(Lower profile right now having had open heart surgery – will return to the Apostle John and Revelation soon.)
July 4 – Appreciate who we are as a people who live in liberty
Religious wars swept across Europe and through the Orient (Eastern Mediterranean) and into the Near East (India-China) from the 1600s on. Many lasted over 100 years.
It was mostly Christians fighting Christians. Some began to read the Bible, newly in print, and then fought off institutional and government religion with their inherent control, corruption, and allegiance to oppressive governments. Nations fought other nations endlessly, using religion as a handy excuse and tool. It’s still done today.
Those who didn’t swear allegiance to the official religion of the government were simply killed. When a new nationalist effort seized power they brought their religion with them. Or invented their own (Henry 8th.). In that world, you might be the privileged and protected one day, then tomorrow you might be lost in the mud and blood of war. This was still the age of conquest.
Cornerstones of our democracy
We don’t all have to like each other, we don’t have to accept each other’s lifestyles, celebrations, religions, differences, etc. But we have forged a system in which we can live with each other in peace, tolerance, and even respect. And other nations have admired it, copied it, and live with it. It’s a major accomplishment.
Do you have any idea how difficult this is to do? Well, look at Europe in the 1600-1700s – it was impossible. Look at Russia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan …. these nations are ruled by force or religious edict. Boundaries between nations and conflicting groups are forced by guns.
Don’t tear down what this nation of people built. Respect and preserve it. Take time to appreciate it.
The standard of belief and conduct for Christianity is love, and it’s not an option or usurped by some idea about “Law.” Our conduct is a matter of conscience for each of us to wrestle with. If in doubt, apply love.
There is no law more important than that of our own conscience. If we violate our conscience we condemn ourselves, and we find it harder to forgive ourselves than others.
If I’ve challenged your thinking, I’ve done my job.
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Our answer is God. God’s answer is us. Together we make the world better.