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Where do you stand?
The Shumway Scale of Christian Certainty
There’s a scene in Shogun where a samurai is forcing some hapless closet Christian to prove he’s not a Christian. Fail the test and off with your head! The method at the time was using the Fumi-e, or E-fumi.
Wikipedia: A fumi-e (踏み絵, fumi "stepping-on" + e "picture") was a likeness of Jesus or Mary onto which the religious authorities of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan required suspected Christians to step, in order to demonstrate that they were not members of the outlawed religion; otherwise they would be tortured or killed.
If memory serves correctly, the Christian in the Shogun scene chose to acknowledge rather than deny our Savior and quickly met his death, after a brief struggle with swords. Up in heaven, upon learning of this heroic martyrdom, Peter, who also carried a sword, is reported to have said, with a shrug and a thick Brooklyn accent, “Hey, ya gotta choose your battles.”
I’ve come up with a modern-day Fumi-e you can use to put the test to your friends and family. In the spirit of Shogun, you can make up punishments for the wrong answer, but swords, torture and death are all completely optional!
Announcing The Shumway Test of Christian Certitude. Where do you fall on the scale?
ZERO: I am a full-on atheist. I am certain there is no deity, creator, designer, or anything supernatural in our universe, now or at any time or place, period.
ONE: I'm agnostic. Maybe there is a god/creator, but probably not. And since there's probably no way to know, I don't spend too much time worrying about it.
TWO: I'm what you can call a deist. I believe in a supernatural creator of the universe, as it seems impossible for the universe to A) go infinitely back in time with no beginning, or B) materialize spontaneously from nothing. However, that creator is a hands-off deity. He/she/it is completely absent from our affairs and the daily movements of the universe. I'm not a Christian, or follower of any other religion. There is no divine revelation and organized Christianity, or any other religion, is largely mysticism unfounded in fact, and often a huge scam.
THREE: I believe in the creator, and lean toward Christianity, but I've got tons of doubts, and am not nearly faithful enough to, for example, simply declare publicly and unhesitatingly,“Yes, I'm a Christian, absolutely,” let alone utter something so inherent and essential to Christianity as, “Jesus is my savior!” Those words are too awkward for me to say out loud among others, so I’m gonna hedge my bets and wait and see.
FOUR: I'm a Christian, believe in the Bible, and will admit it openly. However, I still have some doubts about doctrine and parts of the Bible. I'm not totally convinced there aren't some contradictions and inaccuracies within it. Although I'm all for churchgoing, I don't think my church, or any one church is the only way. I do believe that salvation, with some specific exceptions, requires belief in Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, but I think there are various paths to salvation, besides my own particular brand of Christianity or that of my church.
FIVE: I'm a Christian and admit it openly and willingly. I'm certain that the Bible, in its entirety, is God's word, and I believe that the form of worship that I've either been raised in or have adopted is the best path to salvation, if not the True and Only Way.
Think about the scale and place yourself on it. Don't get hung up by the labels and descriptions; they're not perfect. We all get the basic idea: A zero is completely unreligious and doesn't believe at all that Christ is Lord. A five is quite positive about it and furthermore is certain or nearly certain he's chosen the best religious path. It's OK to use decimals if you want to get precise.
After you've determined your own score, just for fun, ask your friends to play along. Ask them to write down...
A) where they are on the scale.
B) where they would put you.
C) where they think you would put them.
D) where they think you would think they would put you. (OK, I'm kidding about this one, heh. You can stop at A, B, or C.)
Great! Now, everybody reveal your answers, and discuss it!
And be glad you don’t have to go through this: