We live in an age, where religion is often looked upon as a negative, and there are plenty of supportive reasons to view religions in this light. After all, religion is often the said cause for war. Some religions including Christianity allow for bigotry, punishment, exclusion, bullying and the list goes on.
Christianity is supposed to be based in love, but all the while many folk lose sight of this, and judge, smite, and exclude others. If we can agree that there is a higher power – wouldn’t the prize to judge belong to this higher power?
By no means, do I believe that all or most Christians are guilty of being judgmental hypocrites, I am not saying this at all, but sadly there are enough out there who have an “us vs. them” attitude, which if we are supposed to be evangelizing for the greater good, I can see an epic fail happening and doing quite the opposite. For many years I hated Christians, for the very reason that I had experienced the judgmental, exclusivity and all the opposite factors this religion claims. Christians as a whole are failing Christ; we have become disciples based on our ideas. The scales are not for us to weigh in on the rights and wrongs.
Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most well known and respected leaders of modern history. He was a Hindu and the great prophet of India, despite being a Hindu, Gandhi had great admiration for Jesus and was known to quote from the Sermon on the Mount. It is no secret, Mahatma Gandhi was a huge fan of Jesus, and it is said, he read the New Testament daily. Some may know of Missionary, E. Stanley Jones, who met with Gandhi and asked him, “Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming His follower?” Gandhi replied, “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.” BINGO!
Interestingly enough, while Gandhi was studying law as a young man, he wanted to explore Christianity further, possibly convert and as entering a church was denied entry because of his appearance, he was referred to as a “Kaffir”. I am sure it is the depth of his character and spirit which did not turn him off completely from Christianity altogether.
I think of the Westboro Baptist Church, which I just cannot fathom as being an actual Christian denomination. Their hate against the USA, homosexuals, Jews, and those “Vampire Catholics”, to me is just back water redneck mentality. They consider their faith to be “Primitive Baptist & Calvinist”. Let’s just focus on one word “primitive”. Although, they have not demonstrated in a physical violent way, they certainly do not share an ounce of love in their protestations. Their whole existence is stemmed from the opposite of Christianity, which is hate. God is love and God loves EVERYONE.
My parents wanted me to have a strong Christian faith when I was growing up. When I was 11 years old, I was sent to a Dutch Reform Private School in Ottawa; I was excited to be around kids who shared my faith. Unfortunately, on my first day of school, I was told by some classmates I was going to hell. I was treated like an outcast because I wasn’t “Dutch Reform”, and there was no love for me. I started skipping school and begged my parents to let me go to the seedy public school my old friends were attending, which they allowed, THANK GOD (I say ironically).
I am a practicing Catholic. I am the first to admit that I do not understand all that is asked of us from God, but what I do know is that the Christ I worship is pure love, and if He was here today, no one would be excluded from His dinner table. I am not God, and I have no right to judge anyone, I am not more worthy of anyone and we are ALL made in God’s image. No one is less and no one is more.
Whatever your choice is in your faith or lack thereof, it should not be your “religion” which defines you, but how you treat others which matters. Name calling, typecasting, excluding, assuming, judging and fear does not come from a place of love. Remember this the next time you decide to use one’s faith or lack thereof as a reason to explain the whys of their behavior. Your reality is your reality, and you only have to answer for yourself in the end.
Peace, harmony and love x