By Chris Odinaka Nwedo
The enormous contemporary challenge is the contentment of men and women very determined to do horrendous evil at any cost in the cover of religion. Was the sane the world not literally dumbfounded when violent protests erupted spontaneously in almost all the Muslim states across the continents over a claim that a film made in America disparaged the person of Prophet Mohammed and Islam? By the time the protest simmered the grounds were littered with corpses of the innocent butchered because their co-infidels made a film that allegedly disparaged a prophet. The innocent and the vulnerable hacked have always been victims of unknown sin. The intensity and the regularities of violence on pretexts of this nature made life in some societies unlivable.
The confounding fact is that about 90% of the Muslims that took part in the protests that terminated scores of lives and maimed others never watched the film or had any knowledge of anyone that watched it. However, the hard line religious extremists, the merchants of death, whose agenda is creating a world subordinated by pain and sorrow had successful days using their pitiable proxies to spread destruction and grief. In many cases the zealots’ intent on violence and destruction came unswerving from leaving the Mosque to their chosen places of destruction, inspired into frenzy by irreverent dictators spewing ungodly invectives.
The leader of al Qaeda, late Ayman al-Zawahiri, nevertheless, used the film as an opportunity to enjoin fellow Muslims to wage holy war against the United States, West and Israel. He was full of praises for demonstrators who breached the US Embassy in Cairo and attackers who bombed the US embassy in Benghazi, describing them as ‘honest and zealous’. The alleged cause of the destructive violence the anti-Islam film titled ”Innocence of Muslims” is no more than an excuse to justify the Islamic thugs’ violence and destruction. Those Muslim extremists who are behind it all have an agenda. This is demonstrated by the fact that at each embassy attacked, a black flag of jihad were raised.1 For an observer, there were things behind the façades of the violent demonstration. At least outrageous burning of Israeli flags in Dhaka Bangladesh and several hundred protesters who stormed the German Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, burning a car parked behind its gates and trash cans, proved significantly that the protesters went beyond the anger of a film ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. In some places the protesters chanted ‘Obama, Obama, we are all Osama’s’. Libya closed its air space over Benghazi airport temporarily because of heavy anti-aircraft fire by Islamists aiming at U.S. reconnaissance drones flying over the city. Meanwhile, symbols of America and U.S. embassies were targeted around the globe in a fourth day of protest after deadly raid on the American consulate in Libya.
These denigrating attitudes gave credence to the hypothesis that the world is better devoid of religion and its many hypocrites. It however needs to be made obvious that it is not the God found in quality worship that makes man evil, it is evil self-deceit in man that operates behind the façade of religion. ‘Man’s vision is impeded by the veil of false ego — lust, anger, greed, delusive attachment, pride, envy, and stubborn mindedness in their numerous variations. It is this false ego that gives rise to the feeling of “I, me, mine, you”, which, in turn, instigates false alliances and conflicts. Thus, an ego-being is never a religious person, although he pretends to be one.2 Man has always demonstrated that in his evil nature, he is devoid of virtues such as selfless love, compassion, service, wisdom, knowledge, contentment, mercy, forgiveness, etc. Instead, his hear is filled with the filth of demoniac instincts such as hate, jealousy, falsehood, fraud, immense greed, deceit, selfishness, illusion, corruption, crookedness, deception, sinful mistakes and confusion. In this state of dense ignorance, he sees everyone false. He is angry within and without. With his false alliances and conflicts, he then goes on contradicting the world around him. All of man’s conflicts are extensions of his corruption.3
The malfeasance of intolerable cruelties of many religious fanatics is not only perplexing but stands in the gap for monstrous ideologues who have interminably battled to destroy notion of God. Religion is Thomas Edison’s claptrap, George Santayana’s great fairy tales of conscience and an excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet for Napoleon Bonaparte. Many ‘self-governed’ men of knowledge branded religion an encumbrance which man has not been clever enough to abandon for his own good. Sigmund Freud compared religion to childhood neurosis, and for Friedrich Nietzsche God is dead, God is consistently dead. ‘And we have killed him’. Nietzsche considered it stupefying for anyone to believe in the power of God that is certainly dead. He was so sure of God’s death. Consequently, Christian religion for him is the most fatal seductive lie that has yet existed. Friedrich Nietzsche’s hatred for belief in God was played out in his repulsion for Christianity. He called Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct for revenge for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean, and the one mortal blemish of mankind.
