"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
- Matthew 4:19
I have seen many people in Christianity use that verse to justify all forms of behaviour in attempting to convert people to the religion - specifically the kind of behaviour that involves beating people around the head with Bibles and forcing Christ down their throats. I have to say, that verse doesn't condone any such activity. Now, I don't fish, I actually find the idea of fishing repulsive, but when I think of a fisherman, I think of this: a man who goes out in his boat, drops his line in the water, kicks back, and waits for a fish to take an interest. The fisherman doesn't leap in the lake and force hooks down the throats of every single fish in sight; he waits for one to take an interest of its own accord in what he's offering. And that is what I believe the aforementioned verse is supporting, not the aggressive bullying tactics of some in Christendom. I've seen people scared away from Christianity simply due to the over-enthusiastic behaviours of some people who have misguided interpretations. If the fisherman leaps in the lake and pursues the fish, they'll swim away from him; if the fisherman puts the hook in the water and waits, a fish will naturally take an interest and come to see what's on offer, and if it likes, it will bite. I think a similar philosophy should be applied to religion - not just Christianity, but anyone's faith. It's a shame so many people just believe what their parents tell them to believe or try to bully others into believing as they do; people should make enquiries of their own accord and accept the religion that they feel contains the truth.
Now speaking of truth, I personally do believe Christianity to be the truth, and pure Christianity to contain the fullness of truth - though I indeed concede that would be hard, if not impossible, to find in today's fractured, split church. I think it is a true tragedy that the church has fragmented into so many divisions, but Easter is one of those times of year when we can unite, worship together, and share in the joy of the resurrection. It's a time of year when we can focus on the presence of hope in the world, and how even when we are in the very depths of despair, God does not forsake us; rather, there remains cause for hope and perseverence as, although there is dark before the dawn, the dawn eventually breaks. We see in the Almighty a defiance of the limits of what we have in our earthly lives - namely Christ's crushing defeat of death. When left to ourselves, we may be limited and sometimes left without hope; the message of Easter is that we are not alone, we can do anything in Christ, and we have much cause to rejoice and be filled with joy. I personally believe this is the most important - and most joyful - time of year for Christians, and I hope everyone reading this, Christian and non-Christian alike, has had a wonderful Easter.
All the best, everyone. Have a good one - and for U2 fans, now's the time to get really excited as the tour opener commences in approximately eighteen hours! The time has finally come! I, for one, am getting ready to leave the ground. </lame pun>