2014-10-19 Sermon Simpson UMC “Religion and Violence: Does Religion Promote Violence?” Tezenlo Thong

“Religion and Violence:

Does Religion Promote Violence?”

(Micah 4:1-4)

Is religion inherently bad? Does it promote violence? Does it foster hate, fear and conflict? Or does religion make human beings better people? Are human beings better off because of it? Or is religion neither inherently good nor bad?

On one hand, we don’t have to look far to find atrocious examples of violence done in the name of religion. On the other hand, some of the greatest historical figures who have exhibited strong moral leadership are people with deep religious convictions, such as Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Thích Nhất Hạnh and others.

No religion is immune from violence. All are guilty of perpetrating hatred and division. Religion, including Christianity, can be and has been used as an excuse for violence. However, we must never condone, much less perpetrate, violence in the name of religion or God. On the contrary, we ought to be a people of peace, love and goodwill and treat people of all faiths with respect, love and dignity they deserve.

“Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

Tezenlo Thong, Pastor
Simpson United Methodist Church

(Micah 4:1–4 CEB)

But in the days to come, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of the mountains; it will be lifted above the hills; peoples will stream to it. Many nations will go and say: “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God, so that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in God’s paths!” Instruction will come from Zion and the LORD’s word from Jerusalem. God will judge between the nations and settle disputes of mighty nations, which are far away. They will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning tools. Nation will not take up sword against nation; they will no longer learn how to make war. All will sit underneath their own grapevines, under their own fig trees. There will be no one to terrify them; for the mouth of the LORD of heavenly forces has spoken.

 

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