For Karl Marx ‘religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature… a protest against real suffering… it is the opium of the people… the illusory sun which revolves around man for as long as he does not evolve around himself. Wallace accentuated Marx’s anti theistic slant by describing religion as a set of rituals, rationalized by myth, which mobilizes supernatural powers for the purpose of achieving or preventing transformations of state in man or nature.4 Spiro saw religion as an institution consisting of culturally patterned interaction with culturally postulated superhuman beings’. For sections of socialists ’belief in supernatural powers, a god and a spirit world arose out of people’s lack of understanding of the universe and their own particular limited environment. This was coupled with their own curiosity, desires and needs. Humans have been the creator and inventor of God in their own image. In fact, it’s not a case of God creating man but of man creating God. God and all gods exist in people’s minds only.5
According to the above thesis, ‘from childhood people are mentally conditioned into religious beliefs, superstitions and the like. And as people sense a lack of control in an increasingly complex and alienating world, they are more susceptible to beliefs in the supernatural whether religion, magic, dreams, creatures from other planets or whatever. People who have religious beliefs replace faith for reason and logic.6 Socialists argue that we live in a harsh, competitive society where everyone’s hand is turned against everyone else. And the harsher the reality the more fantastic the solace offered by religion. It is no accident that early Christianity spread amongst the slaves of the Roman Empire, nor that in Africa and Asia where poverty is so harsh, we have the devout religious zealots. The religious view posits that workers are incapable of solving the problems that confront them. The consolations religion offer are one beyond the grave. The belief that human beings should adapt a slavish attitude, be humble, be grateful and not attempt to abolish the ills that afflict them are fundamentally religious.7
The bible is not spared in this campaign of derogation by socialists who dismissed it as a human creation and pitied those who accept it word for word as God’s inspiration. The socialists claim that bible is inconsistent and self-contradicting. For them in fact, bible ‘would stand no favour had it to face a court of law. It is a book of lies. Today numbers of ‘educated’ and ‘artistic’ people are employed to blend truth and lies in whatever proportion they calculate most effective in misleading the public.8 Socialists see human beings as animal species that succeeded in adapting the natural world to meet their needs. They view with wonder and astonishment man’s magnificent accomplishments in the fields of science, medicine, agriculture and advanced technology. They placed faith not in gods and supernatural forces, but in the intelligence and knowledge of the working class. And rationalized that the transformation of society will not be brought about by the action of gods, but by real men and women determined to end capitalism and establish socialism.9 The evolutionist account of the universe held dogmatically to the hypothesis that the simplest living organisms spontaneously generated themselves, impulsively, blindly or randomly and man, other forms of life evolved from this process and therefore rejected and refused to believe God theory. It is a fact that if you do not want to believe in God, you never will. There can be no scientific proof to make God more evident convincingly to unbelievers simply because God is not material, He is spiritual and infinite. God cannot exist as part of this universe, He cannot be composed of matter, and cannot even exist in time. God does not exist within this universe. This universe exists within God.10
Lamentably, this negation of the notion of God and religion is made complicated by disparaging characteristics of many believers who have discernibly refused to live in genuine search to encounter God. Many believers tended not to have reasonably understood the will of God for which religion was revealed. Consequently, religious attitude of many believers can modestly be described as perverse insanity. This has given rise to artificial socio-economic and political demarcations, segregations, repressions, prejudices, pathological hatred and brutal intolerance. As the world history reveals to us, over sixty million people perished in the two world wars. Millions more have been killed in the hundreds of other conflicts that engulfed virtually every country in the past. Presently, the bloodshed continues in the name of religion and God throughout the world. To fulfill their own selfish motives and agenda, the mentally blind religious fanatics and bigots are turning many countries into killing fields.11 The religious refused by attitudes and dispositions to disprove the derogations and vain postulation of religious skeptics and atheists.
