By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
Sometimes Hollywood accidentally does a favor for people of faith, and there is a line in “The Matrix” series that defines a free people of faith.
In the movie, the character Morpheus believes in a prophecy that will save humanity, and there are others who do not.
Morpheus makes his decisions based on his beliefs while others that differ think he is crazy.
The key line is delivered when Morpheus explains his course of action will be based on his belief in a prophecy.
One of his detractors tells him, “Not everyone believes as you do.”
Morpheus replies, “My belief does not require them to.”
Simple, amazing, and never intended to be used by people of faith.
Yet, that is exactly what separates Christians from many other faiths, especially the extremist Taliban/Al Qaeda wing of the Muslim faith.
Our belief in God requires nothing from anyone else.
But those who do not share our beliefs have tried to silence us, to remove our ability to exercise our faith even though nothing is required of them or from them.
When a child chooses to pray at school, how does this affect anyone else? It does not, and yet non-believers have pushed to remove prayer from schools.
When a religious symbol is displayed in public,what does it require anyone to do?
Yet, there is an effort to remove any symbols of faith from the public.
Some religions, like that of the Taliban or of a theocracy like Iran, do require others to follow the faith.
In Sudan, Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, refused to renounce her Christian faith and gave birth to her daughter in jail. She will be able to nurse the child for two years, and will then be executed.
The Christian faith does not require conversions by force.
Yes, I am familiar with the Inquisition, and it was wrong.
Today, Christians exercise their faith without demanding others follow suit.
But this is not the case with those who disagree with Christianity or religion in general.
Too often, nonbelievers are using Muslim practices as a reason to ban all religions. At the same time, they push Islam tolerance as a way to bring conflict between Christians and Muslims.
Christians do not require Muslims to convert. Freedom and the Christian faith are closely related because Christianity is an understanding of choosing to follow, not being forced to do so.
If force was required, God would not have given us the choice in the first place.
Believers must do so voluntarily.
While we may try to exhibit our faith through our actions and our words, and share why we believe the way we do, in the end, it is the free will of others to accept or reject it.
My belief requires nothing from anyone, and yet opposers to faith seek to limit prayer at public events. If they do not believe, they are not required to pray, nor should they be.
Faith is a choice, and it is only faith when we choose it on our own, not when we are forced.
There is no law against love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and that is what Christianity is all about.
But those who oppose Christianity want to require believers to abandon any exhibition of faith. Their goal of no religion is the only acceptable public position. They seek to prevent the practice of believing.
All we require of them is nothing.
So who is really seeking control?