Recently we were watching a movie depicting the story of a Jewish girl in Holland during the Holocaust. Over the course of the story, she lost her entire family as well as many friends, and became a resistance fighter herself. Experiencing loss after loss, toward the end of the movie she screamed “when will it all end!?”, and that line touched something deep inside my soul.
The world is filled with so much evil; sex trafficking, abuse of children, abuse of ourselves. The list is endless. Religion seems to offer a way out, but sadly it often becomes the addiction that fuels further abuse, resulting in people who cannot love themselves and are hence incapable of loving others. People obsessed with performing sufficiently for an angry god who is watching for any little mistake, and tying heavy burdens on anyone who seeks to find god themselves. Arguments to convince people that unless you follow god exactly their way, god will be angry with you and send you to eternal punishment.
It’s all part of the reasoning that unless you convict people of their sins, you have no way to show them why they need a savior. But I think it’s much easier than that. I was able to understand the concept of evil in the world far sooner than I was able to understand the contributions I make to that evil. We can all resonate with the cry of the Jewish woman in the middle of one of the most horrific historic events the world has ever known “when will it all end?”
I remember the last words my Grandpa said to my husband and me when we visited him shortly before his death. “Keep the faith”. For many people my Grandpa’s faith wouldn’t have been enough, but he is one of my inspirations to keep trying to make sense of the whole God thing. I’ve also been watching the struggle of a middle aged husband and father in our church. He just recently died after a relatively short but intense battle with cancer, and it’s been heartbreaking to watch. But he had peace in his hope for the future for his children, as well as the hope of meeting them again someday.
Religion doesn’t really solve many of the questions and problems we face in this world. Religion certainly isn’t based on answered prayers. Natural disasters, disease and death still take their toll.
Lately I’ve been watching a show called “Little Mosque on the Prairie”, and it’s been good for me. The cast is full of a variety of characters, from practicing Muslims to fundamentalist Muslims, just like every other religion. And yet, they learn to get along with each other, and even with the Christians in their town. In the first season of this show, the clergy members of the church and the mosque spend no time condemning the other religions in town; instead they all look for the common good and build each other up.