Religious skeptics wanted empirically concrete signs of God’s existence but even when the concretely evidential signs were negated, many believers failed to live their faith positive enough to challenge the obstinacy since a proof of anything 100 percent is empirically impossible. A proof of anything to degree that everyone accepts is unrealistic. Proof is a tricky subject. All proofs have to rely on at least several assumptions, postulations, which cannot themselves be proven. So a person who demands hard proofs is doomed to failure. The empirically evident proof for skeptics of God rises and falls on seeing God and touching him. Atheism as an ideology tends to suggest that the only empirically evident proof that God does not exist is that he is not, a total negation. But what, if, God for the sake allowing the worldly-wise to hoodwink themselves, refuses to be seen and touched, could it still amount to his absolute negation? Although there may be no logic robust enough to exculpate the unbelieving fate of those struggling to eliminate the notion of God the pharisaic propensities of believers are colluding. Many believers painfully failed to do religion a favour by just being real with God. The steams of the anti-God are amplified by false and scandalous lives of some capricious believers. Tell me what testimonies does a believer whose behavior falls short of common rationality give about God? Such a believer is a scorch, a bullet with which unbelievers shoot at the notion of God to bring it down. The believer caricatures and locks-up the windows of opportunities of proving the validity of the faith. By living in absolute negation of faith, you deny God because you have nothing useful any more to affirm him. By lacks of quality behavior some atheists and religious skeptics are encouraged to firmly cleave to their disbelieving stance because of lack of proof that many believers are convinced that it is fair and just to believe that God exists and is active.
I intend not to blame believers for having not handed God to sceptics as tangible empirical justification for his existence. I meant that many believers renege the obligation of living the light, that is, living in consciousness that God is not only existing but actively in action. A common contradiction is that not all who believe in God know him. Belief in God does not mean, necessarily, you know God, and this a major problem that threatens to destroy the pillars of any religion. Believing in God is not the same as knowing God, Satan believes in God after all, and where did that lands him? Those who just believe go with the flow, and have mere religiosity. Consequently, Jesus reminded the believers that they are salt for the earth. And he rhetorically asked if salt loses its taste, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled under peoples’ feet. You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; he puts it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may not only believe but give praise to your Father in heaven.
Summarily, Jesus enjoined the believers to be perfect, just as their heavenly Father is perfect. We are commanded to love one another, our neighbors and enemies alike – and who can show the love apart from knowing God? Who can tolerate, forgive and show compassion apart from knowing Him regardless of one’s feelings on the subject? We are commanded to be peacemakers, but how can we call for war and ruthlessly slaughter the innocent if we know God? We are commanded to help the poor and needy, the orphans and widows. We are commanded to be stewards of the earth and redeem the land. And if we truly know God, would not we obey? 12
The massacres of believers by fellow believers were in very strong terms deprecated by the Son of God who unequivocally condemned pretenders who mask their love for unspeakable criminalities with gabs of religion. Jesus announced blessing for the pure in heart for they shall see God, the peacemakers for they shall be recognized as children of God, the merciful for they shall have mercy shown them. According to Jesus the axe is being laid to the root of the trees, so that any tree failing to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire.
