Conflict in the Church

Disclaimer: this is a subject which many people hold dear to their hearts, and which may be controversial. Also, since I am responding to the topic from my own experience, this is very biased.

I am 23, and I've recently become disenchanted with the Christian church. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a Christian, but I've given up attending a "traditional" church and am now involved in a home church. My reasons for this are many and varied: although the fact that there are fragments in the church (and here I will note that by church I mean all of Christendom, and am not referring to any denomination in particular, although I think that in many cases denominations are the sources of these divisions) is probably the primary one. It seems to me that these divisions are primarily doctrinal, and largely unnecessary, but that we (that is everyone) perpetuate the cycle by being determined to observe that only one denomination (and generally speaking this is whichever denomination we are most attached to) is correct. We bicker incessantly over who is right, we point fingers, we make declarations of truth, and the whole time we are missing the main point. We are ONE church.

And here I am going to make a shocking claim: We need to separate our faiths and our religions, and here’s why:
It has been my experience that when people, non-believers and believers alike, hear the words “faith” and “religion” they do not instantly associate them. That is to say that it is often the case that the word “faith” gets lumped into the “belief” category, and that the word “religion” is merely associated with “doctrine” (the rules and politics of a particular group). This is, in my opinion, one primary reason that many people aren’t Christians at all. Whenever you say that your religion is Christian, people hear the word “religion,” associate it with “doctrine,” and then instantly (whether they realize it or not) associate the word “Christian” with the chaos that is currently present in the church. I know so many people who are interested in God, but want absolutely nothing to do with a church community that can’t make up its own mind about the wrongness or rightness of an action. And who can blame them? The constant ambiguity of whether or not you are doing the right thing is enough to drive anyone mad. Why bother following a religion in which you may, or may not be doing what is necessary for that 'eternal life' thing you keep hearing about?

This is a subject that I think the Bible is pretty clear about. We are to believe that God sent his only son to die for our sins, and that if we believe in Him, we will gain eternal life: Everything else in the Bible is application. So why bother with the bickering about things which we do not agree on? Does it really further the kingdom of God to go back and forth about whether or not gay people should marry? Are we putting God’s will for us first when we argue on the topics of war and abortion and the multitude of other things which we disagree about? I really don’t think so, because the Bible is also clear that all sins are equal: If I tell a lie to you, in God’s eyes that is the same as if I took out my gun and shot you. This isn’t to diminish the badness of murder, folks: it’s to point out how horrible lying is, or stealing, or any other sin which we think of as “petty.” If all sins are the same to God, if they are all horrible, do we have any right at all to be denying the kingdom of God to gay people? Or Lesbians? All based on the "wrongness" of their actions? The answer is most decidedly NO. It isn’t our call.

Here’s where my theory on faith comes in. Instead of being so hard-headed and mulishly pushing ahead in an effort to spread our religions, as Christians, why don’t we make a concerted effort to share our faith? Our belief, that Jesus died for our sins and that if we believe in Him we will gain eternal life, is a strong message. It may even be stronger than the damage done by our lack of cohesion.