This Thing Called Religion

I am Christian and Catholic, born and bred. I believe in God, I believe Jesus is the son of God, and I believe in the salvation of the cross that we receive through the Holy Spirit.

But what exactly does all of this mean?

A few weeks ago, the cover of the Charlie Hebdo anniversary issue had people smarting; a Vatican paper condemned it, and people discussed it. While I didn’t read french, I decided to take a look at the cover and see what all the fuss was all about, so I followed the link to a story on the Guardian, and there it was, the supposed image of God with a rifle. Maybe I should have been offended as well, but the funny thing was that I wasn’t.

When I looked at the cover, I did not find it offensive. What I saw was not a mockery of God, but a mockery of the idea that God needs us humans to fight his battles for him; a mockery of the idea that he needs us to strap our faiths with automatic rifles and derogatory words that spark hate. The Bible is filled with verses and stories about God’s power, so it is rather funny that any one human would think that God needs them to save the world for him. I believe with my whole heart that what God is really concerned about is the saving of our souls, and this, unfortunately, is the one area that humanity is failing in; people need to get out of the way and let God do his work in us, and through us, we don’t need to do his work for him.

Perhaps this was not what the cover was meant to inspire, perhaps it was truly an image mocking all faiths, but we must remember that if our faiths are mocked, they are mocked because we of the faith have made a mockery of them ourselves. We say we love God and do his will, yet our lives are an opposite reflection of what God is: Love. We condemn too easily, and we are so focused on highlighting the things that make us different that we forget the thing that makes us the same: we are humans made in the image of God and according to his likeness. We use our faiths as excuses to do terrible things, and expect a pat on the back for unimaginable cruelties.

I think we need to revisit the idea of what it truly means to be faithful. I do not have the answers; like almost everyone else (I think) I struggle with my faith; in this life it is really hard not to. 

I believe most religions have missed the way and are no longer a reflection of our faiths. Our religions, which should be the practice of acts that bring us closer to God (Love), have not made us better like they should, rather they have become barrages of dogmas and doctrines that have left us divided, faithless, deprecating, and cruel.

We must ask ourselves, is cruelty what it means to be faithful? Can we claim to love God and yet commit unkind acts in his name? Can we kill and say that we killed for God? Are we, by this, then calling God a murderer? Can we do all of these and truly say that we fear God? These are the questions I saw when I looked at the cover. I wonder what others see.

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