Sectarian Culture

If there is one thing I won't tolerate in my class, it's sectarianism. Pupils who ordinarily show the utmost respect for teachers, can suddenly get riled up, treating you like a traitor, should you dare challenge them on what can only be described as a sin. It’s a touchy subject and the possibility of angry letters and phone calls from parents always seem a possibility, so it’s important to tread carefully and appropriately.

Many humanists would have us believe that religion (of any sort) has been the cause of war and misery throughout time, they aren’t wrong. Christians shouldn’t be “religious” at least not in the way the Pharisees, of Jesus’, time were. We need to interpret everything we do and believe through the lens of scripture, as means of self diagnosis to see if what we are doing is right. However the pattern throughout history is of people claiming who outwardly claim faith but inwardly harbour sin which they use to twist and warp scripture to suit their purpose.

Current day examples include “Protestant” paramilitaries, who don't know what the reformation was, or Christians who exclaim that immigrants should go back to their own countries and stop “stealing our homes and jobs.” Where’s their Christ-like nature; welcoming in strangers and those less fortunate?

The Bible must be taken as whole, not select random passages, not taken out of context, not adapted to fit our agenda or mindset. Just because a sin is traditional or cultural in its basis doesn’t make it OK; tradition and culture are not bigger or more relevant than scripture itself. Christians, not just in Northern Ireland, need to actually apply the Bible to their whole lives, not just choose parts of it as it suits.

What are your thoughts?

Andrew Gribben @grib