It’s been said, living in a mixed area makes us more tolerant and not less. I totally agree with that statement. Recently on Facebook, I was asked what I thought about the statement a Vogue writer gave about Nigerian culture and my response was ‘Can anyone really describe the culture of Nigerians by living in it for a few days? It’ll definitely be flawed’. How often have you drawn a conclusion without really analysing or experiencing it? In other words what informs your decisions, beliefs or ideologies?
Over the past One month I have had lengthy conversations with some Atheist, Buddhist and Muslim. And it wasn’t in a bid to convert them rather an avenue to understand each other. I remember they all had differing views of Christianity. Let me try and summarise them; the Buddhist couldn’t understand why we had different Churches if we worshipped the same God, was of the opinion that we were divided. The Atheist has been to a Church a couple of times before but found the system in operation questionable especially in laying of hands by the Pastor meanwhile the Muslim couldn’t figure out the Trinity. I equally had another conversation with another person who goes to Church but believes in God and not Jesus Christ and felt it was better that way explaining all religions believe in one God but the division starts when we identify with a particular God. I am not a theologian but we still had a meaningful conversation, and my thoughts were based on the following. Jesus Christ is the reason there is a word like Christian or Christianity, while on earth He didn’t discriminate, His genealogy wasn’t perfect; out of the four women mentioned three of them Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba didn’t have good stories, one of them was a prostitute. He loved everyone even unto death; He forgave those who crucified Him. If different religions acknowledge Jesus Christ then there must be something about Him.
During the course of the conversation which happened at different times, I had no intention to win them over, my faithful Christian brethren will be wondering what happened to the great commission of making disciples of all nations. Well let’s say I have learnt it’s my duty to lay the seed and the Holy Spirit does the conviction. In addition to that, looking at Jesus on earth He usually found a common ground to share His message, He made some comfortable around Him (the Samaritan woman at the well). People will be more defensive if they know you are coming with the message of condemnation all in the name of converting them. One question that has been coming up in my head for the past 2 weeks is this, are we as Christians really carrying out the Great Commission out of love or is it just a personal agenda to fill up the seats in Church?
I don’t speak as another religious zealot or a member of a church rather as a person who has encountered Jesus Christ and although I can’t still explain everything about Him but one thing I can try to understand is His love. I have often said it if at the end of this world and remember I said IF there’s no end I will not regret being a Christian. It is a form of relationship that has no end; it is a way of life. This is what I believe in and it informs my decisions. What do you believe in?