Let’s accept those with different beliefsPublished 12:00am Thursday, July 4, 2013
Christianity is based on faith. Faith is a belief in something that cannot be seen.
Atheists have a problem with faith, and if many of us Christians are their role models, who can blame them?
Recently, a New Jersey-based organization erected a monument in Florida stating the United States was not founded with God as a guide. While I disagree wholeheartedly with this notion, I am not angered at their assumptions. It doesn’t bother me that this group is standing on its beliefs.
Why? Because I know Jesus loves them. I’m certain He isn’t thrilled with their collective mindset, but I’m also certain he wouldn’t attack them out of anger.
As a matter of fact, I know He loves every single one of them as much as he loves anyone on the face of the planet.
In my opinion, hypocritical, retribution-minded Christians cause more harm than any atheist group could ever hope to stir up. And you can count me in the “hypocritical” crowd because my life does not match my faith.
If you consider yourself to be a Christian, ask yourself how often you turn the other cheek. How often do you judge the lives of others without taking the time to get to know the person? How often do you temper your anger at someone else, showing them love and mercy instead of hate and contempt, simply because Jesus told you to do so?
I firmly believe every word in the Bible. I firmly believe our comfortable way of life in the United States is due to our forefathers’ faith in God.
Look around at the architecture of our Capitol in Washington, D.C. Check out our money. God was given credit for our abundance long before any of us were born.
If you disagree with the word “comfortable” as a description of our lives in the U.S., check out the living conditions in most of the world.
The United States accounts for less than five percent of the population of this planet, yet we control more than half of its wealth.
And we are also spoiled enough to have rights — something people in Mexico, the Middle East, or just about any other place in the world would kill for. These rights were drawn up by men who feared the Lord while also fearing the creation of a king — such as in England, the country we defeated for our independence — who would rule as a supposed religious leader.
To thwart this possibility, many checks and balances were put into place. No one man could ever assume totalitarian leadership of our country.
This created our present “separation of church and state” belief. And with rights afforded to all, coupled with the prosperity of our nation, many people fell away from God to do their own thing.
We can see the moral and ethical decline every single day. The Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in public buildings. The same goes for pictures of Jesus Christ. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are fine. The Word, however, is forbidden.
But the Word lives in every believer’s heart via the Holy Spirit. We are given free will, but guided to make correct decisions, most of which go against our fleshly impulses.
And this is all because God wants us to love, not hate. He wants us to treat those who mock with compassion, not jeers. He wants us to be role models, not crowd-pleasers. He wants us to detest poor decisions, but love the people who make them.
And most of all, He wants us to be still. When we are angered, we tend to spout out and intensify the anger of others….which creates an ever-growing flame that fosters further hatred. God wants us to let Him take control without our interference.
Atheists are human beings, just like Christians. Many atheists, just like many Christians, are confused but proud to have a belief to stand on.
The difference is this: Christians have two inerrant guides, the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible. If our hearts are in the right place, we cannot hate anyone. We realize love defeats hate every single time.
And we have the faith to go against our human emotions and let the Word win hearts.
This rant certainly doesn’t suggest Christians take a back seat and allow evil to win over good. Simply stated, standing up for what you believe in requires checking human emotions and allowing God-given love to conquer hate, which it will do every single time.
Faith creates a wisdom that is based in love — and it all comes from our all-knowing Creator.
If we hate those who believe differently from us, hate is all we’ll get in return.
Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.