Another old blog post edited and reposted here for your enjoyment!
I ran across an article about the Shroud of Turin. Apparently, a new study in Italy suggests that the Shroud may in fact not be a medieval fake as the last study suggested. It doesn’t mean it is, in fact, the burial cloth of Christ. It also doesn’t mean that it isn’t the burial cloth of Christ. The study just says that it is from the first century, fitting the Scriptural timeline. Science can’t prove that fact one way or another, which is where faith comes in. The article was well written and balanced, and the scientists who did the research also made it a point to say it comes down to faith.
What bothered me the most was the comments at the end of the article. Why is it that some of those who don’t believe have to be so hateful to those who do? As one poster put it, what does it hurt anyone that someone believes? Why the name calling and derision?
Those in disbelief really make me wonder about their disbelief. I mean by definition you can’t hate something you don’t believe. To hate it you have to believe it exists.
I understand that there are religious people of all faiths that are pushy as hell with their specific belief system. There are also those who profess not to believe and are equally as pushy with their disbelief. I wish those who were would stop and think about what they are doing. Speaking as a Christian, as is the only viewpoint I can speak from, when other “Christians” speak and act in a way that is counterproductive: hatefully (as in Westboro Baptist Church); pushy or exclusive (only we are going to Heaven); it not only puts others off, but it makes us all look bad. Who doesn’t hear “Muslim” and think even for a second “terrorist”? Unfair characterization? Possibly and that’s exactly my point.
I have friends of different faiths: Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Agnostic and Atheist. Some have proven to me that we can “coexist” without pushing our respective belief systems on each other. Some have proved they can’t, and have been told to disappear from my life. As for me, I could push my non-Christian friends about their beliefs, pepper them with the Biblical verses to back me up and all it would do is send them running in the other direction. First, those who don’t believe don’t put stock in my Scripture so what’s the use in using it as proof? To them it’s just fiction. To others is just obnoxious. It certainly isn’t how I would want someone to treat me. I try, as best I can, to be a good example of what Christ says we should be: loving, helpful, tolerant (per Merriam-Webster: sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own)… and when I say tolerant I don’t mean to say that I am happily accepting of their differing beliefs, just that I allow it. Christ commands that of each of us. He never turned anyone away and reached out to everyone – sinner, self-righteous, non-Jewish and sick.
And it’s not the non-believers that are always the obnoxious ones. I was reading someting about Christopher Hitchins, and some of the most hateful rhetoric was spewed there by professed Christians. “He’s buring in Hell” was the most heard/read, usually spoken with such glee it made my stomach turn. Really? How do you know that? Yes, Hitchins was an atheist, but how do you know what happened to him at the moment of his death? How do any of us know?
I believe that God loves all His children, no matter their sex, race, belief system (or lack of one), age, or sexual orientation. God is a parent, and as such He would do everything to help the children (all humans) He loves, so why wouldn’t He give us a choice at the moment we die to believe and be with Him? We can still make the choice, but faced with Him – the ultimate proof – who would say no?
I also believe that the more we learn about other faiths, the more we learn about ourselves. The more we know, the less we fear and the easier it is to get along with everyone. So people, please, be educated before you open your mouths!
No matter your beliefs, remember that what others believe really doesn’t and shouldn’t affect how you. But showing a nasty streak to those who believe differently makes you look small and petty. So stop it.