Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"What Do You Mean By Christian?"

Some Sullivan readers take on the issue of the Mormon faith.  Some very interesting insights.  Particularly this one from a Mormon:
Every time I have been asked if I am Christian or am told that I am not Christian, my first question back to the person is what they mean by "Christian"?

The problem I have is the preoccupation with purity.  I was born a Jew, attended a Yeshivah and belong to an Orthodox shul through second grade, moved to a Reform temple in the third grade where I became a Bar Mitzvah and stayed through ninth grade, then moved to a Conservative synagogue in high school where I received my Jewish Confirmation, then left the faith altogether after my divorce, only to return again to a Reform temple after remarrying.  We are raising our sons in that faith.  We attend services occasionally, and the boys attend religious school and even Jewish summer camp through the temple.  We occasionally have Shabbat dinners at our house, and observe many of the religious holidays.  Yet, I eat shellfish and pork, mix milk and meat on the same plate, don't wear a yarmulke unless I'm in the temple, and drive, work, use money and don't rest on the Sabbath.  I support and defend Israel's right to exist, but don't view the government as infallibly carrying the Zionist banner, and resent deeply the political co-opting of Zionism and ass-kissing of Israel by Evangelical Christianity to further their own selfish need to prepare the world for their precious "end times." 

By no measure am I a pure Jew.  But if anyone asked if I considered myself a Jew even though I don't keep kosher or completely honor Shabbat, I'd have one answer: I. Am. A. Jew.  No matter what prism through which you view me, that's what I am.  So why should it be any different for Christians?  Perhaps it's because each sect of the faith carries with it a particular dogma that, if not adhered to "religiously," would otherwise render the faith nonexistent.  But this obsession with purity and fundamentalism has accomplished nothing but to sow international discord.  So fuck that.

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