Monday, August 9, 2010

The topic for today: what faith is not

"There's no use arguing with me. Do you see my resolve face? You've seen it before. You know what it means." Willow Rosenberg (played by Alyson Hannigan), in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The first thing that should be obvious, but often somehow isn't: faith isn't measured by how much you hate those who do not agree with you. Hate comes from fear, and true faith is not about fear.

Extremist propaganda has always been about fear, whether it is fear of Muslims, fear of Communists, fear of blacks, fear of homosexuals, or fear of Jews.

The opening of the film "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" includes the brief disclaimer: "It's important to remember, most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror. This is not a film about them." While lip service may be given to this concept, many immediately forget it.

My ethnic heritage is Jewish. I chose to become a Christian fifteen years ago, and there are times when I wonder why. Following a refreshingly radical Jew named Yeshua can be a very different phenomenon from being part of institutionalized Christianity.

The easy path is to accept that as a born Jew, I must be a sworn enemy of anyone who follows Islam, and must assume that anyone who follows Islam wants me dead. I choose not to slide down that easy path toward hate. We are each individuals, responsible only for our own actions, not for those of our coreligionists. Hatred and terrorism do not belong exclusively to any particular faith. Each of us may choose to define ourselves as "against" someone or something else, or as "for" something. I think I'll go with "for," not "against."

1 comment:

  1. How is this post and its comments relevant to the central focus of BTX and Transforming Theology - transforming the Church so it can effectively address the common and daunting issues facing humanity?

    Absent keeping this a central focus, BTX is a waste of time, if not worse, given the purpose of Transforming Theology.