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Why Does Religion Need Enemies?  (11/16/2009) 

Religious Tug of War

The mission of religion (to be right - to know) is many times fueled and reinforced by the idea of having enemies. If we can make someone else wrong, by default we become right and justified in our crusade to conquer all the wrong. If there is someone opposing my God or my take on God, then there is a need to rally everyone around the cause of defeating the opposition and dispelling their take on God. The idea of an enemy can unify the disunified in any religion or sect. Enemies, conjured or real, can serve to foster and support the growth of camaraderie between people of the same religion who have previously found themselves separated by disagreements over doctrine.


If the greatest command from the Christ is for us to love God, ourselves and our neighbor, how do we justify having enemies and feeling the need to fight? Terms like my God arise out of doctrine and individual human interpretations of God and are then sustained by the ego of the I know. Why is it that we feel a sense of synergy when we feel we must defend ourselves, our faith, our religion, our know? Why do we find it easier to rally together against an outsider or perceived enemy than around a greater mandate like loving our neighbor as ourselves?


If God is love, but we prefer war, conflict and hate - do we even know God? Do we even want to? Could we still sense the essence and importance of our mission without someone or something to conquer? What if there were no opposition? What if the devil were defeated or didn't even exist as many have imagined? What would we do then? Is the presence and threat of an enemy necessary for agreement?


Our blood or our enemy's blood need not be spilled to validate love and prove allegiance to God. All the blood that needed to be spilled was already shed at Calvary. When we derive our sense of self and our service to God by a negative such as war, we are basing our view of God on the negative. But, as we know, God is love. Our motivation must turn from darkness to light, from negative to positive, from fear to love.


Quote of the Week

"Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death."  ~Author Unknown


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