Why I Think Religion is More Important Than I Thought it Was

Often the term Biblical literalism is used as a pejorative to describe or ridicule the interpretative approaches of fundamentalist or evangelical Christians. It is my view that this is a perfect illustration of the weakness of the human condition in its approach to religion: any religion. All faith begins at the beginning, and it is only people who see a need to change anything. The minute this happens division is inevitable which, in turn brings said beliefs into disrepute causing unnecessary and damaging separation within a church. A skeptic who had recognized such cracks in the various versions of the Christian faith (I can’t remember who) had once put a sign outside of a particular church which read ‘Important if true’. This overt and understandable ridicule stems from the internal self destruction, almost masochistic treatment of an individual faith or ethos. Once the ‘club’ spawns splinter factions there is no turning back leaving any belief system open to examination, even infantile analysis, comparisons, and its relevance in a ‘modern’ world. (A stupid notion since every age has been and will be modern). The influence of any faith within a society can only be true to itself if those within agree on the fundamentals. If not then the foundations begin to rock and one may as well begin the process of writing a new story for the faithless to believe that might suit their lifestyle. (This has already happened with the various texts within original translations). Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are sometimes referred to as the “Abrahamic religions” because of the ancestral role that Abraham plays in their holy books. In both the Jewish tradition and the Quran, he is referred to as “our Father”. Jews, Christians, and Muslims consider him father of the people of Israel. For Jews and Christians this is through his son Isaac, by his wife Sarah; for Muslims, he is a prophet of Islam and the ancestor of Muhammad through his other son Ishmael, born to him by Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar. Abraham was the tenth generation from Noah and the twentieth from Adam. He was originally named Abram, and his father’s name was Terah; he had two brothers, Nahor and Haran, wife was Sarah, and he was the uncle of Lot. He was sent by God from his home in Haran to take possession of the land of Canaan. In Canaan, Abraham entered into a covenant with God: in exchange for recognition of Yahweh as his God, Abraham would be blessed with innumerable progeny and the land would belong to his descendants. God’s promise to Abraham that through his offspring all the nations of the world would come to be blessed is interpreted in the Christian tradition as a reference particularly to the Christian Church and its mission to evangelise the entire world. A fundamental Christian might be a Nun or a Monk, but it certainly doesn’t make them a killer, bomb-maker or destroyer of lives. Why then does our society use the word ‘fundamental’ in such a dangerous and pejorative fashion? Muslim fundamentalism is a good thing. However, a terrorist hiding behind the cloak of any of the Abrahamic faiths is nothing but a liar, a fraud and a political coward who uses religion, any religion,(as have so many despots throughout history) as a handy peg on which to hang their bloody coat. However, the mere fact that they’re able so to do is surely a sign that the original religious teachings have become so diluted, even misinterpreted that anyone is able to usurp selected texts to suit an evil end. This is not what God wanted. Remember, all true Abrahamic faiths believe in love, peace, forgiveness, understanding, empathy and witness. You need the eyes of a child to see it: that’s harder than you think!

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