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Religious Wars: Could they happen to us?


Conquest of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1204
by David Aubert (1449-79)/Wikipedia/Public Domain

Peace love and harmony; isn’t that what it’s all about? I mean religion. Isn’t it supposed to be a force for good?

Do you know that people fight about religion? In history, we have had wars and forced conversions and crusades. Some of those religious wars lasted for centuries. But that was history, so we can just read about it in history books, right?

We have a problem today; we think we know how the world works, and sometimes we just don’t. For example, religion is still something to fight about, and things could explode anytime. Really. People are still ready to fight about religion, and we should be ready.

Here’s an example:

This violence happened in the English city of Leicester, recently. The two religious groups that fought were Hindus and Muslims, and the police worked hard to keep things from getting much worse.

Actually, there were three religions in this war. Hindus and Muslims fought, after India (mostly Hindu) and Pakistan (mostly Muslim) played in a cricket final. The third religion was a sport, cricket, and India won; they defeated Pakistan. Somehow, that sports victory, or loss, was the spark that lit the fire. What came after was a violent riot between two religious groups.

It is important to see that the fuel was ready to burn; the two religious groups lived near each other, and they didn’t need much of a push.

I think that’s what we need to see. Under our veneer of civilization, where are we ready to fight about religion, if we get the right spark?

We might be surprised.

There is a lesson here. I am writing as a Christian, not a Hindu or a Muslim, but we are all in danger.

Long ago, a man named Jesus told us, “the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). It’s easy to ignore those obscure words, but the man who spoke them was executed, soon after.

The world of religion and spiritual things is a violent place. People have strong opinions and rules to live by, and offenses run deep. We should know the world that we live in.

I don’t know what happened here, but at least some people were laughing:

So, is there a remedy for this social illness?

That man Jesus said something else; spiritual things are actually spiritual, and “spiritual” is not just a feel-good word.

We were told: “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” (John 15: 26) … and … “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16: 13) … and … “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses …” (Acts 1: 8)

There is much more than strong opinions and arguments in religion. There are spiritual forces that live with us, and some are not good.

This was one of the hardest lessons in my life. Religion is more than opinions and arguments in the street. If we are not changed spiritually, on the inside, we only have an argument waiting to get out.

That might seem obvious to many, but it’s a lesson that came slowly to me. From reading the news, it is clear that most religious people need to learn this lesson.

We have a choice between a new life or an old argument.

I hope you have learned this lesson too. It will make the world a better place.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Religious Wars: Could they happen to us? — OpentheWord.org | Vermont Folk Troth

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