Friday, 6 June 2008

JA membership is a stumbling-block for the faithful

It may seem a funny thing for an atheist to say, but re-reading the last posting made me realise that membership of the JA is a stumbling-block for people who believe.

When I was there we used to say that Christians outside who had not met us would be under grace, but that anyone who met us and did not answer the calling to the kingdom (which we thought was inevitable because we were THE kingdom) would be under judgement.

The irony of this twisted way of looking at things is that in a sense quite the opposite is true. Here and on JAW we have talked about people who leave the JA and lose their faith. I have suggested that the reason for it is not that leavers are bad people or even wilfully rejecting God, but simply that the JA way of couching the faith creates a natural intellectual and psychological block for anyone who leaves.

Christians I met over the years who asked why I had lost my faith all conclude that after experiencing the JA it was perhaps inevitable that I'd be sickened by Christianity. As it happens, I was a Christian afterwards for about 5 years. But in a sense they are right I think: the JA brand of Christianity is a stumblingblock to faith in Christ or trust in other Christians.

Perhaps the JA were right after all; those who had not met them WERE under grace.