Letter: Real message of faith

By The Daily Illini

While the opinion piece, “Misguided Faith,” by Alex Dunkel includes several caveats seemingly intended to limit the scope of his arguments to strongly evangelical Christians, a few of his statements cross the line.

He is right to condemn those that would use faith to take advantage of others. However, this is a flaw not in the Christian faith, but of certain individuals – and more broadly, of people in general. Most Christians I know desire only to live out lives that reflect the truth they believe; to share that truth with others; and also to learn more from the beliefs and experiences of others. Far from trying to “objectify” other people, the true Christian perspective is one that celebrates the dignity of each human life – something that can’t be said for much of the “secular” world.

It is true that many lapse into a simplistic Heaven vs. Hell formulation of religion – but Christian teaching emphasizes that we all fall short of perfection; hence the sacrifice of Christ, for our sake.

Anyone who condemns others for their failures is acting quite contrary to the Christian spirit. Dunkel would remind us that “real friends accept you for who you are, not for who they want you to become.”

Any friend will do this, but the essence of true Christian love and compassion is even greater: to accept people as they are and to lift them up as unique expressions of God’s creative will – not to condemn people for their failures, but celebrate them for their potential. Don’t let the actions of a few blind you to the nature of faith: The real message of Christianity is one of redemption, not damnation.

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Jason Burr

graduate student