It is astonishing that the love for atrocities, ungodly intolerance and lack of compassion sterilized the prospect of fruitful behaviour by many of those who branded themselves children of God. This attitude in variety of ways made futile the capacity to spread the light and love to all outside the fold. Unending love, compassion, and mercy, unequivocal equality, peace, tender compassion to the land and nature, caring for the poor and defenseless are not secular humanist ideas, liberal or conservative ideas, libertarian or totalitarian ideas, but the commands of our Lord and God. Those who knew and served God changed the world for the better. Those who believed in God fought tooth and nail against their own brothers crusading for change.13 The believers are those that really knew and obey the Living God, they are the ones taking His words seriously, they are ones seeing God’s image in both his neighbours and in every stranger. They are those who perceive the infinitude of God’s love and affection for man as a challenge to love and care for one another.
Many people believe in God but do not see anything sinful in cheating and destroying evidence, ruthlessly crushing others by whatever means just to get on, while many solemnly declare that God commanded them to slaughter the innocent whether young or old, man or women in dispassionate ruthlessness, no mercy. Many are men of God in name and men of Lucifer in behaviour. The presumption, however, is not that God’s existence depends on the behaviour of sincere or the fake believers, for it was because He is that He caused all believers, sceptics and atheists to exist. God is the creator of all. It is repeatedly clear that God limitlessly proves Himself in the order and nature of existence. This however makes it logical to belief and illogical not to. It is often true that people do not belief because they just do not want to submit to any moral constraint or remonstrations of conscience.
The order and nature of existence in all practicality speak lucidly of an active designer. It is this active designer who proved himself all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present and all positive, that believers call God in diverse tongues and traced by means of religion. But the call of Jesus for the believers to maintain the light they are to world was to make the proof of God more empirical. Christianity demands morality and teaches morality not because it is a religion of rules, but because the rules are there to discipline those who belief to achieve the Christ like state to which they are called. At the same time morality is the fruit of true religion. The truly moral person has stopped simply obeying rules and begins to live and love the way of life that the rules recommend. This is being truly religious and truly moral. To be truly moral is to finally be transformed by goodness into goodness.14
According Paul Kurtz, a sceptic in religion is not dogmatic, nor does he or she reject religious claims a priori; he or she is simply unable to accept the case for God unless it is supported by adequate evidence. The burden of proof he said lies upon theists to provide cogent reasons and evidence for their belief that God exists. Faith by itself is hardly sufficient. The appeal to faith to support one’s creed for Kurtz is irrational in its pretentious claim based on the “will to believe.” If it were acceptable to argue in this way, then anyone would be entitled to believe whatever he or she fancied.15 In his opinion, the sceptic thus requires evidence and reasons for a hypothesis or belief before it is accepted. Always open to inquiry, sceptical inquirers are prepared to change their beliefs in the light of new evidence or arguments. Sceptical inquirers are willing to suspend judgment about questions for which there is insufficient evidence. Sceptics are in that sense genuinely agnostic, in that they view the question as still open, though they remain unbelievers in proposals for which they think theists offer insufficient evidence and invalid arguments.16 For me, the challenge is not meeting the standards set by those challenging compelling ‘obligation’ to recognize the historicity of God, but in the believers’ unwillingness to ask themselves, ‘are we justified by the evidence we have given to agnostics about God by the variety of lives we live? Are we really the light that illuminates the reality of God to the distrustful world? The Jews who were regarded as the harbingers of authentic light of faith had treacherous history of horrendous treatment to Jesus, and his disciples after him.
