There are people who have very strong anti-religious and anti-faith messages. Not only are they questioning aspects of religion or faith, they are also saying even the idea, or practice, of a religion is in fact, dangerous and the cause of evil.
Let me be the first person to point out that much evil has been done in the name of a god or religion. In fact, many religions, belief systems, or ideologies are not peaceful at their core. We all should be appalled and fight together against evils done for any reason, not just religious ones. However, can you make a blanket statement that all religion, faith, or belief is evil? Those thoughts are certainly hailed as truth by some but does it stand up to the facts? In an attempt to come to conclusions I decided to look around my own community.
I went looking for the people who have been poisoned, are practicing evil, or perhaps people who were in some sort of immediate danger because of religion. However, what I found was a few churches who were holding services this coming Sunday (for those wanting to attend). Then I discovered a few senior teas and dinners happening. I also came across a place working to help drug addicts and alcoholics get cleaned up and find freedom. Then there is a church running a youth centre (which is open to people of every faith, or none, or sexual orientation). There are even several other organizations helping our community who were started by Christians. Individuals who’s practices are in fact called dangerous.
To be blunt, if belief in a god is dangerous according to some people, I am practicing something evil. As a person of faith, I am told by critics I cannot think critically and could be a potential threat. I’m told what I believe is not just untruth, they are in fact, dangerous myths. Your grandmother, who you thought was just trying to live out her life being a good Christian lady, being nice to her family and neighbors, going to her senior tea every Wednesday – well it turns out her practices and beliefs are dangerous and evil too.
To accept this sounds ridiculous. However, it is the implication of what is being said. It is being sold as truth when it’s not. The truth is the vast majority of Christian people, and many other faiths, are just regular people, trying to live out their lives the best they can. They have hopes, dreams, they want the best for others, they love.
Every day I see people of faith, and many without, do great things for others. I have personally witnessed people who say God has increased their love for others, sacrificially give of their time, money, and abilities to help others. I have visited countries, missions, and orphanages and have met people who are giving their entire lives to help the poor of the world. This is not evil – it’s incredibly good.
This week I did not find a bunch of examples of evil taking place in the name of God, or by people of faith in my community. In the past I have heard of some examples, so it has happened, apparently. I also know that there are places in the world today where people are being persecuted, killed, and mistreated for many reasons, including religious ones which truly is wrong. All our fights should be against extremism, and those who would use religion, force, intimidation, ideologies, or poverty to control others. However, to simply blame the failings of evil men on if they have a level of belief a deity is a stretch.
To imply religion is the root of all evil is incredibly simplistic. Why do I say this? Because every time I meet a true Christ follower, someone full of the love, compassion, and mercy of Jesus, I see something beautiful. I see someone who does not hate, whose thoughts are not about destroying others. I encourage you to look around your own community. Go out and find those who are helping others. Go visit a church, or look around your own church. Search online and you can read stories of millions of people and thousands of Christian organizations who are giving their lives to help others around the world. Ask yourself – are these people dangerous? Are you?
This is what should set Christianity apart from everything else. At the core of our faith is the sacrifice of Jesus. It is love. As those who follow Christ we are to be known first by our love for one another. If this is truly how we live, all arguments calling us anything else just don’t make sense. In the end, I don’t believe your grandmother is evil (well unless you had a mean one). Neither is her faith.