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Christ would abhor much that is done in his name

Published 01/07/2015

The latest terror attacks in France and Tunisia bring home to us yet again the evil that is generated by fanatical adherence to any set of beliefs.

These deeds are perpetrated by those who operate at the edge of society, seeing themselves as fulfilling the will of some ruthless and demanding God, which will lead to the ultimate reward of martyrdom.

Thankfully we are experiencing a post-religious phase, where traditional religion is being steadily replaced by a more reflective and interpersonal form of engagement with one another and with the world.

In essence, it heralds a return to Christianity as a commitment to love, forgiveness and care, particularly for those who have been marginalised.

A striking feature of the life of Christ was his impatience with religion. It could be said that the essence of his mission was to breathe life into our lives and rescue us from the tyranny of institutionalism. Clearly he would have had no truck with the God described by fundamentalism.

He, too, would have been horrified by much of what has been said and done in his name.

Idolatry is always lurking in the shadows of much religious practice. Christ's God was the source of life and love, the God revealed in his own life. His desire was to see us all becoming man.

We are beings in the making and it is for us to engage creatively, imaginatively and intelligently in the most challenging task of becoming human for one another.

PHILIP O'NEILL

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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