Sunday was a lovely day for our outside church worship. An abundance of flowers colored the grounds, highlighted by the sun streaming through the clouds. Sitting amidst nature made what …
Sunday was a lovely day for our outside church worship. An abundance of flowers colored the grounds, highlighted by the sun streaming through the clouds. Sitting amidst nature made what our Pastor preached even more poignant. She teaches at Salve Regina University, and made the surprising announcement that forty percent of the young people at her college, a CATHOLIC university, do not believe in God.
I was dumbstruck at the statistic and could not fathom how anyone could NOT believe in God. However, I have the advantage of being born into a family where His/Her presence was made known on several occasions, so I have no reason to doubt. For those less fortunate than I, with no proof, it would be easy to disbelieve the existence of a Greater Power.
Many people who are non-believers have taken a look at those who are religious, and noticed that sometimes they are not very nice. Many of the most devout people are judgmental of others, not exactly “loving thy neighbor”. We experienced this ourselves so many years ago when my brother, who was deaf, blind and severely developmentally delayed, went up to get communion. The priest gave him a dirty look, grimaced with a downturned mouth and look of disgust, and reluctantly placed the Host in my brother’s outstretched hands. The priest THEN watched him walk back to his seat, along with most of the congregation, for the purpose of what: to see if he spit it out and disgraced the Host? It was humiliating, and one of the reasons I left that particular church.
Many people who do not believe in God have suffered irreparable harm at the hands of others, such as those who have been abused. Childhood abuse affects a child’s mental health forever. Is it any wonder that they do not buy the story of an all-powerful Being who can perform miracles? Where was He/She when that child was being horribly abused?
Most religions have the basic tenant of loving they neighbor. This, of course, does NOT mean love thy Caucasian neighbor. It means neighbors who are Black, Asian, Hispanic, Arabic, and other nationalities. It means not prejudging someone because of the color of his skin. Many people who do not believe in God abhor racism. They will arm themselves with a flag to protest in the streets, they will stand up for the rights of people of color, and they will socialize and have friends of different nationalities. They love thy neighbor, ALL of them.
Many non-believers look at how people who are religious treat those who are gay, lesbian and trans-gendered. Many are critical, almost hateful. Some families who are religious turn away their own children if they identify as such. This hardly fits the “love thy neighbor” aura.
The earth and global warming is a big concern for many non-believers. They see the eroding beaches, rising temperatures, extreme weather and storms around the world, and long lasting droughts. They know that the glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, and that seaside communities may be under water in the future. These people will join a crew to clean up beaches, protest at companies that spew chemicals into the river, and work to raise money to fight global warming. They really care about their earth.
Yes, it was reported that forty percent of the students at Salve Regina University do not believe in God, a statistic duplicated in many communities. However, these same students lovingly accept people of different races and nationalities. They accept individuals who are gay, lesbian or trans-gendered. They worry about global warming and take part in mitigation activities. Can people who believe in God, people who are religious and go to church, all say the same thing?
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