Easter is coming. [Editor's note: this article was written on March 19, 1993.]
But there are some who consider religion dangerous to society. Hasn't it, after all, created the mind set of zealots who bomb people totally unconnected to them? Hasn't it created the machine-gun messiah from Waco? Hasn't it sponsored ideological crusades that have caused the deaths of untold numbers of people? Hasn't it been at the root of some forms of insanity? And hasn't it created a myriad of forms of civil unrest and conflict? Didn't it very recently even cause a pro-lifer to murder an abortionist doctor? So, some of the more thoughtless use these undeniable realities to argue against religion.
Why the term thoughtless?
Because it doesn't take a lot of thought to realize that men use religion for their own ends, not vice-versa. Religion doesn't cause men to go against the words of their gods to murder and mayhem. Men use religion to violate those words. So, those who blame religion for what men do are thoughtless. Put the blame where it belongs---on men who are into accomplishing their agenda at any cost to others exactly like the Bible says they will.
The Bible's picture of God and man are quite different than man's picture. Man's picture of God is that of One Who is great in power and capriciousness. Man's picture of man is that he is basicly good and earnest. The Bible's picture of God is that He is One of unbelievable love and patience. The Bible's picture of man is that he is a scheming fraud...and God loves him in spite of it.
People who use the actions of others to excuse themselves from worshiping God are greatly deluded. They think they have an excuse in the "if that's what being a Christian is, I want nothing to do with it!" But, they are making a foolish mistake. In East Texas we had vast piney woods. Pine trees grow tall in thick groves. As a result, it is easy to come upon a spindly, twisted, poor-excuse-for-a-tree, because it hasn't been able to compete successfully for nourishment and sunlight. But for a person to make that tree the standard for what a tree is, is to make a foolish error in judgment. For a standard of what a tree is, go to the redwoods of northern California. Those are impressive trees!
By the same token, those who measure Jesus Christ by one who claims to belong to Him, but is obviously runted and twisted because of the difficulties of his competing in this world, are making a grave mistake. We should decide the claims of Christianity on the basis of what Jesus was like, not on the basis of His stunted servants.
Easter is what Jesus was like. He died on Friday for men who could never deserve His love, and He arose on Sunday for proof that His love is effective in taking sin away. And He did it without a single angry word.
Will the Church see you, then, on Easter?