As the faith in God was spoken of, and extraordinary signs demonstrated by followers of Jesus, some un scrupulous Jews according to scripture move from place to place inciting revolt against the gospel and organizing riots to turn proselytes away from acceptance the gospel. In the Acts of apostles as in many pages of the New Testament we read series of schemes, conspiracies and strategic maneuverings to obliterate followers of Christ, their crimes were that they were unpretentious about their faithfulness to God. The faithfulness and true dedication of the ‘ordinary’ men to God threatened to extinction the pretense of the professional ‘men of God’, the high priests, the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Scribes. The ordinary men had the effrontery to challenge the leaders of the faith for losing their taste as the salt. In one of the plots to murder Paul, ‘a group of Jews got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty of them in the conspiracy. They went to the leading priests and elders and told them, we have bound ourselves with an oath to eat nothing until we have killed Paul. So you and the high council should ask the commander to bring Paul back to the council again. Pretend you want to examine his case more fully. We will kill him on the way.17
This is a typical traitorous scheme against a fellow believer all in the interest of same God. The history has inexhaustible chronicles of treacherous religious crusades and wars that continued till today with greater frequency, intensity and cruelty. It is reprehensible that many believers have turned hypocrites and hold tenaciously to religion and rejecting the light indispensable to it. It is the light that illuminates the way and the will of God for his creature. By means of our relationship with God, He, condescends to reveal himself to us and changes us by means of his word we have received. It is the word that reminds us who we are, and humbles us as we live and love one another because he loved us first. The light brightens up God’s humbling love and compassion for his people. Religion whose author and finisher is God imposes obligation of love and care for one another, the way He loves us. This is because love is paid only by love alone.
In Christianity, communion with God implies spiritual perfection of the highest possible kind, it is the participation in the supernatural life of grace as the children of God. This spiritual perfection, bringing with it perfect happiness, is realized in part at least in the present life of pain and disappointment, and fully attained in the life to come.18 In many religious groups, obligation to encounter God seems to be imperative due to the recognition of God’s sovereignty, and consequently of His strict right to the subjection and worship of man. “To this must also be added the love of God for His own sake, inasmuch as He is the infinitely perfect Being, in whom truth, beauty, and goodness are realized in their highest possible degree. Still it is not the recognition of dependence on God that constitutes the very essence of religion, indispensable as it is. This means that the desire of happiness and perfection is not the only motive that prompts man to do homage to God.19 Nevertheless, it is worrisome that religion sometimes can become false, empty, sham, a shell of what it is meant to be. This however accounts for hypocritical pretenses that gave religious cynics the ammunition to war against fundamental doctrine in religion, the existence of God. For instance, how can the devotees of merciful and compassionate God obstinately destroy one another in violence or wars? “Traditional religions have too often waged wars of intolerance not only against other religions or ideologies that dispute the legitimacy of their divine revelations but even against sects that are mere variants of the same religion for instance, Catholic versus Protestant, Shiite versus Sunni.20
In criticisms of the religious, Kurtz noted that religions claim to speak in the name of God, yet bloodshed, tyranny, and untold horrors have often been justified on behalf of holy creeds. For Kurtz, believers have all too often opposed human progress: the abolition of slavery, the liberation of women, the extension of equal rights to transgendered people and gays, the expansion of democracy and human rights. The Qur’an does not tolerate dissent, freedom of conscience, or the right to unbelief. It denies the rights for women. It exhorts jihad, holy war against infidels.21 But for me, however, these are true weaknesses in the people who belief, these limitations are traced to natural flaws of man, nevertheless, reality of God’s existence and the regular obligation to recognize God and worship him do not need to depend on man’s perfection. Jesus in fact conducted a major critique of religion throughout his ministry. The Sermon on the Mount criticized not the irreligious, but the religious. He relentlessly condemned legalism, self-righteousness, bigotry, love of power and wealth. It should not surprise us that the religious people put Jesus to death. The Bible gives us tools for analysis and critique of religiously supported injustice from within the faith. In Christianity, the shortcomings of the church can be understood historically as the imperfect adoption and practice of the principles of the Gospel.22 No doubt, human limitations have relative human impact. For instance, the individual and collective flaws among Christians compounded the failure of the contemporary Christians to compete with first century Christians who were filled with the Holy Spirit and moved by love for one another and thus their message thrilled thousands that responded to the gospel. They proved their commitment by giving every ounce of talent and treasure to God through Christ. On the contrary, we have today emergency of self-style Christians and leaders of personal folks who are moral relativists and have smartly twisted the gospel message to fit properly into their own philosophy of life, yet many unsuspecting Christians choose to be easy victims of the deceptive ideology.
