How many of you enjoy history? I’m not the biggest fan of learning about ancient societies and civilizations. Never have been and honestly, never will. Teaching grade five has opened my opinion a bit, because I had to teach about the Middle Ages, Ancient Egypt, and other Ancient Civilizations which I grew to enjoy.
As I progress on my spiritual journey, my father who is a huge history buff, has been encouraging me to learn about the history of religion and faith. This has been my latest quest, and I have to admit, I’m actually enjoying it and it is opening my eyes to religions and affirming many of the things that have been put in my heart.
Religion really was warped by mankind. No wonder there are people who are turned off by religion. I have friends that don’t want to have anything to do with organized religion anymore for valid reasons. In our community there are many self-righteous people thinking they are better than others because of their religious beliefs. The tiny rural community I grew up was horrible! There was a huge prejudice between the Catholics and the Baptist. Now that I’m older and I look back at all the things that went on, especially with my friends who were not of the same denomination and whose parents really trashed the other religion and forbid their relationships, I’m horrified and I can’t believe this actually went on.
How can you call yourself a Christian if you think your religion is better than others? How can you have such hatred for a religion that is just trying to teach love and community? It’s astounding and it still happens today. We see it with the happenings of September 11th with the Islamics but there is a long history of religious aggression, and using religion to justify wrong doings.
In my quest to educate myself as recommended by my father, these are some of the problems that have come up with religions and being aggressive to their beliefs. It starts in ancient times, even in the Bible, when Kings of different countries would capture other countries and they would impress their beliefs on those countries.
Christianity itself was at first a persecuted religion for its first three centuries, but then once it gained more power and control, it, itself started persecuting other religions. Christianity was the one that closed the pagan temples, the philosophical temples, like Plato and other philosophers attended. They also persecuted other Christians whose beliefs were not in line with that of the established church. It was honestly crazy and barbaric.
Some had said that in the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, was the first attempt at forming a total society, which means not only political control, but complete religious and ideological control. This lead to terrible persecutions. Later on there were more wars between the Protestants and the Catholics trying to stop this control.
The 16 and 1700s this craziness persisted and we still had terrible warfare times. The Thirty Year War that happened from 1618-1648 was total religion oriented as the Protestants and Catholics continue to battle for whose religion is correct. Needless to say the Baptist-Catholic silliness that went on where I grew up is really only a repercussion of all this foolishness that happened many years ago.
Then we have to look at all the indigence religions that were scorned and prosecuted for their beliefs. India, which had a tremendously rich civilization was totally demoralized by the Christians who tried to make their religious beliefs inferior, and many people still do.
Christianity has become less and less belligerent, especially after the Referendum and the Thirty Year War, but it still continues today but not to the extreme that it used to.
In my opinion, when you are in touch with God, you don’t have this separate mindset of religion and God. You love God, you love all that is good, and if good people have different religions, then who cares? As long as people are good people trying to live good lives, it is not our place to force our beliefs on an individual. Sure it is nice to introduce them to the Bible, and to the greatness that our God is, but when you look back on the record of Christians pushing Christianity it’s almost shameful what we’ve done.
Luke 6:37 explains, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Christians don’t judge other people’s religions. Christians don’t condemn other people for believing in things they believe in and Christians forgive so that we will be forgiven.
This history was definitely an interesting venture. It’s embarrassing to think that people were treated so poorly all because of what they believed in. Thank goodness for freedom of religion, but even after that the condemning and judging didn’t cease. Hopefully people will strive to live a good life over being a religious person, because if you watch the news at all, it seems like history is repeating itself in this area and this craziness is still going on today!