There is a question I have been asking myself lately: What is the difference between, on the one hand:
a)a faith that justifies slavery or war or spousal abuse, and bind people to silly burn-yourself-out-on-non-essentials rules on what to wear or touch or do
… and, on the other hand:
b) The sort of religion that frees slaves, start orphanages, but also generally give hope and meaning to the ordinary life that is no Gladys Aylward or William Wilberforce? The religion that will die for Christ, but do not kill the spirits of others because of what they believe is right?
And what is the difference between martyrs who are praised for sticking to their faith, compared to abused wifes who allow their children to be abused because their faith tell them not to leave an abusive husband? Is the difference between a religion with burnout behavior standards (i.e. don’t wear anything that show your collar bone, do home school, obey your husband even when it leads to abuse) and one with ‘sensible’ behavior standards (Don’t dress in such a way as to be confused with a prostitute, do take time to teach your children values, be (mutually) co-operative with your husband) one of degree – being “sold out for Jesus” versus “lukewarm?”
In short, how should a Christian discern between good and bad religion, both dressed as Christianity? I will start by not giving my thoughts, so that I could hear yours. Thanks in advance.