Friday, 5 February 2010

Religion's Responsibility

I read this story with a heavy heart.  At times like this I can almost side with Richard Dawkins when he talks about how religion can be evil.  My faith is one of life in all its fullness (John 10:10), one of forgiveness.  And yet I have to recognise that there is this punitive side to religion, that there are strands in most religions (I want to write all, but...) that "know" what is right and think that God wants them to punish those who disagree - for their own good you realise - and there is an internal logic to this.  If you believe that by misbehaving people are putting their immortal soul at risk then logically it makes sense to "save" them (funny how it always seems to be other people who end up suffering).

I want to use this tragic event to look at Christian behaviour - how do we treat people who behave differently from the way that we think that our faith demands?  Lets face it we all do it - our boundaries of what is acceptable may differ, but somewhere we will have a boundary that some people are over.  Do we condemn them, or do we love them, and leave them to God?

I know that some will argue that the loving thing to do is to persuade them to change their mind - unfortunately, more often than not the methods used aren't likely to be terribly helpful - people tend not to react to abuse and threats by agreeing with those threatening them.

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