I remember a discussion soon after I became a Christian where I was asked “so what about all the other religions?” My reply was that they were simply mistaken. I think the remark was taken to be rather arrogant.
I read the news today. I see the conflict, anger and fear; fighting between Moslems of different sects. I see forced imposition of religious dogma; conversion to another religion punishable by death. We all know that this is not as it should be. And I am reminded of my reply.
Reason and evidence tells me there is a God, and my whole being tells me that love is our ultimate purpose. And when I find that love underpins and is at the heart of Jesus teaching I begin to see how it all fits together; how we are meant to be.
If I were God and someone from another religion was praying to me, I would not ignore them because they think I have a different name, I would not condemn them because they don’t understand my intentions for them. I would be saddened that they are misled, I would try to teach them, and I would restrain some of their actions, but I would still love them.
As a mere human trying to follow God’s purpose, I don’t hate the Muslims, or even the Westborough Baptists, but I believe they are misled and mistaken. I hate what they do, and I want them to stop. I want them to understand the truth, and find their real purpose. I want that for everyone.
If we all really understood Christ’s teaching, if we really loved God with all our heart, and loved our neighbour as ourselves, if we really were ready to forgive others and restore broken relationships we know that the world would be a better place.
That is why I write. That is why I follow Christ. That is my purpose.
What is yours?