A link showed up in my email this morning: There’s No Hate Like Christian Love. Provocative, I thought, but damned if it isn’t bang-on, and something that I’ve been thinking (if not actually saying) for decades. Curious, I clicked. The tone was a bit harsh and strident, the language blunt, and the generalizations sweeping and overstated. But I don’t think he’s wrong: I think he’s dead right.
My friends of faith (and I have at least a few) will not, I think, argue with the essential message there: Bible-thumping makes good street theatre, but it’s a crap basis for public policy and not “religion” — as a person of faith might understand it — at all. It stands principle on its head, so that “Love thy neighbor” becomes, “My neighbor must love me.” If Jake next door doesn’t love me as I love myself: well, that’s intolerable.
Someone recently said to me that religion is what’s left when God has left the building. I think that’s about as perfect a distillation as there can be. “Moreover,” she said, “God was never in a building.”
I could go on about this but I don’t see the need, except to say this: It’s not all people of faith, by any means; it is (and here my own generalization sweeps wide) the ones who proclaim their faith most loudly. There is no zealot like a convert; and the fanatic is always harboring a secret doubt. They should listen more, most of all to their secret inner voices that they work so hard to suppress.
Dialog (like charity, I suppose) begins at home.