The Spirit-led boldness of the first-century believers, who through suffering and in the face of death took every opportunity to tell of their crucified and risen Lord was of little impact to the present day believers of every rank and colours. But the sceptics should be conscious of the fact that it has always been the nature and character of man that distorts the quality of the relationship with God. In the earliest days of Christianity when the passion or zeal was at its very apex and believers rapidly multiplying, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers’ mistreatment of their widows by discriminating against them in the daily distribution of food.23 If the claims by the Greeks were unable to stop the progress of the evangelism and unable to discourage the power of God operating through the early Christians, the malfeasance of the present day believers cannot besmirch the reality of God and worship which is entirely his. We know that God out of his love and compassion has worked through the sinful and the holy to prove his affection for man. What is validly true and evident is that God is and man accesses him by means of religious acts. God is love and demands love among those who are devoted to him. He demanded that we should love one another as he loves us. “Religion ultimately is meant to change our hearts, and make us live in the service of God and our neighbours, recognizing the imperative to be totally grateful to God’s grace, mercy and generousity. God’s love for us can only be matched by or responded to with much generousity as we have to offer.24 Bible tells us to love our neighbours, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.”25
Religion answers to a deeply felt need in the heart of man, the need for love and care. If God kept safe, loved and protected the saint and the sinner, he deliberately sets the standard the believers must maintain. He provided in abundance also to those who deny, profane, blaspheme or despise him, while his reward for all who repose on him is unequal. In parable of darnel, Jesus compared the kingdom of Heaven to a farmer who sowed not only good but high quality seeds in his field. While at night when everybody was asleep his enemy surreptitiously sneaked into farm, sowed hazardous weeds all among the wheat, and disappeared. When the wheat sprouted and ripened, the weeds appeared as well. In bewilderment, the servants went to farmer and asked him, ‘sir was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where do the weeds come from?” In reply the farmer screamed this is a work of an enemy. And the servants responded, ‘‘sir, do you want us to go and destroy all dangerous weeds immediately’? But the farmer replied, ‘No, because as you attempt pulling out the weeds you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers, first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for inferno, then gather the wheat into my barn.
This parable condemns absolutely the years of atrocities, the zealous anger of the religious, the criminal massacre of the innocent, the wild destructions caused by ‘believers’ slaughtering both parents and the children, weak and the strong, the saints and the sinners in the felonious pretense to appease God.
Today as in the past, misguided religious men and women have destroyed more innocent children of God than the alleged enemies of God. Where is God’s commandment for love and compassion? Are the daily bomb assaults by disoriented religious fundamentalists defending the religion, Islam not outrageous? What of the abhorrence, diatribes and resentful incitements also by other religious groups? There are many more powerful bombs detonated in market places, mosques and other worship centres than in locations considered the habitats of God’s transgressors. Since September 11, 2001 attacks targeted at the infidels decapitated estimated 3000 innocent people in United States of America, attacks for similar motives have slaughtered triple the number. In the end, it became the violent religious people that actively defame God than defend him. In the criminal passion to contain heretics, Rachel had to weep broken-heartedly for her many innocent children crushed devoid of compassion in the vainglorious attempt to placate God. “The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.26
In Afghanistan, Pakistani, Nigeria, Somalia and Iraq mostly, mosques have been, and are daily bombed on Fridays during prayer by fellow believers just to prove to the governments that it can be done. The abhorrent massacres that have become routine in these religiously puritanical enclaves have not been carried out against Christians, Hindus or Confucius profaning Islam but between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. The endless tussle for religious supremacies have resulted in Sunni bombing Shiite mosques and Shiite, Sunni mosques with the result that on Fridays emergence health services struggle to attend to mosques filled with the dead or people fatally wounded by bomb attacks. Blake is attributed to saying that Puritanism was an honourable mood; it was a noble fad. In other words, it was a highly creditable mistake.
