Travis Erbacher seems bent on maligning all Jews, Christians, and Muslims [Womenâ€™s rights beyond Christian reach, Aug. 19 Letters, Langley Advance].
By constructing an ugly personal indictment of the worldâ€™s monolithic religions, and possibly half the community he lives in, he reveals a sad intolerance.
Christianity receives his most virulent attack, stating that our beliefs are centred on fundamental immorality, and leaves us as worms at the disposal of a tyrant.
He may not realize that his language is quite reminiscent of that used against the Jews in the lead-up to World War II.
Itâ€™s easy to criticize that which we donâ€™t understand; perhaps he should become acquainted with more than just a few handpicked passages of the Bibleâ€™s Old Testament. If I were to use select passages from the Quran out of context to judge all Muslims as terrorists, surely I would only display ignorance of and bias against that faith â€“ hardly acts of enlightenment.
It might be productive for Mr. Erbacher to talk to a Jewish scholar or Rabbi about the different genres of Hebrew literature in the centuries before Christ. He might learn how to interpret the poetry of the Psalms or the laments of Ecclesiastes, and which of the other writings were considered as literal, figurative, or allegorical.
For example, just as few Jewish scholars see the apocalyptic writings in the Talmud as wholly literal, neither do most Christians reading similar language in the book of Revelation.
Jesus often employed a traditional Hebrew method of teaching through parables, using fictional stories to convey deeper messages.
For Christians, Jesus is considered to be the ultimate expression of Godâ€™s will and His relationship to man. His teachings to love our neighbours and reach out to the poor and needy are at the heart of the message He died for, contrary to Mr. Erbacherâ€™s interpretation of our faith.
In regard to the evils committed, Jesus predicted there would be those who do such things in His name, but was clear that His message to them will be, â€œDepart from Me, I never knew you.â€
Often it was Christians standing against those misrepresenting Christâ€™s teaching who were the persecuted.
As for slavery and genocide, the teachings of Jesus far from condone any such thing. The New Testament scriptures conclude that all people are equal, including slaves; it also instructs us to love all people, even our enemies.
History reveals countless examples of Christians having active involvement in progressive movements; whether it be helping multitudes of slaves escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad, women who championed the suffragette lobby for the right to vote, African American church groups who worked with the civil rights movement, or the life-changing work done by groups like the Salvation Army.
I guess some people live up to the ideals of the Christian faith more than others.
The fact is, due to varied ethnicity, customs, or interpretation of their sacred writings, most religions, not just Christian, are a mosaic of many groups with often differing beliefs on a wide array of issues.
For example, and again contrary to Mr. Erbacher, not all Christians believe the same in regards to things like abortion or understanding of hell.
Our differences can be a healthy part of the process of growing together in faith. Itâ€™s unfortunate that the key teachings of the Christian faith â€“ love, hope, forgiveness, compassion, kindness â€“ are often missed.
People of faith are far more complicated than some choose to believe, and the world is a bigger place than Mr. Erbacherâ€™s stated version of it.
D. K. George, Langley