Saturday, January 9, 2010

You Must Believe: Part 2- See No Evil

"What you're doing is dangerous, not only to you but to your children." -A response from a local pastor on a conversation concerning my interest in Islam.

As Christians, how does it look to others when we say we follow a loving way of life while we (as a whole) continue to cling to hateful and bigoted beliefs? We say we follow the words of Jesus "love thy neighbor" but to whom and to what lengths does this Love reach? As Christians, how does it look when we fail to stand up and call out injustice and evil when we see it? Or does this depend on the person's allegiance to Christ? Christianity, at least in the States, has taken on the mantle of moral superiority with its Judeo-Christian values. Yet the title alone is worthless without action. Ignorance coupled with fear acts as a protective bubble against the outside world, yet the outside world is becoming exponentially accessible and we can no longer hide from it, we can no longer claim to be compassionate if we (Christians) fail to act, look away, and even participate unjustly against our fellow man. Nor can Mainstream Christianity in America feign ignorance any longer while we watch new houses of worship being opened by "our enemies" and sit idly by as over 1 Billion of the world's population go hungry. We have access to information and resources, yet we lack the compassion to act. As long as we fear the other, the unknown, we will continue to keep our eyes shut hoping the problem will go away or distract ourselves by more "important" issues (like gay marriage). Hardly ever do we point at ourselves and say "the problem originates within me". We reach for the blindfold and swing at every other target except for ourselves.

The local pastor who stated the opening quote is an exceptional preacher at a great church my wife and I used to attend in Murfreesboro. My wife was troubled by the news that I seriously considered converting to Islam during the summer of 2008 and we went to our pastor for advice in handling an interfaith marriage. Not only did he not know a single thing about Islam (he asked me what century the Prophet Muhammad lived) he had never before in his life had to deal with an interfaith couple. The danger he referenced was not that Islam was evil (though he may privately believe it is) but he feared for my soul and the souls of my children. To the pastor, Christianity is THE WAY to God, and he could not see, nor care to see, any other way to the Divine. He considered Islam evil because to him there is no other way of life outside of Christianity as the ultimate symbol of love. The main difference between our views on Christianity is on the exclusive vice grip on Truth. I have chosen to look beyond any one particular religion in seeking to be a compassionate person.

I believe it is the choice to look past our man-made horizons,including the self-imposed limits found in religion, which leads us to the Unnameable. When we, as humans, try to implement the teaching 'love thy neighbor' we must ask ourselves how much do we allow ourselves to love? As much as the Church says we should love? As much as the Bible says we should love? Should we not love more than what is asked of us? Should we not remove our blindfolds and embrace the other, the unknown, the stranger? If it is ignorance which keeps us from truly loving others may we seek understanding. If it is fear which keeps us in ignorance, then may we seek the strength to break through the shade of Fear and melt into the eternal warmth of universal Love.

1 comment:

Don said...

Great post! I firmly believe that we will never find peace in the dogma, doctrines, or theology of any one specific religion, including of course, Christianity. I feel it is ours to find the way to the Source; to find a relationship with the Unnameable. More and more I see the path leads fully through LOVE.

Post a Comment