I remember years ago I overheard a visiting Italian Catholic priest’s homily during Mass in a mall. He was comparing the God of Christians, i.e. Jesus Christ, with Buddha.
He said, “The Buddha just sits quietly, unmindful of the people, unlike Jesus Christ who is compassionate and interacts with people.”
Though not a Buddhist, I felt profoundly offended by this priest who dared to criticize another religion he obviously knew nothing about.
That incident was etched in my memory. It made me wonder, “What is really the religion of God?”
The more I thought about it, the more it became obvious that God has no religion, although followers of every major religion claim that God belongs to their faith.
Religion is an invention or creation of man, and not of God. We have made God into our likeness and image—not the other way around.
Religion probably arose out of a need to make sense of the mysteries of nature happening around us. The presence of an orderly universe must have been the work of an intelligent, supernatural, but invisible being, a creator.
Angel, gorilla, cockroach
It is said that God made man according to his image and likeness, but what does God’s image and likeness look like?
Christians depict God as an old Caucasian man with a white beard. I think God looks like every creature that exists in heaven and earth. So, God may look like an angel, a gorilla or even a cockroach.
Why is it difficult for us to realize that God cannot be limited to just one image? Or just one religion? If a cockroach can draw, it will draw the image of its god like a cockroach. This is not really a new idea.
The Greek philosopher Xenophanes of Colophon, Ionia, (570-478 BCE), once wrote: “Mortals suppose that the gods are born and have clothes and voices and shapes like their own. But if oxen, horses and lions had hands or could paint with their hands and fashion works as men do, horses would paint horse-like images of gods and oxen, oxen-like ones. And each would fashion bodies like their own. The Ethiopians consider the gods flat nosed and black; the Thracians, blue-eyed and red haired.”
Since the beginning of recorded history, religious wars have been waged and millions killed, all because each group believes its religion is the only true one and, therefore, all the others are false and must be eliminated, or at least converted. Each of them believes that is what their god wants to do—to destroy or convert all those not belonging to their religion.
That’s what happens when people believe that God has a religion. But if they believe that God has no religion, what is there to fight for or against?
Can you not see the sheer folly or fallacy of thinking that God belongs to a particular religion? You would be talking like that Italian Catholic priest who thinks God is a Catholic God.
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