Saturday, February 25, 2006

Understanding, Close-mindedness, or Piety?

A friend of mine posts daily reflections on the Gospel. I'm not one to go in for regular or lengthy discourses on religion, but there is frequently wisdom in his comments. In the Judeo-Christian-Muslim triad that exists in the modern world, with all three (I think) in agreement that the origins of the faiths are the same, and given the recent combination of violence in the Muslim world over depictions of Muhammed, and sectarian violence in Iraq seemingly erupting, to me there seems to be wisdom to be gained from the following story, used to shed light on the situation from Mark 2,18-22.

"A traditional Hebrew story has it that Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw coming towards him an old man tired and dirty from traveling. Abraham sprang up and invited the old man in, washed his feet, and gave him food and drink. The old man immediately began eating without saying a blessing. So Abraham asked him, “Don’t you worship the Lord?” The old man replied, “I worship only fire and no other god.” On hearing this, Abraham became angry, grabbed the old man and threw him out into the cold and dark night. Later that night God called his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, “I threw him out because he does not worship you.” God answered, “I have put up with that man all these eighty years. Could you not put up with him for just one night?” Religious people sometimes have a problem accepting differences in other people. The disciples of John and the Pharisees in today’s gospel are a good example."

I wonder if there wouldn't be dozens of cities around the world that were more peaceful today if they had considered this story over the past month, instead of the violence they've been committing--either through design or through negligence.

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