Good Morning all....
You probably have not seen a post from me before, but I see that this thread is devolving to a people bashing thread. Our goal for this medium is to allow a platform for the rational discussion of various beliefs and theological pursuits. Religion and theosophy is not within mslemon's interests. Therefore, she requested me to chime in. As a bit of introduction, I am mslemon's husband and the one who instigated this web site (mslemon actually runs the web site, as well as running the forum and mailing list. I merely provide technical support where needed). In my younger days, I have been a deacon in a church, a youth minister, and other positions (including pastor) in the church. I have (fwiw) a Doctorate in Divinity, a Doctorate in Metaphysics and a Doctorate in Philosophy in Religion. I have spent many years in study of the unseen (spirituality, christianity and churchianity). In my search, I have learned to speak many languages, and have studied most of the religious (holy) works that are, or have been in print.
That being said, let us get to the topic at hand. First we must describe the playing field. The word you use (Christianity) is one that I have a problem with. That is a word that has been denigrated beyond its meaning. If you look at the actual word, it implies an action of moving toward a Christian. I consider myself a Christian (in the true sense, not in the churchianity sense). The word Christ means Light. So a Christian would be one that is working toward and for the Light (of awareness). Christianity is a state of mind and a course of action, not an affiliation with a particular church, belief system, nor organization of ideals or dogmas. In today's meaningless dither, it refers to people that "belong" to a particular sect of "religion". I prefer the true meaning. In that, it has very little difference between the word spiritualism. However, spiritualism can also be applied to a particular church, belief system and an organization of ideals and dogmas. (The Spiritualist church makes use of communication with "the dead" and has also been around for a very long time.)
So, that being said, what is truly being asked/discussed here? Nothing and everything. (My kind of discussion.) If you are talking about the pursuit of enlightenment through independent investigation or through the application of dogma then that becomes something worth discussing. Please allow me to use a quote and break it down for you in both scenarios.
"In the beginning, the earth was a formless waste land and darkness covered the abyss. Then God said Let there be Light."
First from the churchianity point of view. We have this collection of dirt that is all dark and nothing is there. Then some Supreme Being took it upon himself to form it and put a flash light up in the sky to light it up so he could see what he had done. This gives us a great picture of what this is all about.... Putting all responsibility (for all things) outside of the Self. That way we have an excuse for when things go in a different direction than we would prefer. What it does not answer is "Why?" Was this Supreme Being so bored that he decided to mess around? Or was he just playing like a child in a sand box? Did he not have anything better to do? The original "viagra-lujah".
Now, let us look at from the Seeker's point of view. The earth is the substance of creation. Much as the earth provides the nourishment for the plants as well as the medium within which they can grow and thrive. Being formless means that there has been nothing planted in the earth to grow. It is plowed, fertilized and ready and waiting for the seed to be planted. The idea of the darkness refers to the absence of light, or understanding. The abyss is referring to a division. What are we dividing? We are dividing the substance (earth) from the ability to create (in this case, understanding). In the second sentence, we see the word God. What is that? Is that some supreme being? If so, then why bother to write it down? It has to depict someone that takes action. A Creator. Someone who creates. Someone who thinks. It is also someone/something to whom/which we can aspire. So, in my mind, this would have to be the Supreme Creator part of me. ( I will tie this in to our current situation in a couple minutes.) So, what does this Creator aspect do? He caused motion. This motion caused understanding (light).
Which point of view would you choose to ascribe to? The one where all responsibility is outside of you, where you are simply a puppet on a string? Or one in which YOU have the ultimate responsibility for your life, growth and communion with creation. I choose the latter. We all have been told that we have been endowed with two things. Life, and free will (or the right to choose). Does that make my choice the "best"? Not necessarily for anyone other than myself. Does that make the choices of others less than the best? Not necessarily for anyone other than them. In my opinion, we all (myself included) need to separate the choices that others make from the person themselves. In that way, we can accept the person, even while rejecting the choice as one that will not aid us in our individual evolution or progression. That does not make that choice "wrong" or "bad", simply just not one that we want or desire.
Now, to mslemon and my personal situation..... We were struck by a tornado on April 27. This tornado cause about USD 60,000 to our USD 200,000 house. If I were a churchianity type of person, I would probably say "God caused this to test me. To make me stronger in my faith like Abraham". From the seeker point of view, I say "I have been wanting to get off my fat posterior and do some exercising, to meet people here and to see what type of stimuli are available to me here". Guess what? I am exercising every day. I have met some really wonderful people. I have helped others around me, given several a hand up. I have seen our local economy grow as almost all of the trades have more work than they can handle. I have been awed at the work that our mason did. Work that he was proud of, that offered him fulfilment. I have seen people with skills that I can only dream of aspiring to. Yes, I attracted this tornado to me. The gains that I have made on my own path to enlightenment have been phenomenal.
So, back to the subject at hand. Please approach this discussion by understanding that the choices that others make are theirs. Seek to find what motivated those choices, and evaluate your own environment and see if those choices will aid you in pursuing your own path. Accept them and their choices and respect them for making the choice.