It has been shown that religion has been one of the biggest culprits when it comes to the causes of war. Yet even more insidious is the inherent divisiveness within the religious realm. Being Christian I will look first at aspects of Christianity that appears to malign others of different persuasions.
Within the Christian community we hear the following pairings: church vs. un-churched, saved vs. unsaved, believer vs. non-believer, and Christian vs. the name of some other religion. We also hear words, which supposedly convey a sense of superiority such as spirit-filled, evangelical, or true-believer.
Stepping out of the Christian model for a moment we see that other religions also make divisions such as: Hindu vs. Muslim, Jew vs. gentile, catholic vs. protestant, and Muslim vs. infidel.
Following the model of Jesus we should never fall into these traps of divisiveness. Jesus brought healing and wholeness to many different people. He treated all people with love and kindness. This should be the measuring stick used in our relationships with one another. It should never be about ones beliefs but rather about how we extend love and understanding to others.
Religion should always be a tool that enhances our ability to love others. If our religious practices cause us to feel smug, complacent, holier-than-thou, aloof, proud and certain, they should be scrapped. If our religion causes us to be involved in the lives of others, extending care and love to others, working in order that others may also live, it is a most holy enterprise.
May our ability to love others always be the norm by which our success is measured.