Is it fear? Or is it faith?

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For several hours today, the Israeli government completely shut down some of the sites held as most sacred by the Islamic faith. It was the first such closure since 1967, and it was in reaction to the shooting and wounding of Yehuda Glick, a man who many have considered one of the most extreme among Zionist activists. The man suspected of the shooting was quickly killed by Israeli police.

Today has been a bad day for religion.

When a faith-based government closes off access to a place of worship for those of another faith, it brings all of our worst images of religion to the fore: Religion is the cause of war. Religion is an instrument of oppression. Religion is violent. Perhaps we have even felt this way ourselves. When we see faith manipulated for political purposes so often, it’s hard not to be cynical.
But the thing is, the faith that so often makes the headlines is not really faith. When people are moved to control one another, that’s not faith; that’s fear. When people need to get in your face with their beliefs, that’s not faith; that’s fear. Fear is that little voice in the back of your mind that keeps whispering to you about being weak, about how important it is to be in control, to win. Faith doesn’t need to win. Faith doesn’t need to prove anything. God doesn’t need to prove anything.

God doesn’t need to be legislated into existence or defended with military might.

Today has been a bad day for religion. But for God it’s just another day of loving us despite ourselves.

2 thoughts on “Is it fear? Or is it faith?

  1. Dear Pastor Laura , I really admire the spirit of your church. If religious organizations are not proactive in reducing human suffering what are they good for ? I hope your “flock” will look into Kiva as a way of maximizing the good your windfall can do . Kiva is a micro loan organization that enables people to obtain money they need to build a better life. Since this a loan not a gift your congregation could “recycle” this money over and over helping countless people all over the world. If you send me your email address I will send you a Kiva card that you can use to make your first loan. Just the other day I was telling my daughter the world might be better off without organized religion in view of the strife related to religious beliefs . Maybe , in your case at least, I was wrong. you can reach me at Lotek7@aol.com. Jim

  2. Hi Jim, WE LOVE KIVA!! Several people have given their gifts there. What a wonderful organization and the recycling effect is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you for writing. And I know what you’re saying about religious institutions being more institutional than proactive. We are so easily bound by fear. Weird, since the most frequent command in the entire Bible is “Do not be afraid”! Thank you so much for writing!
    Laura

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