November 26

Psalm 122

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.’” vss. 6-7

Jerusalem was not only the capital of Judah, it was the center of worship life for all devout Jews, no matter where they lived in the world. The temple was here and three times each year there were important festivals to attend. Even today three major religious groups consider it a pilgrimage site. Here can be found the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Dome of the Rock–there is probably no more “holy” city in the entire world. Yet through the centuries it’s known anything but peace and security, having been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured 44 times. It stands as a symbol, not of peace, but of the horrible violence that has accompanied the growth and influence of religion. There seems to be nothing that can incite rage and mayhem more than a desire to control fueled by religious convictions. In our history we have felt completely justified in murder, wars, and even genocide when it’s done in the name of our God. No wonder so many in our time have such contempt for religious beliefs–our record is abominable! Atheists are completely justified in pointing to religion as a root cause for much of humanity’s destructive behavior. It’s only when followers of Jesus abandon religion and begin living the Christlife that we find credibility. There’s still a chance for peace in the world, but it has to begin with us.

Thought for the Day: How can I abandon religion?

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