Atheists flood the media with their unapologetic hatred of religion. Scientists discuss what they consider to be the urgent need to eradicate religion. Are they on the right track? If all religions were false and there were no God, it might seem reasonable to eliminate religion.
But what if there is a God? What if there are people who rightly respect God — a true religion?
One form of worship stands out from all other religions. It was established by Jesus Christ and his apostles, but it is not represented by what Christendom has practiced for centuries. The first Christians did not take sides in political issues. This is in harmony with the neutral stand that Jesus himself took. He firmly refused offers to become a political ruler, (Matthew 4:8-10; John 6:15). He even rebuked his disciples for wanting to use violent means to prevent his arrest, (Matthew 26:51,52; Luke 22:49-51; John 18: 10, 11).
Clearly, Jesus would not get involved with the political and military structures of his day. His disciples followed the same pattern. Early Christians believed in nonviolence and most refused to join the army and fight. The teachings of Jesus and his apostles emphasized love of neighbor, including strangers and those of different ethnic backgrounds and races. This religion was indeed a force for peace.
But Christianity became contaminated by the divisive force of philosophy, tradition and nationalism. Roman Emperor Constantine’s conversion led to the militarization of the Christian movement — no longer guided by the compassionate teachings of Christ, but rather spearheaded by the emperor’s goals of political and geographical conquest. A counterfeit version of Christianity was born and thrives today.
RALPH T. CROSLEY, Adairsville