Of the many arguments within the Christian community, a majority, I believe, might stem from the simple belief that “I should do as Christ convicts and tells me”. The problem is… we cannot argue that when Christ convicts one man, it is the same conviction applicable to another man. We always have the supposition that every Christian should have the same conviction because we have the same bible– but denominations and theoretical arguments among bible scholars shows that the Bible is open to interpretation because the Bible (to some extent) is ambiguous and mainly so due to the different context that we and the people of the Bible live in.
Unfortunately, when a Christian “gains” a conviction, he is “enlightened” and is in awe with God – leading to a strong sense that no one can take that enlightenment from him. And so, the Christian protects it, is defensive or is ignorant to arguments to his firm belief/ sudden enlightenment– and even more so if the enlightenment appears after a spate of challenges, sufferings and obstacles he may have face or if the conviction stems from a miracle or a “personal encounter with a heavenly being”. And the situation does not get better as we are bombarded with examples of matyrs and Biblical heroes who are celebrated for the persecution of their faith and belief among the majority of the disbelieving, viewing such steadfastness as a exemplary form of love towards God.
However, if every Christian is supposedly firm in their belief and convictions, and they are protective of it (and rightly so, as it is the driving force to growth/comfort/faith), the contradiction lies when they meet someone else with as strong a conviction but a markedly different belief altogether.
You can say goodbye to “do not judge your neighbour” as then, if we are truly convicted of something, we cannot help but feel “disturbed” when another does something that opposes or does not follow our convictions. In fact, we can go as far as to assert and push our convictions as the correct way under the righteous guise that “iron sharpens iron” and we shall not have our brothers’ blood on our hands by “saving” them from falling (cue Daisy Chains story by Amy Carmichael). How are we not able to “judge” when someone else is doing something so markedly wrong based on our/ or our particular community’s own set of convictions?
And the cruel truth in the Christian Evangelical Faith is that an Absolute truth is the foremost foundation of our belief– that Christ died for us and is the only way of salvation (and even this belief faces opposition and if a reason should contradict this truth then please walk yourself to the “False Teaching” and “Satan, go behind me” corner).
But Absolutes are just a field of landmines filled with weapons. You either go around, treading oh-so-carefully, trying to avoid conflict and confrontation. Or grab a weapon of “Faith”, wielding the shield of “Righteous Indignation” swinging arguments against any Tom, Dick or Harr. Or walk around, minding your own business, and suddenly someone blows up a mine and you’re amidst chaos, fighting, and destruction.
We either become cowards, “soldiers” or extremists. And everyone else is somewhere in between.