Religion not always helpful
In my second response to a letter by Mr. G. Friesen, I will focus on just one of the many interesting claims he makes in his March 8 letter. I must narrow my focus because he covers so much territory that a proper response would require far more than the 500 word limit our editor prefers.
Mr. Friesen seems to be saying that because Christianity is the one true religion, because Jesus is alive and because Jesus made unique moral statements, we could live in some of sort of heaven on Earth if only we would do as Jesus instructed. Mr. Friesen believes that if we would just follow his God we could rid ourselves of school shootings, all crime, sexually transmitted infections and more.
How wonderful if it were true!
Mr. Friesen’s claims are wrong for several reasons. To begin with, there is no evidence Jesus Christ even existed, much less that he is alive today. These are faith claims corroborated by the New Testament. To say that Jesus is alive because the Bible says so is to say nothing different from what the holy books of other religions claim as their god-given truths.
What Mr. Friesen calls “Christ’s claims” are not at all exclusive – all of the examples Mr. Friesen lists are found in many other codes, holy books and across most cultures. The Chinese, the ancient Greeks and most indigenous cultures (to name just a few examples) include the same moral teachings that Mr. Friesen appropriates for his religion only.
As for the notion that we could live in a crime-free paradise if only we would practice Mr. Friesen’s much vaunted “Christian values,” I will point out that he ignores both history and his own Bible. In the Christian hegemony of the Middle Ages we have already seen what a Christian theocracy is like – misogyny, pogroms, crusades and institutionalized graft and corruption. And what about the Bible’s other moral injunctions that Mr. Friesen, presumably, ignores – accept slavery, willingly make yourself a eunuch, kill homosexuals and do not allow women to speak?
Christopher Hitchens observed that religion makes everything worse. I want to disagree with Hitchens, but Mr. Friesen is making it hard.