Religion of peace?

Is there any such thing? Of what value would such a religion be? Peace between whom? Under what conditions? Does claiming that your religion is one of peace make you, or the deity you worship, righteous? Let’s define some terms. What is a religion? My operational definition is: A system of doctrines about and methods of worshipping a deity, controlling power or God. While there is more to it, that definition will get us started.

I know the most about 4 major religions–Christianity, Judaism, Islam and secular materialism–and little about Hinduism, Buddhism or others, so I will confine myself to speaking about those 4. All 4 have scriptures (though the scripture of secular materialism is not published as such but is more pervasive than the other scriptures, at least in modern nations that feature advertising). The scriptures all have lots of passages that, if taken out of context, can appear to promote both peace and war, kindness and brutality, and the unregenerate human heart can unselfconsciously make a preferred meaning out of anything. As Isaiah 64:6 says, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.”

Therefore, I am not going to select quotes from scriptures to promote a particular view. What I will do is ask hard questions, like those above. What is peace? Is it merely the absence of explicit conflict? Since the human mind and heart are polluted with selfishness, wishful thinking, anger and other detritus of our thwarted desires or innate sinfulness or painful experiences (depending upon your theory of human evil), the absence of explicit conflict may be no more than a covering of ash on coals that are about to flare up again.

Why even value peace? Why not promote war and conflict? I value peace because my Lord Jesus Christ, when dying a most hideous death for the sake of those who hated Him, while being ridiculed and reviled, even though He had the power to destroy His tormentors, instead called to His father in heaven, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Why do you value peace?

True peace between human beings requires actions that clean the heart: admitting guilt and asking for forgiveness for wrongs we have committed, forgiving wrongs that have been committed against us, putting the welfare of others before our own desires. How does your religion help? What kind of example does your religion, in the person of the deity you worship, give you? Can your worship clean your heart? Jesus did so at the cross. In the words of the song My Worth Is Not In What I Own, “my value fixed my ransom paid, at the cross.” Listen to it here. getty worth

Author: iamcurmudgeon

When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.

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