Occasional thoughts from a young adult reveling in the messiness of life.
It saddened me a bit at first because it made me realize that the question was valid enough to require extensive research. But I cannot deny the validity of the question because so many people spread hate, proclaim judgment and even kill in the name of God. This is true of many religions, including Christianity.
To me, it seems like the Christians who make the loudest noises are the ones who are most unlike the Christ I know. …the Christ who came to show God’s love, God’s grace and God’s unlimited capacity for forgiveness. …the Christ who reached out to the marginalized, instead of judging them and pushing them further away. …the Christ who died for all of us, not just some of us.
But the thing is, and it’s something that the research confirmed, the people who are intrinsically religious don’t actually hate others. The more intrinsically religious people are actually more likely to be loving and compassionate toward others. I know this is true because I’ve personally encountered many such people from all different faiths (and I consider myself one of them).
But we’re not the ones being heard because we’re not the ones doing most of the talking.
We sit comfortably in the middle, while the extremists control the conversation. We watch passively as the haters cherry pick verses and slander religious teachings in order to embolden their own biases and to make themselves feel superior.
Perhaps we sit quietly in the middle because we don’t want to come across as fanatics and be lumped in with the hater extremists. And perhaps we do it because it seems like an insurmountable task to take control of the conversation and reshape the perception of religions and religious people in the public mind. But we must.
There is a hungry and waiting world out there that needs to hear the Good News. Our brothers and sisters are hurting because of all the hate. Some of them desperately want to believe in a God that will love them, and some believe in that God but are desperately searching for communities where they will be accepted. Some of them have lost hope all together. But we know that that God and those communities exist. So it’s up to us to bring them in. We’re the only ones who can.
But we can’t do that without rising above the noise. So I implore all of you, my friends and brothers and sisters in Christ who have been sitting in the middle, to join me in trying to reshape the conversation. Let’s get off the sidelines of this conversation and jump into the game.
Let’s join our voices and love louder than they hate.