November 7–Faith: Weapon or Way

There is a way to hold one’s faith as a weapon.  This is a weapon one uses against others–others whom one deems to be wrong (about anything), who are different (in any way), who seem to be a threat (in any way).  This use of faith judges, dismisses, and presumes, creating in its wake violence of which one often is never aware.

The Buddha: It is easy to see the faults of others but difficult to see one’s own. A man winnows his neighbor’s faults like chaff but conceals his own as a cunning gambler conceals his die.

Jesus taught: Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. . . Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the great log in your own? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out that splinter in your eye,” when you cannot see the great log in your own? Hypocrite! Take the log out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter in your brother’s eyes. (Luke 6:37-41)

Allah said : “O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” [49:12]

Life-giving faith is not a weapon.  It is a way, a journey forward.  Its headlights are curiosity, and it rides on compassion.  Faith is not safe.  It calls for courage–a living from the heart that moves us even–especially–when we are frightened.

Bob Patrick

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