"Religion leaves no room for human complexity." - Daniel Radcliffe, actor
As a believer it would have been very easy to dismiss his words, and become defensive. Especially since Mr. Radcliffe has a history of turning to alcohol to deal with the complexities of life. However, acting as if you are beyond reproach is not at all helpful in creating better understanding of your beliefs. If anything, such attitudes are more likely to cause people to dismiss what you are trying to endorse. I see just that all the time, not just in my own belief either.
Yet, speaking as a Christian educator, I can see why he would say something like that. Not because I think he is right, but from a shortcoming in the way people sometimes follow the gospel. One thing that I have learned in trying to expand people's knowledge of the gospel, is that many people are content with their two-dimensional faith. There is little desire to explore the depths and complexities of truth. By keeping their beliefs shallow, they never have to challenge themselves or accept any kind of spiritual responsibility. Such people offer Jesus as a blanket answer with no specifics or practical application. For someone who is facing truly complex problems, such broad non-specific answers are of little help. If anything they are discouraging, and create people who think like Mr. Radcliffe. In the end, it is uninspired followers who are not addressing human complexity, not the gospel that they say they are following.
For many, the only exposure they get of Christianity is through the unmotivated people who claim to follow it. But, as I have often said, you cannot judge any belief system by those who claim to follow it. (Yet they do.) No matter how good and true it may be, people are still people. They are imperfect and prone to error. Being a disciple does not automatically make us immune to error overnight. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Just look at Peter, he was known for his mistakes.
This is far too complex an issue to address exhaustively in a single post, so I'll be writing a whole series on where the church needs to delve into the complexities of truth to a greater depth.
The Visual PARABLEist
How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? -Proverbs 1:22
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