The Danger of Insularity (addendum)

My previous post about “insularity” didn’t really head in the direction I’d intended. While it touched partly on the issue I wanted to address, I probably didn’t make my intended points clear.

I mentioned how limited my own understanding had been regarding doctrinal diversity within “the church”. I had a lot of (wrong) assumptions about the general conformity of Christian beliefs.
To a degree that created a “trust shortcut”, giving the illusion that something could be accepted on trust if it had a Christian label.

Those assumptions were changed through interacting with others outside of my familiar theological world. Realisation of significant doctrinal differences across the Christian community made me aware of the need to reassess all of my beliefs: all of those things I’d taken for granted.

One of the points I intended to make in the previous post was the way we can misinterpret the world outside of our religious (and political) cocoons. In other words, I wanted to consider whether our understanding comes from seeing “the real world out there” or from a collection of assumptions we’ve adopted through listening to others. To what extent is our understanding of the world based on fact (what is real, what is actually true), and how much is based on prejudices we’ve picked up?

When we hold onto, and even promote, an opinion about the nation or community in which we live, we are no less responsible for ensuring there’s a foundation of truth behind those “political” views, than we should be regarding our doctrinal beliefs.

Promoting political error is no less a compromise to our Christian witness than promoting false doctrine. Both are rooted in lies.

The Danger of Insularity in a Political World

It is easy to enclose ourselves in a state of insularity and fail to see the realities outside of our chosen “life-bubbles”.

Christians can be especially vulnerable.
Seeing the need to be separate from “the world” there can be a tendency towards naiveté regarding the societies in which we live. The effects of insularity for Christians can be further complicated by exposure to wayward bible teaching and pseudo-Christian political rhetoric. So often our views are coloured by ignorance and assumption, combined with an ill-informed, careless application of scripture. We can therefore make some very questionable judgements about both the church and the world, our objectivity being compromised by those previously mentioned influences.

The first time I recognised how insular my life and beliefs had become was when I first joined a Christian forum. I quickly became exposed to countless different and often contradictory theological beliefs I’d not previously known about. Until that time the churches I’d known had been very similar in what they’d taught and any differences were relatively minor.

Apart from my earlier ignorance regarding doctrinal disputes, I see there’s a similar ignorance regarding the world outside of our religious enclosures. This makes it easy for us to be led by “authority” figures who dress their message in familiar religious language, and stake their claim in “Christian” territory.TRUSTED

Believers are often swayed by questionable arguments if they are expressed with a religious veneer.
Certain terminology can add weight to what is said, dropping bible verses into an argument can effectively convince Christians of the legitimacy of a point of view.danny the liar

I recall many years ago when I was speaking to an atheist friend. He asked me why I had believed what another person had said. I replied that the other person was a Christian and therefore wouldn’t lie. I’ve since recognised the foolishness of that justification: that just because someone claims to be a Christian, and just because they quote the bible and use Christian terminology, it doesn’t mean that they are speaking the truth (even IF they themselves believe it to be the truth). The trust I had in Christian testimony was effectively a reversal of something Jesus said referring to false prophets: “You will know them by their fruits”.donald-trump-2-1024

Instead of judging SOMEONE by their fruit (as per scripture), I was effectively judging the fruit according to my preconceptions about that someone, basically applying the view that “He’s a good Christian, so what he says must be good”.

It is essential that we change that kind of attitude and start to make assessments according to the quality of the FRUIT: that is we should evaluate the acceptability of a teaching, a dogma, a planned action with reference to the teachings and example of Jesus.
Our responses should be informed by scripture (AS A WHOLE) and NOT by political creeds, especially those promoted by alleged Christian politicians who use religion as bait to attract the evangelical vote.


In no way do I endorse any of the slogans (or the politicians associated with them) that are illustrated in this post. All three are associated with politicians or parties that have used “Christian” rhetoric as bait to attract Christian support.