Monday, April 10, 2006

Faith--Why Have It?

Bumper sticker spied in a parking lot at a local Best Buy: "Militant Agnostic . . . I don't know and you don't know either."

Your faith can be shaken daily, it's true. Just this past week there was the revelation of a recently discovered manuscript created in the biblical era that claimed Jesus asked Judas to betray him. Then there was the recently published medical study on recovering heart patients that found no recuperative benefits to prayer.

It's probably good that as we enter the most holy week of the Christian calendar we ask ourselves again what it means to have faith. And what it means to be a Christian.

I was raised a Catholic and raised my family as Catholics. But we're probably what the pundits will call liberal or Democrat style Catholics. We don't attend mass every Sunday.

Oh, we try to attend church often. I do like our new priest, a young always smiling gentleman with a deep baritone voice. His sermons bring to life the people of the Bible as if he knew them personally.

Yet I sometimes see what is done in the name of God and I want no part of that. The Ann Arbor News this past weekend carried a news article about a father who confronted and jostled an anti-abortion protestor--a candidate for the priesthood--who held a large sign of a mangled, aborted fetus towards him and his children.

I have seen the signs myself. They're ugly and offensive, and meant to be both. Protesters display them to motorists driving through the heart of nearby downtown Ypsilanti, the location of an abortion clinic. I'm not a fan of abortion, but I don't think it should be made illegal either. That stance probably puts me at odds with my church.

Then I see violence in the Middle East. Suicide bombers killing tens and hundreds in the name of their religious sect, seeking to become martyrs to their faith. They hope to reap some rich reward from God in the hereafter.

Why is it that religion and the church's teachings so often have us at odds with eachother. Anyone remember the song lyrics to the song "Brotherhood Week" composed by humorist Tom Lehrer decades ago?

The Protestants Hate The Catholics
The Catholics Hate The Protestants
The Moslems Hate The Hindus
And Everybody Hates the Jews

Maybe what might make things better is for people to put less faith in what God can do for them here and in the hereafter, and put more faith in what they themselves can do for their fellow man and woman now. I think that's what God would want.

19 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

Great post Dave... I agree with you on this one. I was just thinking similiar thoughts myself this morning!

2:10 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Satan does his best to sway us away from God. I think all of us have times when we are tested in our faith. We need to "wax strong" and love our God. By helping others we show our love form him. The extremists don't seem to understand God. They twist the words of the Bible or whatever text they are studying and come up with their own twisted beliefs.

Before making any judgement on the texts of Judas, you need to read them for yourself and make your own judgement.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

right on man. i don't see how holy and war relate.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

AMEN!!!

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Very well said, Dave. Bravo to you! My problem with organized religion is that the privateness of it long ago disappeared, somehow making it all everybody's business, leading to prejudice and intolerance.
I still live by my credo of, "To thine own self be true."

6:49 AM  
Blogger bornfool said...

Couldn't have siad it better, Dave.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Couldn't agree more Dave. Another thing to add is the fact some are tearing down churches in the name of progress.

When did we make it okay to tear down God's house?

I was shocked earlier this week when someone sent me an email in reguards to a Christmas story I wrote. They said they like my writing, but hated stories that told adults and children to share and to show goodwill. Go figure.

Some are dancing the mambo with diavolo (devil) and letting him lead.

Your post was great.

Stepping down off my soapbox now.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Me said...

I couldn't agree more.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

So, now you think you know what God wants, Dave? This may simply be an extention of the Wolverine superiority complex.

I suspect that the world's religions will all get along at about the same time that certain rival college teams start feeling all warm and fuzzy toward one another. Pass the matches - Hell is freezing over.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Monique said...

There is much value in fellowship through church, but it's not the criteria for salvation. Faith in Jesus is, no matter how or when or where you express it. As long as we DO express it, either through our words or our actions, I believe it pleases God.

Excellent post. Faith is a very personal thing. I wrote about my own recently.

8:35 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Yes, He would...if he existed. Until then, though, I think people ought to put religion on the back burner.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Happy Easter Dave.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

Dave,
You have written with thought and purpose and I found myself saying, "Now here is a guy who understands religion." I am all for religious freedom and love to exchange ideas and thoughts, but I have no time for anyone who believes there is only one way to salvation. Perhaps, God really loves the man or woman who thinks for themselves and discovers their own best path.

8:26 PM  
Blogger BabyGirl said...

Without Faith..who do we cry out to when the pain is too much to bear?

...I'm really curious

.....when a non-believer loses a loved one, or is so lonely that it engulfs them, or is so lost that no light shines....who do they cry out to?~~~ where do they get their comfort?~~~what entity embraces them?

I'm so thankful I have the courage to have Faith.

6:43 AM  
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