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It's Time for A Spiritual Revolution

If we need any more evidence of what's wrong with religion, today's news headlines provide us with plenty.

* Michael Schiavo spoke on the Today Show about his decision to allow his brain-damaged wife, Terri, to die, according to her own wishes. Good Christian people were so outraged at this violation of the sixth commandment that some of them threatened to kill his children.

* Abdul Rahman, the Afghan man who converted from Islam to Christianity, was sentenced to death by an Islamic court for his beliefs. Muslims state that anyone who abandons his Islamic faith is a traitor and should be killed.

* Pope Benedict XVI recently created a new group of cardinals. These men were referred to repeatedly as "princes of the church." Compare this image with that of Jesus kneeling before his disciples, a towel around his waist, to wash their feet.

* Michael Baigent, co-author of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," has just released a new book entitled "The Jesus Papers." It expands on his theory that Christianity is an historical distortion of the facts about the life of Jesus. It shares the same line of thought as "The DaVinci Code." When you ask the good Christians who condemn these books whether they have read them or not, they will freely admit that they have not. When pressed for a reason, they will tell you that the books are inspired by the devil.

My family and I were in Washington DC some years ago when "The Last Temptation of Christ" premiered. As we stood in line waiting to get into the theater, we were hounded by religious zealots who handed us literature and shouted that we were under the influence of evil if we persisted in seeing the movie. When I asked if they had seen it, they recoiled in shock and said, "Of course not!"

These examples indicate the combination of politics and ignorance which influences so much of religious behavior today.

* The fact that there are still people who are willing to kill others because they do not share their religious beliefs makes us realize that we have not moved very far beyond the mentality of the crusades and the Inquisition.

* The idea of hierarchy in the church, with ordinary lay people at the bottom of the pecking order, shows a far greater interest in power and status than in humbly sharing the love of Christ.

* When we fear ideas that challenge our faith, we clearly indicate that our belief system is not based on truth but on tradition. That is, our view of God is encapsulated in an ancient theological bubble, and if that bubble is pricked at any point, the whole thing will explode. This is not faith; it is superstition. Any faith that cannot be examined by logic cannot be defended rationally.

Religion still seems to be responsible for many of the difficulties between people and nations. It has become so closely identified with politics and tradition that the essential elements of love, unity and humility before God have become lost. It's time for a spiritual revolution.

Posted 3-28-06

Copyright: John W. Sloat 2006