Midland Daily News, April 14, 2002
As I reflect on the world situation, several thoughts come to mind and they all turn to God, so I will begin there. So much of human endeavor has been directed toward advocating one notion of God or having God on their side, did it ever occur to people caught up in their battle for God that perhaps their notion of God is distorted?
I grew up with an understanding of an avenging and punishing God, who was willing to drop me into the pits of hell for the slightest infraction. I had nightmares over that frightening possibility. In defense I concluded that God didn't really care, that God was a distant God, one who set the world in motion and it is up to us mortals to cope with the vagaries of nature and this distant God.
In the last ten years or so I have come to realize that my understanding of God came from my religious upbringing and was very distorted. The God of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures both speak of a loving, caring, and present God if we but tune into that presence. (Although I am not a scholar of other religious scriptures, it is my understanding that all major religions, especially and including Islam, which has the same roots as the Jews and Christians, profess a similar belief in a God of love.) Where are we humans going wrong?
It seems to me the problem stems from religious leaders and parents who continue to proclaim a God of their making instead of making themselves aware of the God of love who is Master of all and is revealed to us in all kinds of ways. While theologians and others write extensively about God and even "define" God in books of instruction, the only real "definition" is Mystery. God is ultimate Mystery. As in all mysteries, there is much unraveling to do, the quest of a lifetime.
What does all this have to do
with the world situation? Well, our President is said to be an upstanding
and yet he is waging war and speaking of expanding that war. The
Israelis and Palestinians believe in this God of love, too
and yet they are
waging war against each other. Osama bin Laden and his network are waging war
In the midst of our Civil War, one of Lincoln's advisors said to Lincoln that the Union had God on their side; Lincoln responded by saying that he was praying that the Union was on God's side! He wasnt so sure God was on their side.
At the national and local level, too, we say we believe and yet we criticize, condemn, and look down on those who don't believe the way we do. We get so tied to our personal religious beliefs that we can't see that our neighbor, whether he be Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or even atheist, is foremost a child of God and deserves respect. If we only believed this, I think it would create a climate of dialog and conversation that would improve our society and culture, not tear us apart.
I understand that the offer was made by the Taliban in the wake of September 11 to capture and turn over Osama bin Laden to an international Islamic court. Wouldn't that have been far better than the revenge and retaliation that we are wreaking on the world today? Is the American way the only way to a just world?
We mourn, and rightfully so, the
thousands who died on September 11 and our hearts reach out to the survivors of
that tragic day. Yet, every month 4,300 children die in
Please do not read this as in any
way giving aid and comfort to the enemy. I strongly support bringing Osama bin
Laden and his followers to justice for what they did on September 11 and at
other times in the last decade or so. I am merely trying to put this in a broader
perspective that just might lead to a winning solution for the world, not just