Ministers & People of Faith
Please do not allow your church, synagogue, mosque, or temple to become absorbed into corrupt political parties willing to say or do almost anything to obtain your favor. It makes no moral or logical sense to support political parties that indirectly kill tens-of-millions of people and harm billions of others annually with exploitive and short-sighted policies just because they "say" they will decrease the 1.3 million abortions performed each year in the U.S. or reduce the spread of toxic chemicals by a small amount.
To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.—Theodore Roosevelt
Many political parties and television ministers manipulate emotional issues to obtain power and exploit humanity on a global scale. Scores of politicians and media pundits love to talk about "evil" and its many familiar forms. However, one of the most insidious and dangerous forms of "evil" is when sincere religious leaders and people of faith don't critically question authority, its history, sincerity, complexity, motives, actions, and the total consequences of each and every political party toward humanity's long-term spiritually and physical health.
We have a spiritual and intellectual obligation to question, verify, and analyze the information presented by others and their publications regardless of their credentials. We must be careful not to blindly follow the teachings of religious organizations as instructions from God. All the great religions of the world require us to carefully study Holy Books and the world of science, apply critical thinking, and pray for wisdom. Because of misguided interpretation of the Bible and religious dogma, Galileo was imprisoned for arguing that the sun was at the center of our solar system and not the Earth. Galileo proclaimed, "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." Many centuries later, the church that imprisoned Galileo eventually apologized for this injustice and it's not my intention to single out this church as the only example—none of the world's religious organizations are immune to such injustices. Religious organizations must not force their beliefs on others (using the power of the state or otherwise)—God gave us freewill to make religious choices and to endure the consequences (good or bad). For additional information on the influence of "organized" religion on politics and our democracy please visit Theocracy Watch.
Religious organizations should minister to people and allow them to make their own decisions. I respect all religions that preach love and respect for God's creation, but most of all, I respect a person's right to choose their own destiny and the consequences thereof (as long as they don't harm other citizens). I'm also a firm supporter for scientific study and believe that science and religion can enlighten the world. A large number of religious people focus on memorizing the words of Holy Books instead of truly studying, analyzing, learning, and following the lessons taught. Furthermore, many don't want to hear about or consider the relationship of science to religion. Having a closed mind to in-depth religious or scientific study will rob us of knowledge, understanding, and happiness. Allowing false or dishonest religious members to destroy our faith or intellectual enthusiasm will rob us of the same.
Dr. Charles C. Haynes, author of Finding Common Ground, states, "Because religion plays a significant role in history and society, study about religion is essential to understanding both the nation and the world. Omission of facts about religion can give students the false impression that the religious life of humankind is insignificant or unimportant. Failure to understand even the basic symbols, practices and concepts of the various religions makes much of history, literature, art and contemporary life unintelligible."
The lack of religious education robs people of important knowledge and leaves them ill-prepared to understand the world they live in. The vast majority of the world's populations are members of religious groups—their behavior is influenced by these religious beliefs. Doesn't it make sense from a purely intellectual point of view to learn what motivates people? Such knowledge will help us to better understand one another and solve problems. Therefore, we believe you will find the historical, scientific, and religious insight presented in the Quest Study Bible by Zondervan enjoyable and intellectually productive. It can be purchased or ordered from almost any bookstore and provides an excellent start toward learning more about the Bible. Furthermore, all of the world's major religions have similar scholarly works explaining their beliefs. Such knowledge will allow us to better understand our own particular religion and at the same time help to improve relationships among all religions and maintain peace throughout the world.
No one should maintain that a man can search too far, or be too well studied in the book of God's Word or in the book of God's works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both.
—Francis Bacon (father of the scientific method)
© 2001-2004 by William C. Gladish. All Rights Reserved.