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Does religion cause suffering?

Cross thoughts: Christian ideas seen in Sudanese every day life.

People say that religion is the cause of so much suffering the world over. I understand what they mean, but I have a question to ask these people.

“Is everything done in the name of a religion, done in the spirit of that religion?”

For example, the spirit of Christianity is explained in the New Testament, the book of Romans 12:9-­21.

Having first said that Christians who appreciate God’s mercy towards themselves should “offer (their) bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” (12:1), and continued by saying Christians should “not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of (their) mind(s)” (12:2), here in Romans 12:9-­21 the Christian teacher opens up the meaning of this sacrificial, holy and transformational living.

We could sum it up by four words, “be different” “be Christlike”.

Test yourself against my understandings of this Scripture Romans 12:9-21.

  • Show in your actions that you really mean what you say in your words(9).

  • Love other people very much indeed (10).

  • Let your strong Christian beliefs control all of your behaviour (11).

  • Fix your eyes and heart on heaven; keep your feet firmly on the ground (12)

  • Use what God has given you to show generous friendship to the poor (13)

  • Ask God’s favour on those who offend you, do not be unpleasant to them (14).

  • Celebrate the ups and downs of life with all people around you (15)

  • Work in a friendly, peaceful way, showing you are no better than others (16)

  • Do not give back bad deeds; let all actions positively commend JesusChrist (17)

  • Do not encourage fighting between any groups of people (18)

  • Do not hurt someone else because they have hurt you. Let God be the Judge (19)

  • Treat your enemy as you would treat your friend. God will give justice (20)

  • Always try to win your enemy for Christ. He/she can still be saved from God’s wrath.

  • Deal with this problem Christianly or it will destroy your testimony (21)

The spirit of Christianity is the spirit of Jesus Christ. Like him, many Christians have spent their lives relieving suffering and promoting reconciliation between warring people groups. I know some mistakes are made!

But, please judge Christianity by our Founder rather than by his followers.

June 2013.


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