we christians are wont to claim that christianity is the only true religion and quick to point out what we view as absurdities in other religions. how often do we examine our own religion in the same way we examine other religions or analyze the beliefs of our own expression of christianity in the same we analyze the beliefs of other variants of christianity? if we put ourselves in the place of a hindu looking at christianity as an outsider, what would we point out as problems with christian belief?
how can we believe in a god who creates creatures with certain desires and then punishes them for acting on those desires? how can we believe in a god that insists that we follow the teachings of a "holy" book that is full of contradictions and how do we know which of those contradictory teachings are right? how can we believe in a god that commands us to overpopulate the world? how can we believe in a god that becomes angry and destroys what that god created? how can we believe in a god that visits terrible suffering on us and expects us to accept that as the will of a loving god? how can we believe in a god that "saves" some to live in eternal bliss and condemns others to eternal suffering without regard to the virtues of either the saved or the damned? how can we believe in a god that sanctions the descendants of abraham and sarah to murder thousands of innocents in the process of conquering a small corner of the middle east? how can we believe in a god that creates us with rational minds and then expects us to accept the irrational on faith?
this list could continue, and we christians need to examine our religion as non-christians would. so much of the world's suffering is caused by our inability to see that some of the basic tenets of our religion are indefensible when held up to the light of reason. to insist on irrational belief, on blind faith, is to deny what is the defining characteristic of human nature. a true God expects us to use our minds, to question, to sort through that which is reasonable and that which is unreasonable.
may we not waste time defending the indefensible. may we never fear to ask questions or to challenge conventional beliefs. may we not place our faith in beliefs that make no sense, but may we instead use our minds to search for truth and follow that path wherever it leads us. shalom.