Does Christianity encourage exploitation of the natural world? Is it a kill-joy religion, full of “thou shalt not” rules? Does it disapprove of sex?
All these criticisms are levelled against Christianity from time to time – and they’re all FALSE!
Now I’m not denying that some Christians have mistakenly had such negative views. But, if you want to know what Christianity really believes, you need to go back to the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament writers.
What Christians actually believe is that this is God’s world and he intends us to enjoy it. It is a thoroughly Christian thing to enjoy the beauty of the world: the dawn and sunset, flowers and trees, birds and animals, mountains, lakes, valleys, and a whole host of other wonderful aspects of creation. However, because it is God’s world we need to respect it and look after it. Christians should be at the forefront of the ecology movement. We should also give thanks to God for the beauty of creation. Because it is God’s world we should seek to make it a better place by combating evil, injustice and oppression.
Christianity is not a kill-joy religion. The New Testament makes it clear that joy is an important characteristic of a Christian. True, it can be expressed quietly as well as exuberantly. But a person who is always miserable and negative isn’t a good Christian. God created humour and I for one, have a very highly-developed sense of humour. Yes, some humour is inappropriate but God intended us to have fun.
It is true that there are some “thou shalt not” rules in Christianity. But since they are saying thou shalt not murder, steal or commit adultery or slander people, all of which cause enormous human suffering, they seem very positive rules to me! Nor does Christianity disapprove of sex. The Bible teaches that sex is a beautiful gift of God to be enjoyed fully in the right context, which is that of a life-long, exclusive heterosexual commitment witnessed by society. Sex can be misused selfishly and irresponsibly and so leads to great human suffering.
Christianity unashamedly believes in life after death. When we die trusting in Christ we can be certain of a new start in the unimaginable glory and joy of heaven. But Christianity also affirms this life as very important indeed.
© Tony Higton: see conditions for reproduction