(Freaky Friday, 08282015)
Typing this using hands connected to a brain still looking for its morning coffee rush. The post therefore should be read as a gut-reaction type of rant.
Religion can be a dangerous thing. I am not the first one to say that and I am probably not going to be the last. The issue not only has to do with the nature and essence of religion and its practices but also with the how religion itself is viewed. It can be polarizing to even those in the same camp. (Some of my fellow Christians would agree with me when I say that Christianity is a religion; many more will disagree and say some insipid thing like, “It is not a religion. It is a personal relationship with Christ” [emphasis mine]. I do not limit the polarizing to just the above example, though, since the polarizing effect can be witnessed in even similar expressions within a given religion. Ask questions like, “What is ministry?” and you will see what I mean.
Synapse switch at this point. What follows may or may not be a good segue from what came before.
A particular danger is when certain elements of a particular religion stretch the limits of their religious freedom and demand from others (meaning, anyone except those in their own camp) courtesies which they themselves are hard put to extend. Anyone who has seen the news certainly knows the most recent goings-on at the DOJ, where (if reports are to be believed) around two thousand Iglesia ni Cristo members have rallied to express their (fill in your particular synonym for “contempt” here) towards Sec. de Lima. In their eyes, her involvement in their church’s internal affairs warrants a huge rally and perhaps even minimal impairment to government vehicles.
I neither like nor dislike the justice secretary. Granted, there are things that she has done that should elicit applause from the nation. There are also things that she has done that make people, at the very least, scratch their heads in bewilderment. Her recent rendition of That’s What Friends are For is a good example. (I’m sure there are better examples of when the justice secretary made people shake their heads and wonder what in the world is coming to; singing badly certainly does not affect a nation’s well-being.) Having said that, I do stand with her regarding the INC case. Not to repeat everything that’s happened, but there is enough that has happened to warrant police, yes perhaps government, involvement. Issues of kidnapping and illegal detention have cropped up. She is merely doing her job here, folks.
I neither like nor dislike the INC. (I cannot and will not say the same about certain individual members, though.) And I am pretty much sure there are decent and godly fellows in their ranks and perhaps they too are wondering what their co-members are doing. If reports are true, the fact that many INC members joined the rally because “their ministers instructed them to” should cause any decent religious person to quake in their boots. Ministers are called to lead their members to greater heights of godliness. When ministers (and I’m using the word very inclusively here) demand from their members things which the Bible demands (e.g., holiness, love for neighbor, etc.), members are duty bound to obey. But when ministers, whether out of a sense of boredom or whatever, demand from their members things about which the Bible is silent, members should be more circumspect. Instigating people to rally is a case in point. (I mean, OK, the members have massed in front of the DOJ offices. Then what?)
The lesson is here is for any religious group or entity: We can become so full of ourselves that we fail to recognize that we live in a society where we have God-ordained checks and balances (Romans 13). Failing to recognize those checks and balances, coupled with any religion’s potential bloated sense of self-worth and self-importance, leads to anarchy.
I am sure that is dangerous.
Time to get my coffee rush now.
As usual the included picture isn’t mine.