A painting takes layers of color to become a work of art. It starts with a raw, stretched canvas, applications of white gesso, then you begin to build your vision with tints and hues, brushstrokes of light and dark until eventually you have a picture. An image. A creation. Our view of ourselves and the world we occupy are created in much the same way, layers of experiences, teaching and learning that accumulate into a belief.
I can and never will claim to be an authority on Christian theology — I've studied and read quite a lot over the last 20 or more years (as I've developed, questioned, considered, lived, lost, floundered, ignored, confessed, pleaded, cried, wondered, wandered, searched, found, repented) in my beliefs. I'm a man who falls short of what God would want, always. But one thing I will always try to be is honest.
It amazes me how easily we all define another person by how they aren't like us — we identify people by their differences: they're not a woman, they're not a Christian, they're not gay, they're not from California, they're not like us. We all naturally seek those that support our belief system, our culture, our world view because its comfortable and predictable (even if we like to pretend that we don't). It's time we start seeing what makes us simliar.
Every generation has its revolution, its moment of clarity in the ever evolving values of what compromises 'Christianity'. Whether it be the massive outreach and impact of mega-churches or new ways of thinking about our faith (open theism), each generation somehow seems to find its own way of bridging their faith with the culture. I believe much of my generation (and younger) could be said to be in what I term, "Vulgar Christianity".
Everyone believes in something. Whether that something is mankind, God, Allah, Joseph Smith or Xenu, we all hold beliefs (if we 're conscience of it or not). Beliefs vary from spiritual, to material, to moral, to political; and our beliefs stem from a foundation.