WHO OR WHAT ARE RATIONAL CHRISTIANS
Rational Christians are people who take the four gospels which contain the teachings of Jesus, as a basis for their religious, moral and ethical beliefs and practice.
They also believe that God has given them a mind or intellect with which to reason and think and a conscience to assist them in putting their religious beliefs into daily practice.
They see it as a duty to apply their god-given powers of reason to the religious teachings which they have received in order to have an informed, responsible conscience.
Mindful of Jesus’ strictures on those who neglect their god- given talents, they use their intellect and conscience to disagree, from time to time, with the teachings or practice of the religious authorities which have been the source of their religious formation.
They are not uncomfortable with this situation, regarding it as the natural and healthy product of a mature, questioning, Christian frame of mind. They are also aware that this practice is called Census Fidelium – the mind of the faithful – and is inspired by the Holy Spirit
Rational Christians sometimes wonder why, if the teachings of Jesus are the bedrock of the Christian religions, the Christian churches do not devote more time and effort to enabling their followers to immerse themselves in his teachings so that ‘thinking like Jesus’ becomes almost as instinctive as breathing in and breathing out.
Being a Rational Christian is not the same as being a regular church goer. The two have no essential connection. They just don’t necessarily go together. The one is not a sign of the other.
So where does that leave you and me? Is there a bit of a Rational Christian in each of us? Could it do with a bit of nurturing? If so you might want to read on.
The Christian Churches
I don’t know what it is like to be a member of the Anglican, Baptist, Wesleyan, Lutheran or any other of the many Christian Churches. I was brought up in the Catholic Church. But I would find it hard to believe that there are no rational Christians in all of those churches. That being so, might it not be possible, if we focussed on the teachings of Jesus, that we might find there is more that unites us than divided us?
You might still think think that what I say applies only to Catholics and not to non Catholic Christians. But it needs to be remembered that the form of Christianity from which non-Catholic Christians rebelled was created by the Vatican. How much of that ancient baggage might you still be carrying?
Rational Catholic Christians make a clear distinction between the Vatican and The Church. We never use the word Church to include both of those elements. Why? Because they are quite different entities in their role, their function, their practice and their origin.
The role of the Vatican is to govern. In order to govern it needs control, to have control it needs power. Power must therefore be acquired. It must be defended against attack and it must be extended when ever an opportunity occurs.
In other words the Vatican is a political entity which exercises its power within a religious context. The Vatican is not a religious organisation. If it were it would debate religious beliefs and practices. It never does that. It just expels those who disagree with it. The Vatican has had 1,700 years of political experience. Its structure is that of a monarchy, and, as far as possible, an absolute monarchy.
When Rational Christians use the word ‘Church’ they mean the ordinary people going about their daily lives and trying to live, as best they can, a Christian life. Some priests belong to this group and spend their lives helping, supporting, encouraging and serving the people.
Some priests belong more to the Vatican, at least intellectually and possibly in reality by exercising their role as priests with an eye more on the Vatican than on the teachings of Jesus. Thus the power of the Vatican is not confined to Rome. It reaches down into every parish in the world.
As a result many committed Catholics are, perhaps without realising it, more focussed on the Vatican’s rulings than they are on Jesus’ teachings. They might get a surprise if they spent as much time listening to Jesus as they do listening to the Vatican’s messages transmitted to them by their priests.