Today, for the same compassionate God, drunken religious people cause pain, tears and blood to flow like endless sea. It is bewildering enough that only the news of a film disparaging Prophet Mohammed in September 2012 sets the world ablaze with anger and frenzied destructions that failed to save the innocents and properties of values. Truly, it is neither moral, justifiably, nor civilization to belittle religious faith of the other, but it is immoral, unjustifiable and crude if not satanic to murder the innocent. It is tempting to ask, if Prophet Mohammed is in Paradise as many believe, does he need his honour to be defended by killing innocent people? Or does he need blood and tears to maintain his position in paradise as God’s chosen? My uninformed guess is that the answer should be no. Because, it is logical to think that the Prophet will be sad and ashamed that God’s children are daily massacred and properties of value destroyed in his honour by some groups of hypocritical, disorderly and vicious followers. I mean people who have no reason to take as standard the alleged uprightness of the Prophet.
Jesus Christ made uprightness, sincerity and compassion preconditions determining those approved by God. At a point Jesus cautioned his followers that if their uprightness does not go beyond the pretenses of the ungodly, the Scribes and Pharisees, they will remain unacceptable to God. He said to them, you have heard how it was said to our ancestors, ‘you shall not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you, anyone who is angry with a brother will answer for it before the court; anyone who calls a brother “fool” will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and anyone who calls him “traitor” will answer for it in hell fire. In an attempt to re-stress the imperatives of mercy, tolerance and love, Jesus said, give to anyone who asks you, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away. ‘You have heard how it was said, you will love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike. ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits. “It is not anyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven”.
Man’s encounter with God through religion responds effectively to individual man’s question, who am I, why am I not and above all, why are there others like me. And it is only the people of clean disposition that can truly live in constant witness to love and tenderness of God for which all came to be. “Hence we find that religion in its outward worship is to a large extent a social function. The chief rites are public rites, performed in the name, and for the benefit, of the whole community. It is by social action that religious worship is maintained and preserved.27 Only in fellowship does one develop mental and moral faculties. The assumption therefore is that a genuine religious man is one full of the spirit of God, one led by God’s active force such that such a person symbolizes Godly qualities such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. These are the virtues that characterize truly a religious person. A religious person should be God-minded, one disposed to be led by God. “Such qualities as love, kindness and goodness should be particularly evident in the way he treats those who are considered lowly members of the society.28 The predominant characteristics of the religious are hope, joy, confidence, love, patience, humility, the purpose of amendment, and aspiration towards high ideals. All these are the natural accompaniments of the persuasion that through religion man lives in friendly communion with God’, and the neighbours.
- See Film is just an excuse for Muslim mobs’ orgy of violence posted by kafircrusaders September 15, 2012
- Religious Fanaticism Its Evil Facehttp://www.gurbani.org/articles/webart114.htm
- Religious Fanaticism Kills in Uganda Socialist party of Great Britain @worldsocialism.org/spgb/education/depth-articles/politics-and-conflict/religious-fanaticism-kills-Uganda
- SeeReligious Fanaticism Kills in Uganda Socialist party of Great Britain, op.cit.
- Is there God? Quotation missing
- Religious Fanaticism Its Evil Face op. cit.
- Knowing God, Not Just Believing in Him
- Fr. Dwight Longenecker (2011) ‘Morality without Religion’? in Patheos)
- Paul Kurtz (2012),’Why I Am a Sceptic about Religious Claims’ in beyond atheism beyond agnosticism secular humanism in council for secular humanism online date July 30, 2012
- Act of the apostles chapter 23
- New advent catholic encyclopedia of religion
- Paul Kurtz (2012), op.cit.
- (quotation missing).
- Acts of apostles chapter 6
- Angelo Geiger (2010) May 18 Homily: St Felix and humility online September 15th 2010
- ILN, 7/16/10
- ILN 1-3-20
- New advent catholic encyclopedia religion
- The Watchtower magazine August 1, 2007 p.5