Sometimes I feel really fortunate not to have grown up in the church, because I had to read the Bible myself and then read about church history, and then read all the objections, and so I was darn near grown before I ever slammed into the reality of churchian culture or Christianese, all these things I just call “folklore faith.”
For example the Bible never really says anything about Eve eating an apple. It’s just a fruit. We’re not even sure apples were around back then in that part of the world. It might have been a fig for all we know, but try speaking that truth in some places and they’ll probably label you a heretic. Folklore faith can be a bit like slamming into a brick wall.
Buddhists have their own version of folklore faith, Buddhism not being a religion at all, but rather a philosophy. The hybrid mixtures of ancient cultural animism, spiritualism, and Buddha portrayed as if he were a god or something, is mostly just the fruit of folklore faith, the merging of culture and tradition.
Atheists are really good at picking up on pop culture Christianity, on folklore faith and then mocking it. They aren’t so good at doing any research or finding the truth, but they do like the superficial memes that present Christianity in a negative light.
Some of that mockery is justified, because it is based on folklore faith, the merging of culture and tradition, and usually built on lies, deceptions. Try telling them Eve probably never ate an apple and they too will probably run you out for being a heretic.
There are none so religious as atheists, but I digress…
I’ve had a couple of spats with pastors trying to claim shepherds would go after lambs that strayed and break their legs so they couldn’t wander off. The first time I heard it I just laughed outright, because that has got to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Unless you plan on carrying all your lambs around across acres of grazing pasture for months on end, it’s probably a bad idea to hobble them. It’s also very perverse and sadistic. Sadly, it is a fairly prevalent bit of completely false folklore. It is nowhere in the Bible. It isn’t in the Farmer’s Almanac, either. The real tragedy however, is that this perversion is supposed to be an analogy for our Heavenly Father.
Ai yi yi. That just horrifies me because it’s a really false presentation of who Jesus is, of the Lamb who laid His own life down for us.
I’m telling you, if I thought half of the things I’ve heard were really true, I’d probably flee Christianity, too. In fact, sometimes that really helps to drive my faith. Christianity has survived for thousands of years in spite of our best efforts to really foul it up.
Normally I really like “folklore,” I think there is often a lot of wisdom to be found there. It’s not a bad word at all, but when it comes to faith, to Christianity, I really encourage us to question the folklore, to do your own research, to ask questions, to read the Bible, to study church history. My world is full of non believers clinging to lies and bits of folklore that have nothing to do with Jesus, nothing to do with Christianity as a whole.
Heck, my world is sometimes full of Christians doing the same.
So I’m going to do a series over the next few days on folklore relgion, some myths and lies around Christianity that can really trip us up. My first one of course is above, the myth of the sadistic shepherd hobbling the straying lambs so they can’t get away.