to everlasting punishment. This is justice, and it is coming. We have been warned. I believe the warnings. I am living my life in the most consistent way I can – consistent with the wishes and commandments of my Lord. I am trying to walk circumspectly, analyzing my choices and making sure that what I do will not cause harm to others whenever possible. In this way I can be an emissary of Christ and occupy my position as a responsible member of the human race.

 

Pastora Covert  

 

First published July 26, 2007 3:39 PM

 

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