Why is There So Much Division in Western Christianity?

by E.L. Anglin

Though many of our ancestors were deeply devoted, I sometimes worry that the vast majority of western Christians aren't really believers at all.

Division exists because Christianity has become something other than trusting faith in God. Christianity has become more utilitarian than relational. In the absence of trusting faith, all that is left is a verbal heritage, an oral tradition.

~On the conservative side this is expressed as rules without relationship - more appreciation for the lifestyle of ancestors than theology or love.

~On the liberal side this is expressed as freedom to remain unchanged - Epicureanism over the spiritual disciplines and fruit.

Division exists because not all who claim to be "Christian" are. Many use the label as the equivalent of a Boy Scout merit badge. To some, Christianity is a social club parsed out in chapters otherwise known as 'denominations.' To others it's a sort of mental antique passed down from one generation to another.

Division exists because no human knows who is true and who isn't but some religious people pretend they do.

Consider this parable...

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Matthew 13:24-30

24 Here is another story Jesus told: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. 25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26 When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.
27 "The farmer's workers went to him and said, 'Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?'
28 "'An enemy has done this!' the farmer exclaimed.
"'Should we pull out the weeds?' they asked.
29"'No,' he replied, 'you'll uproot the wheat if you do. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.'"
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Unity cannot exist within the strictures of conservative fundamentalism because tradition has become a strait-jacket. Unity can only be fostered through a commitment to tolerance.

God is the Farmer.
We are wheat or weeds.

Visible measurements are unreliable.
All division stems from humans who step outside of their role, judging human worth solely upon human obedience to human doctrines.

Bloom where God plants you.

Division is eradicated when we live within our purpose and leave others to the hand of the Farmer.


This writing is the copyright of E.L. Anglin and is reprinted on this site by permission. View all of his available articles here.


Page added March 27, 2015

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