Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Where have all the Good Men Gone?

A few decades ago it was clearly understood that to vandalize a pagan temple or to potty-mouth other religious figures such as Mohammed or the Buddha would be an unChristian act. Among believers I know and count as my brothers and sisters in the faith this would still be a valid assumption.

This recent news about a US sniper shooting up a copy of the Qur'an made headlines even as President Bush apologized for it. I'm not suggesting that the sniper did this out of misplaced Christian piety; indeed, we do not know if he is Christian at all. However this behaviour has become so commonplace and it is business as usual to verbally abuse another religion or religious personality in our world that noone thinks much about it. Christianity itself has become a victim of this abuse and continues to be, by varied elements as adherents of other faiths, dishonest pseudo-historians, arrogant skeptics and even well-meaning apologists for other worldviews. Christian leaders themselves have been less than charitable when talking about Hindu beliefs, often borne out of ignorance than a desire to offend.

At the very least in the house of God shouldn't there be a greater example of charity and righteousness? It is also incredible to see people calling themselves Christian but holding themselves to pitiable moral standards- umpteen numbers of pop singers who make suggestive dance videos, get pregnant out of wedlock and are so potty-mouthed it would make a sailor blush! Point these out and they will take refuge in that most quoted of all verses: "Judge not that ye be not judged."

Incredible that they would resort to a verse meant for reflection on one's own sinful nature to criticize others of God's family who wish for better standards among His children!

We keep moralizing about why Christianity is attacked by its detractors so viciously, why our political activism fails and worse yet, fails to convince those who we seek to convince; why our society is declining in intellect, reasoning, morality and the shared meanings of the past. Perhaps God is asking us by means of so many scandals in the church and so many attacks by the self-appointed crusaders of secularism that a major house-cleaning is in order in the house of God. Perhaps before we choose to engage others in political dialogue we may as well look inside ourselves and work with God for a greater morality. Hopefully the others will then see our light and be attracted to it.

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