Posted by: forfreedomalone | 17/09/2010

Did you hear the one about…………..?

“Have you heard the one about the Scotsman, the Englishman and the Irishman?”, so begins many an old joke in which two of the three; usually the Scotsman and the Englishman; will express more or less main stream views on some subject and the Irishman; byword the world over for ‘stupid’; will interject hidden wisdom and wit and show the other two to be the ones who are missing the real point. So I felt it was yesterday with pieces I read on the visit of the Pope to the UK.

This could be entitled “Did you hear the one about the Protestant, the Catholic and the Atheist?”, it is, however, no joke.
The Protestant writer was incensed that the Pope should visit Scotland and be received by the Queen there. He felt that this indicated an adherence to Catholicism as the religion of the country, which horrified him. His focus was on the doctrinal differences between the Protestant and Catholic Churches. Receiving the Pope as a Head of State was giving our writer serious cause for concern about the stability of the remains of J. Knox Esq. “Birling” was mentioned.
He wrote, for some pages, an intellectual debate on theology and when I reached the end I was impressed by his ability to put forth the point that the Catholic Church was heretical, nae demonic, and the Pope, the earthly instrument of evils too vile to mention.
Grudgingly he had to agree that Protestants find common ground with Catholics on the issues of abortion and homosexuality and must fight these great evils with “the preaching of the word”.

 The Catholic wrote in a totally different vein, as one would expect. He was buoyed up by the reception the Pope received. The elevation to “Head of State” was an acknowledgement of the importance of the Pope and his teachings in the fallen world. Catholics would start to return to Church and the opportunity would be afforded the clergy to re-establish its slant on the Bible. He waxed lyrical about Biblical teaching on various subjects, quoted chapter and verse and rejoiced that the wayward world was at last seeing the error of its ways and reaching out to “true religion” for help.
By the end of this piece I was again impressed by the force of his argument and the thoughtful manner of its presentation.

The atheist, naturally, was not interested in theological debate, he was more concerned about the abuse of children and the enforcing of faith of any kind. He expressed resentment at the implication that “only the religious can be good”
and felt that man should have reached a stage of development where he ” leave[s]myths and legends behind him and move[s] forward towards the wonders of science and nature.”
Again I was impressed by his eloquent argument for the rejection of religion altogether. He raised questions the other ignored; questions which are more important to faith than either of the other two raised.

So who is right?
Well, I suppose that depends on whether you want to debate, about religion or God. All three writers were debating about religion but believe they are talking about God. All three were making intellectual points about what they believe. All three were using their minds to put forth their point. All three were completely free do to just what they did, put forth their opinions.
Unfortunately, this only gives us a debate. I have been a judge at many debates and I love to hear the verbal fencing as the two sides attempt to convince you of their points; but this cannot work when we are talking about God.

God is love. Love is felt, it cannot be debated into existence nor out of it. Love is from the heart not the head, it is the most powerful force on earth.
Religion is an intellectualising of God and it produces one of the; if not the; most destructive forces on earth. It is the antithesis of love.

Should we reject religion in favour of science? No. Science becomes a religion in its own right; it is an intellectual practice and, like religion, those who adhere rigidly, to its tenets, seek to proselytise with the same vigor as those who adhere to the tenets of religion.
Science is a wonderful thing; it explores the depth and complexity of the amazing world in which we live; but it is no more a ‘felt’ reality than religion.

The world does not need more use of the ‘head’, it needs more use of the ‘heart’. We do not need more thinking, we need less. We are crying out for connection and compassion and we are met with considered argument. If we believe in God, then we should shut our mouths and live like we know Him. If we do not believe then we should be allowed to live as we choose without condemnation from others.

Love is patient, kind, long suffering, it doesn’t boast, it is not arrogant or rude, it doesn’t insist on its own way nor become irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at the suffering of others, it never ends.
Love does no wrong to any being.
Love is the fulfilling of the law.
Love is of God and those who love are known to God.
Love does not need to be defended.
Love cannot be rammed down the throats of others.
Love will not change the world by reasoning but by responding.

So where is the love?
I see more of it in “the world” than I do in “the Church”. The day is coming when many will cry “Lord, Lord” and He will say “Who are you, I don’t know you?” Why? Because they don’t know Him. They have become legalistic Scribes and Pharisees who heap heavy burdens on the backs of the people but do nothing to help them. They live in the mind where they are immune to the suffering of the world around them. They have laws to cover every situation but they are incapable of responding with love to any situation. They are more concerned with pointing out ‘fault’ in others, creating rifts and divisions, than in healing.

Reject religion with all your heart, but do not reject God; do not condemn Him on the basis of the acts of man. He is love and if you are not seeing love in the actions and words of those  around you, you are not seeing God; if you are seeing love, you are seeing God.

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