Wanna hear a crazy story? So, a couple thousand years ago, a virgin nobody knew got pregnant and had a baby. A bunch of kings followed a star for months just to give this kid presents. Before he hit puberty, he was lecturing priests about their own religion. He grew up to be a carpenter, but one day he inexplicably decides to start traveling from town to town, making friends and doing magic. I mean crazy stuff. Healing the sick and the blind, making food appear from thin air, walking on water, and even raising the dead. Everybody loves this guy, until suddenly they don’t. The people turn on him, his friends turn on him, and the guy in charge of the town is like “not my problem.” Dude gets killed, horribly. Except he isn’t, spoilers, because three days later he comes back. Some kind of zombie maybe? And then a little while later he flies off into the sky. Zoom. But he says he’ll come back some day, like Frosty. And he’s also God, kind of? Whatever, it’s weird.
Faith is a funny thing. By its very definition it is something that cannot be proven. It isn’t based on logic or rationale or reason. We believe in something because we do. And that’s that. When you’re a person of faith, you tend to accept things at face value. “This is just how it is.” And so many of us also look at the foundation of other religions and think “that’s ridiculous.” Right? I mean, come on.
Nature is full of spirits. The universe hatched from a giant egg. God said we were special. God told me to write a book. God told me where to find a book. A whole bunch of gods bicker on a mountaintop. Aliens came in space planes to drop bombs in volcanoes. Giant spaghetti monster.
As Catholics, this is our holiest time of the year. But do you ever take a step back and think about how other religions view our faith story?
Supposedly this guy sat in the desert for forty days without food or water. Which is unfortunate because he could apparently turn water into wine. Which is awesome. And he could control the weather. I kid you not.
Yes, I do think some other religious beliefs are a bridge too far. (Everything in the universe sprang from butter. Okay.) But it is important for me to try and remember that everyone’s faith story is incredible. It has no basis in the provable. That’s why it’s faith.
I like to say that probably nobody has it exactly right, but my religion is righter than most. I mean, I have to, or else I would believe in something else. But the important thing is that I could be wrong. There are similarities between many faiths and faith stories. The devil is in the details. That’s what people say, yes? And nearly every religion has one. Whether it’s Loki, Maui, Lucifer, or a coyote, there always seems to be somebody that causes trouble. Somebody that comes between us and the divine. Somebody that stirs up trouble with each other.
It is the time of year when we renew our Baptismal promises. So I ask you now, “do you reject Satan?” If so, then reject evil by rejecting division and dismissal. Reject the idea that we are fundamentally different. That I’m right and you’re wrong. That my side needs to “win”. Let this season be a resurrection of unity and a common regard for our brothers and sisters of all creeds. A good person is a good person, no matter who they pray to.
I’m a Catholic, and Jesus told me that loving my neighbor was just about as important as loving my God. And I believe Him. I mean, why wouldn’t I? Have you heard some of the crazy stuff that guy could do?