Saturday, April 18, 2009

Just $1 a Day...

Just $1 a day will help save this Indonesian boy. Not only will it provide food, clean water, and medical care but "most important of all, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God."

I'm sure you've seen these sponsor a child programs on TV where a relief volunteer walks through a poor backwater village in a third world country you can't even pronounce and introduces you, the viewer, to poor little Fiki in Indonesia (Fiki is an actual 5 year old Indonesian boy I found on this Christian child sponsorship program). I'm guessing some of you wanted to change the channel at that moment because you felt guilty, but if you did you would feel even more guilty. Let's face it you just came back from eating at Chili's and you couldn't make it to the parking lot without undoing your belt.

[Syukur Slamat Zendrato "Fiki", age 5]

This post is not about poor Fiki although after seeing a picture of him I kind of wish it was about him. But I wanted people to see an actual Indonesian boy and if it wasn't for programs like Compassion not only will his father have to work harder to support Fiki and his siblings but his soul might have been eternally damned.

I remember a debate (actually it was more like an argument over several things including our different religious beliefs: Baptist and Adventist) I had with my step dad years ago about religion. He had said that if I didn't accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior then my soul will burn in Hell forever (at least that was the gist of his statement). I had responded with an overused but intriguing rebuttal:

"So you're saying if an Indonesian boy dies before hearing the Gospel, his soul will be eternally damned to Hell?"

His response was that if God wanted the Gospel spread to Indonesia then He would make it so, and added that if the boy died before ever hearing the Gospel then God would judge him by his heart. This had an incredible impact on my spirituality that didn't really surface until a couple years ago. If God really did judge someone based on their belief system then only a few million people, if that, would make it to Heaven, making God look incredibly unjust. But on the other hand if he didn't judge a person's soul based on their belief system but on the contents of their heart then just about anyone could get into Heaven if they led a good life. And who would want that, it would be incredibly crowded.

Let's say that Christianity is the true religion; how would you know you were in the right denomination? Just looking in the contents of the 12th edition of the Handbook of Denominations in the United States there are over 30 headings under the Baptists umbrella. 30! And these are just the major branches! They may vary minutely in theology but the differences between United American Free Will Baptists and Sovereign Grace Baptists may condemn your soul to eternal Hellfire. Of course, that is if God did indeed judge you by your beliefs.

But if God did judge us by the contents of our hearts then what does it matter if we're a Sikh or a Methodist, a Sufi or a Bahai? If the contents of our hearts are acceptable to God then why does humanity put so much importance on belief and practice? Since it is IMPOSSIBLE to choose the "right" belief then I believe, and this is fallible I speaking, that God just wants us to be good to one another. Period. I don't think it matters if little Fiki is a Christian or Muslim, which the majority of Indonesians are of Muslim faith, but that he grows up to be a loving and compassionate man. If I don't have the heart to condemn a little Indonesian boy to Hell how can God? I know I said that this post wasn't going to be about little Fiki and I was wrong, it is about him and everyone in his state of need. I already feel for little Fiki wondering if he's getting enough to eat, enough to drink, is his family healthy. In fact, my wife and I were considering sponsoring a child through a charity instead of giving to the church, and we just might after writing this post (she's the boss so I have to OK it with her first). With all the religious wars, fighting, and injustice caused BY religion isn't it time we begin internalizing the beliefs we shout from pulpits, isn't it time to stretch out the hand of love and say, "I love you Fiki, no matter where you come from, what you did, or whatever you believe."


. v i c t o r y . said...

i like that... God bless you

Anonymous said...

Your step father’s argument is mostly about rejection. If you reject Jesus as your savior, you will be damned. This implies that you have an opportunity to know Jesus. If you’ve never known Jesus, you cannot reject Him (include all those pre-Jesus people). God will, therefore, fall back to plan B and judge you by your heart.

If, however, you view accepting Jesus symbolically – you accept the love of Jesus - then Plan A and B are the same.

Seems to me, people who insist on Plan A as the only “right” belief love their religion more than they love God. Whose heart is purer?

Lighted Wings said...

Great post today this face of a little boy in a starved country cause a famous minister to question God and then his belief system. Now he is going with God not the system. It cost him everything But he is being restored now by loving the outcast and not believing the lied of the system. Carlton Pearson is doing great today following Love

Eruesso said...

I first heard of him a couple years ago on Chicago Public Radio's This American Life, which talked about Carlton Pearson's story of his epiphany which caused him to doubt the traditional hell. I've been meaning to buy his book, The Gospel of Inclusion, but I haven't gotten around to it. He has a very interesting and loving story. Thanks for the comment.

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