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Chapter 26 - Traditions
Most Christians grow up in a Christian home or otherwise inherit a Christian tradition usually expressed in one denomination or another. This is how most people come to their religious inclination. However, inherited religion is often like a borrowed suit that does not fit very well.
A Muslim was once asked to describe the strength of his beliefs. This inquiry was made using an illustration describing a couple who were fervent in their religion, attended every event, and their home life was dominated with their religious practice. Calling these an example of level one religion, a further inquiry was made suggesting that the children of level one parents who were raised in this religion might observe all of the events, rituals, and other requirements, but lack the passion and zeal of their parents. These might be called representative of a level two religion. Finally described were the children of level two parents as making a minimum concession towards the religious requirements, being somewhat familiar with the most significant aspects, but otherwise more interested in the commercial, entertainment, and social aspects of the world. This could be called level three religion. The man was asked what level Muslim he was. His answer was level three.
Eighty percent of children raised in Christian homes will walk or drift away from the faith. This more than anything else testifies to how damaged Christian life has become. These children may have come to see Christianity as something abstract, theoretical, or even imaginary. They may have been presented with doctrines that were difficult to agree with. They may have seen no logical reason to continue in a tradition that consumes resources such as time and money and offers no apparent benefit.
If one considers what holds families together, necessity often looms larger than affection and love. In times of adversity children will often cling to their families and family traditions. However, in times of prosperity, children often will leave home finding greater attraction in economic opportunities, or even a life of dissolution such as with sex, drug, and rock and roll.
Denominational brands had success in the market place because they could offer offer the comfort of assurance in religious matters carried forward with the generational inertia of family associated traditions. As society becomes more of a draw than family, one might expect to see a proportional decline in interest with all denominations.
Sadly, many denominations thrived in the same way that many Wisconsin families are dedicated Green Bay Packer football fans. One’s dedication was inherited and served as a common denominator for social interaction within a group.
Denominations that attempt to compete with the attractions of the world by adopting its values (such as declaring homosexuality or abortion now favored instead of prohibited) often find that they are rejected even faster. It would be like if the Green Bay Packers relocated to a different city. Betrayal shatters the influence of tradition.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. - Matthew 15:9
Doctrinal variability is a significant indicator that what one is receiving from a denomination is of man rather than God. The reason is that God is truth and does not change. However, just because a particular denominational tradition is less fluid, does not necessarily mean that it is closer to the truth. Regardless if one finds tradition comfortable or consistent, the radical Christian is always seeking truth. In away, the radical Christian is uncomfortable anywhere but truth.
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