“HE WHO does not love does not know God; for God is love,” states the Bible. (1 John 4:8, New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible) Good religion, therefore, should promote brotherly love.
Many religions do an admirable job of caring for the sick, the elderly, and the poor. They encourage their members to apply the counsel of the apostle John, who wrote: “Suppose someone has enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then God’s love is not living in that person. My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring.”
What happens, though, when nations go to war? Should God’s command to “love thy neighbour as thyself” be applied in times of peace but be suspended when a politician or a king chooses to fight a neighbor nation?
Jesus said: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35, New International Version) As you answer the following questions, ask yourself, ‘Do members of this religion display love toward all men at all times not only with words but also with actions?’
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: Jesus commanded his disciples: “I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
When soldiers came to arrest Jesus, the apostle Peter drew a weapon to defend him. However, Jesus said: “Put your sword back in its place. All who use swords will be killed with swords.”
The apostle John wrote: “You can tell God’s children from the devil’s children, because those who belong to the devil refuse to do right or to love each other. From the beginning you were told that we must love each other. Don’t be like Cain, who belonged to the devil and murdered his own brother.”
QUESTION: Does this religion encourage its members to participate in warfare?
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: After witnessing Jesus’ ability to perform miracles, some wanted him to become involved in local politics. His response? “Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”
When Jesus was arrested and falsely accused of being a political agitator, he replied: “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
When praying to God about the disciples, Jesus said: “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.”
QUESTION: Does this religion follow Jesus’ example and avoid becoming involved in politics, even if that means that its members will be hated by some politicians?
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: When the first uncircumcised non-Jews became Christians, the apostle Peter remarked: “God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.”
Writing to first-century Christians, James said: “My friends, if you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you won’t treat some people better than others. Suppose a rich person wearing fancy clothes and a gold ring comes to one of your meetings. And suppose a poor person dressed in worn-out clothes also comes. You must not give the best seat to the one in fancy clothes and tell the one who is poor to stand at the side or sit on the floor. That is the same as saying that some people are better than others, and you would be acting like a crooked judge.”
QUESTION: Does this religion teach that all people are equal in God’s sight and that members of the religion should not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race or economic standing?
Which religion teaches its members to overcome political, racial, and economic barriers that divide people?