Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Freedom of Religion

We know from past World History how religion came to be an excuse for misguided fanatics causing tensions, disturbances and upheavals. But such is a far cry from what true religion should be. If that was in the past, it is up to us to correct the mistakes of the past. As St. Paul advised in his first letter to the Corinthians—“As for prophets, let two or three of them speak, and the others attend to them. If one of the listeners receives a revelation, then the man who is already speaking should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn, so that everybody will learn something and everybody will be encouraged. Prophets can always control their prophetic spirits, since God is not a God of disorder but of peace “ (1 Cor. 14: 29-33). Jesus Himself showed respect for human freedom. When in the 6th chapter of St. John’s gospel Jesus spoke about Himself being food and drink for humanity and the bread of life, the gospel relates in Jn. 6:65-69: “After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’” (Jn. 6:65-69).

In matters of religion we do have and enjoy an air of freedom because none is supposed to be forced into any religion against his or her own free will. Nevertheless since religion is supposed to be instrumental in providing us important truths connected to our eternal destiny of happiness versus an eternal destiny of woe and pain, and punishment, surely we are all obliged to seek for the clear and simple truths that can bring us to our true destiny of happiness as reward for our good works. “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behavior (his works)” (Mt. 16:27).

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