“All of Christianity can be reduced to behavior and behavior modification” was the statement and my mind raced to deny this proposition: Roman Catholics and the Orthodox, both want acceptable behavior, Protestants, with their myriad denominations and endless fragmenting could be explained by their views regarding acceptable behavior -confession, divorce, remarriage, contraception, pre and extramarital sex, communion, masturbation, baptism, food and beverages, clothing, marriage, women, the various Bible versions- all reduced to the standard of obedience. Christianity was previously understood through right belief or Orthodoxy and wrong opinions or heresy and now, all is behavior. Our age does not have the desire, effort or time for understanding historical Christian opinions, so we are left with the only aspect that remains: behavior.
Jesus suffered, died, rose from the dead. As a disciple of Jesus, he will give immortality to his faithful followers. This faith is nothing more than faith in two future events; the resurrection and a future life. This basic understanding is found in the Egyptian writings of their version of Christ who they called Wsir and in Greek, Osiris. The piety of their enthroned Christ is reflected in his serenity as the Lord of Life. The Egyptians and yours truly hold the same opinion of Christ-he died and lives and as his followers, we die and are assured of living again.
The Egyptians had a document placed in their coffins and today we call this testimony the “Negative Confession” (solo scriptura). The decreased addresses his Lord and makes 42 declarations such as “I did not kill” and “I did not steal”. The negative confession was only necessary in so far that the deceased would not forget what to say to which deity, since every follower of Osiris was assured of living again (solo Christo), and Amet, the personification of the second death, endures hunger for eternity. Why would the followers of Osiris be certain of immortality? We will not impune their faithfulness, or our integrity, by describing them as either Gnostics (sola gratia) or Lutherans (sola fide). Osiris, although a god, also displayed human characteristics, he was married, had at least one child (accounts vary), and was the object of an envious conspiracy by his brother.
While we are told that Osiris was a humanitarian, an educator and unjustly murdered, no accounts have reached our time of his sinlessness. If Osiris was without sin, we would expect it to be repeated often enough that it we know this facet of Osiris today. Likewise, Isis the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus, is not known to be sinless. Modern Christians can be forgiven if they can not identify with the lives and experiences of the perfect Christ and the immaculate Virgin. Our modern Christians are, by necessity, forced to identify, not with their Savior, but with the followers of the Savior, that is, the Saints who were not free of sin, but enjoy the benefits of being a follower of Christ. Needless to say, the adherents of the Egyptian religion could easily identify with Osiris and Isis because of their humanity and not because of their divinity.
Since Osiris possessed “human” qualities, if follows that he can allow human “weakness” or sin in his disciples and not condemn them to the second death. It is more accurate to state that Osiris does not condemn, but observes the deceased’s heart weighed against the feather of truth (Ma’at). The heart must be of equal weight to Ma’at or the deceased with suffer the second death. The second death is not an eternity of fiery punishment for being human or an indefinite time of purging fires to attain “holiness”. The second death is when the deceased becomes permanently dead, that is, nonexistent for all time. The follower of Osiris must act or behave morally if he is to enjoy the rewards of the next life. While it seems reasonable to most people that the disciple of Osiris is responsible for his behavior and will suffer or be rewarded accordingly, we can not resist comparing this obvious “truth” of individual responsibility to modern Christianity's unhealthy obsession regarding the community’s behavior. The unformed observer will be forgiven if they reach the reasonable conclusion that “salvation” is a group effort; if one fails, everyone fails.
In the Modern Age, our Jesus seems unable to allow his followers into his Kingdom unless they endlessly moralize society's conduct. Because all Christian groups engage in this moralizing, few people question why these individuals display this behavior. When we engage adherents of this worldview, we receive a trite answer to the effect that as followers of Christ, we behave, or should behave, differently.
While we read and are told we can not follow the 616 laws perfectly, but by putting on Christ we will be able to follow most of the laws, but not without a struggle. Since people struggle with the Laws either with or without Christ, we are forced to inquire what purpose does Christ have in a theological sense. It would seem to better if Christ did not exist and we honestly admit that we fall short of the Law and do the best to our ability, than for Christ to be held to an ideal that we can not achieve, with the associated feelings of guilt and failure.
If this is a bait and switch to place people under the Law, then we are not surprised when so many Christians have buyer's remorse-the Freedom in Christ is turned into bondage under the Law. But not the Jewish law, rather any “laws” that their community professes or emphases from time to time as price and participation varies among the various congregations. Caveat Emptor. We pay no heed to those who will quote Saint Paul to defend their desire to correct people’s behavior, to moralize or to tyrannize.
Moralizing and commenting upon morally neutral actions and events are frequently observed in the same person and this unnecessary commentary is more insidious than vilifying improper behavior. More insidious because the listener is forced into attempting to find improper behavior in individuals or unexpected causes to events, otherwise, why would these actions and events be brought to their attention?
I mentioned that few people have noticed this feature of modern Christianity regarding behavior modification and this statement is not without clarification-few people have written on the subject, since most people do not write (see Google ”Why do Christians want to change people’s behavior?”), but people do leave the church, likely never to return or to never join another church, for various reasons, some of which are unknown to the individual because they lack the proper wording to describe their reasons. They only know that something is not kosher and, in many instances, this is enough. It is rare that people leave the church because of disgust, heresy or rampant hypocrisy among the congregation. I also lack the proper wording because I am neither a psychologist nor a behavioral specialist, but then, I have never claimed to be either. I do not seek to change behavior in individuals or groups so that they conform to my expectations of how they should behave either as followers of Christ or as humans. I suppose I am in good company...