Saturday, March 27, 2010

Inauthentic religion (Friday, 5th Week of Lent, John 10:31-42)

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “I have shown you
many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”
The Jews answered him,
“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”
Jesus answered them,
“Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, "You are gods"‘?
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.
He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
Many came to him and said,
“John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true.”
And many there began to believe in him.

* * * * * * * *

The hatred of the Jews for Jesus had reached fever pitch at this point. They were just about ready to kill him with their bare hands. Their lack of understanding and perplexity at Jesus had reached a point where there was open antagonism, even hatred for him and what he stood for.
True religion is something that for ages has helped humanity come to know its world and find meaning and sense in it. It has given humanity a tremendous source of hope that there is much more to life and existence than the daily grind. But religion also has its darker side. And it’s a side that has caused tremendous pain and suffering among human beings for centuries.

If true religion is a source of peace and hope, inauthentic religion has bred nothing but intolerance, bigotry, and hatred. People have been killed and have killed because of it. What we see happening between Jesus and his detractors is inauthentic religion rearing its ugly head. It will of course lead to the death of Jesus on the cross.

It is important to constantly ask ourselves whether our religiosity is still of the true kind or if it has began slipping into that inauthentic type which only hurts people and produces no good fruits.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)