Do you know what “Do not be afraid” is supposed to mean to Christians? And if you’re a “Trump” Christian, do you understand the significance of adding “unless I hate you”? Christian or not, I’ll tell you, there’s no place in the Bible where you’ll find “unless I hate you” said in the same sentence as “do not be afraid”. So why do some Christians insist on hating?
What is freedom of religion? It depends. Who gets to define freedom? And who defines religion? Maybe even who defines “of”. We’re looking at China in this series, but the same issues come up everywhere. It’s all about who sets the rules. One thing we can be sure of – it’s not God. Not in China. And not in my country or yours either.
Here’s the thing about freedom – of religion or of anything. See that eagle flying around in the sky? That eagle is free. But he’s probably looking for someone to eat. Something alive. And when the eagle finds his target, a little bit of freedom is lost. A life is gone. And the eagle remains free.
With people, freedom of religion is kind of like that. Someone’s “flying around” above us. Someone who either doesn’t like our religion, or likes theirs better. Sometimes they hate our religion so much they want to kill it. If they’re strong enough – they can certainly take out individual people. Even any given church building. But can they destroy an entire religion?
Is it possible to have “freedom of religious belief” and maintain social harmony? Sounds difficult, doesn’t it. Experience tells us it’s pretty much impossible. Does it have to be this way? Or are there things outside of religion that make it so difficult?
Is it even worse when governments get involved and laws are created? And does it get even worse when the laws are created to enforce “harmony”?
Part of the goal of the Chinese government is to water down Christianity to the point where it retains so little of Jesus’ teachings that it means nothing in terms of salvation. In essence, they are trying to put the Chinese people into the scenario of the Church in Laodicea from Revelation.
We use the word love so much these days that it often doesn’t seem to mean much. There’s lots of love, but without caring. Love without caring. For instance, I love sushi, especially ikura and uni. Add a quail egg, and there’s even more to love. But does that love include caring? No. It’s just food, there’s no caring associated with that love.
But then there’s you, the person reading this. Chances are I don’t know you – and you don’t know me. How can I love you the same way I love sushi? But I do care about you. I care enough about you that I spend lots of time and energy writing things for this site and my other one. That’s caring without love. Or is it?