Saturday, April 27, 2013
I've decided to re-post this blog each time an act of terror in the name of religion takes place in the world. This is due to the attack in Kenya.
I got to pondering the idea of "world peace." This is an idea people have pondered since time began but for some reason we have yet to figure out that all that is needed to attain this lofty goal is just for everyone to agree to leave each other alone. That's when an interesting thought hit me. There are people in this world who believe it is the will of their God to eradicate any and all who believe differently than them. Since that is the case, for world peace ever to exist, these people would have to actually defy their God.
To put this in better perspective, for people who come from a Judeo-Christian belief system, the book of Joshua chronicles the story of a Biblical hero who led the Israelites on a march of conquest over evil nations to reclaim the land of God's chosen people. But, if you do not come from a Judeo-Christian background, the story of Joshua looks nothing short of a reign of terror over the region as the Israelites eradicated city and nation killing men, women, children, infants, and even the animals. I wonder how Joshua would have been viewed had he looked his God in the face and said, "No, for the sake of peace, I will not destroy these people." Imagine the implications of that! Yet, it is the exact same thing we are asking others to do right now. In the name of world peace would you please tell your God "no" and just leave me alone.
Now, Christians and Jews might quickly make the case that Joshua went out and destroyed "evil" nations who had all kinds of horrid practices, some even sacrificed their children on altars. But I think it would be pretty narrow minded of us not to see how radical followers of other belief systems might view us here in America as equally "evil." Pro-choice or pro-life, we would have to admit that when you lead the world in abortions, its not a stretch for someone to believe, based on their system of values, that we are just as bad.
Imagine the stir that Jesus created when He corrected the Old Testament teaching of and eye for an eye saying instead we should "love our enemies." When Jesus says stuff like this, it kinda makes you wonder if Joshua heard God right. That's a pretty big contrast. And when I see the contrast between what Jesus taught and some of the things that took place in the Old Testament, I honestly struggle. If world peace was ever going to be reached in the day and age of Joshua then he would have had to defy God just like if world peace is going to be reached in this day and age radical Muslims would have to defy Allah, and any other radical groups out there would have to defy their gods or teachings.
The only two ways to attain world peace are either to follow your God all the way and eradicate any and all who oppose you, or to defy your God if he is calling for the destruction of others and love your enemies. There are really no other options. So, for world peace to be attained, someone, somewhere, at some time is going to have to defy their God and if I'm going to ask them to, the question then becomes, could I?
Sunday, April 7, 2013
I've found myself pondering religion lately. Not just Christianity, but every religion. The followers of just about every religion on Earth believe that their way of believing is the "right" way, thus the reason they follow. What is interesting is that as different and diverse as religions are, they all have the common idea that their way is best and all others are found lacking. As a Christian, I was brought up with the idea that Judeo-Christianity was "God's" religion and that every other faith was just something made up by man. Every belief system on Earth, every one but mine, was just made up by people through the centuries.
Then it hit me that every other religion feels the same way about mine. From that perspective, religion really seemed to echo quite hollow as mine was like every other in that regard. Then the next thought that hit me was, "What if all religions are just made up by man?" Of course that was blasphemy and I was certain to go to hell for thinking it, but it did cross my mind. What if there are no gods, what if all of these different beliefs were just made up throughout history? If that were the case, would I still follow any of them?
If there are no gods, if religion is simply teachings made up by man, which one would have the "best" teachings. If there was no heaven and no hell to bait me or scare me, if I didn't have to worry about eternal consequences for objectively choosing something, could I or even would I choose any of them?
That is when Jesus really began to rise to the top of the list. Jesus taught that we are all to love each other. Jesus taught not to judge people, to embrace people, to accept people. He demonstrated this to the extent that it actually cost him his life. Of all the religions in the world, which one could still change the world in profoundly positive ways if there was no God behind it? I have come to believe that even if there is no God, love can still change the world in profoundly positive ways! If everyone on Earth were to suddenly believe in Jesus, I'm not sure the world would really look all that different than it does now because we have ample examples throughout history of people who believed in Jesus but still hated each other. But what if we were to all love like Jesus? What then? I believe if that were to happen the world would be changed for the better in an instant!
Love can change the world even if there is no God behind it…………which is exactly why I believe He is.