My wife is awesome. She is in the bathroom right now, singing her heart out with her headset on. It’s great. I’m sitting in our home office right next door and I can hear her going nuts in there.
We had a very significant talk last night. I made it very clear to her (as I will again) and wish to let all of my friends know that I am not trying to talk you into believing like me. (Well, maybe just a little.) Let me explain.
I do not want my Christian friends to stop being Christian, just like I do not want my Hindu friends to stop being Hindu. I had an employee a while back who was awesome named Shashi. Shashi is a great guy, and his wife Shree is also precious. Both of them are Hindu. When they found out that I was practicing yoga, they embraced me, gave me books, showered me with gifts, and the like. I would never ask Shashi and Shree to come to a Christian meeting, anymore than I would invite my Christian friends to go to yoga (unless I get a clear message that they are open to this).
What my wife has done is to cross over into a state in which she is very tolerant of people of other faiths. We talked about another friend (the wife of an aggressively Christian church friend named Gopal) who we will call Shruthi (not her real name). Shruthi was also a very wonderful person. She was beautiful, charming, vivacious, funny, and all that. She was also Hindu. Because her husband Gopal was aggressively Christian, he was putting enormous pressure on her to convert. He basically thought she was going to Hell. In fact, the prospect that his wife would go to Hell was driving him crazy. He proceeded to recruit other folks in the church (including my wife and I) to “witness” to Shruthi in order to convince her to “receive Jesus”.
My conversation with Shruthi was an absolutely pivotal moment for me: I realized that I no longer wanted Shruthi to become a Christian. I liked her as a Hindu. She told me that she was happy as a Hindu, that she regarded it as a path to God, and she did not understand why “you Christians” were always telling her otherwise. She was a bit annoyed actually. She made it very clear to me, though, that she was not interested in becoming a Christian and preferred to stay as she was. And I found that I agreed with her, and that I was happy to leave her alone in her Hinduism.
At that moment, I realized that I was no longer the same kind of Christian as Gopal. Last night my wife told me that she had an identical conversation with Shruthi with an identical outcome: She also did not believe that Shruthi was “going to Hell” and had no desire to convert her to Christianity. So I guess she did the same thing as me without realizing it.
Remember please that one of the cardinal points of the Christian faith (at least the aggressively evangelical Christianity that my wife and I were both involved in) is that anyone who has not accepted Jesus into their heart and dedicated their lives to Him is going to Hell, pure and simple. For this reason, we as Christians should try with all of our hearts to get all of our “lost friends” to pray the sinner’s prayer and accept Jesus into their hearts. Implicit in this attitude is the idea that Jesus is the only valid and legitimate way to God, and that Hinduism, Buddhism, and all the rest are simply lies. Again, the idea that Christianity has a monopoly on the truth.
Given that I no longer wanted Shruthi to accept Jesus, I realize now (even more than I did then) that this meant that I no longer was a Christian, as my religious group defined that term. I was something different. I call this thing I have become a Truth Believer.