The other day, I went to see the movie “Independence Day.” As a sequel it was pretty good. I’m really not into movies with violence much anymore, but I do occasionally like a good action film with my favorite actors.
While I was watching the movie, I began to see some parallels from the story to what is happening in our world today. No, we are not being overtaken by aliens (that we know of), but the fear, chaos, and disasters seem to be predominant issues, at least in the news. According to the media, it seems like the world has gone absolutely crazy with natural disasters, mass killings, the European Union event, and some in politics, religions, and other areas have completely lost their minds, and so on.
As I was watching the movie and thinking about all of this, I started to take on the weight of the world, which I’m sometimes apt to do, and it can be completely overwhelming for me. I take on the pain, the fear, the suffering, and so much more that people are feeling and going through and it was all I could do to keep from breaking down in the theatre.
When I see the way humans are treating each other just because of any perceived differences, it makes me really sad to the core of my being. For instance, it never ceases to amaze me to see ministers and other religious leaders expound such hate and vitriol from the pulpit. Some are actually praying for and promoting the deaths of certain people or groups of people and then celebrating when they do die or something bad happens to them. And I certainly never thought I’d ever see certain presidential candidates spew such detestation and violence towards numerous groups of people and wanting to get rid of them, as well as all the childish name calling, temper tantrums, lying, banning anyone who doesn’t agree, and wanting to literally destroy people’s lives because of hate, bigotry, ignorance, and differences in beliefs.
The sad part is that so many people are believing and following these ministers, politicians, and others, and many claim to be people of faith. And that makes me even sadder. Jesus made it very clear when he said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) Whenever I see anyone say they are speaking for God or Christianity in particular, this is the verse I think of to gauge whether they really are disciples of Jesus. This is the verse I think of when discerning who to listen to or who to believe. Too many people have taken Jesus’ teachings out of Christianity and made it into a man-made religion to justify their own personal beliefs and agendas. This could be said of other religions and their spiritual masters as well. Of course, I’m certainly not going to tell anyone what to believe; that’s not my purpose. And I also certainly don’t mean to judge anyone; that’s between the person and their Creator. (To be clear, there are billions of people who do follow the teachings of their spiritual masters.)
In the above movie, Bill Pullman’s character, now former President, made a great speech and I wish I could remember everything he said because it was beautiful and could be applicable for us today (without the aliens). He basically mentioned how the invasion, which destroyed so many lives, has actually brought people from all over the world together and united everyone as one people. What will it take for us to learn this lesson? Do we need another major disaster either in our country or world before we remember how much a part of each other we really are? You’d also think our religions would be enough to teach us to love and care for one another, but apparently they’re not, and that’s beyond heartbreaking. (Again, to clarify, there are those in various religions who do teach love and do care for others.)
Shakieb Orgunwall said, “Somewhere in our pursuit of being better Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, or Jews, we’ve forgotten to be human beings and what it means to genuinely love and respect one another. Being human and expressing a common concern for humanity is a prerequisite to membership in any faith.” Aberjhani stated, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream was a manifestation of hope that humanity might one day get out of its own way by finding the courage to realize that love and nonviolence are not indicators of weakness, but gifts of significant strength.” And Martin Luther King, Jr. himself declared, “Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it. Hatred confuses life, love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life, love illuminates it.”
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper July 1, 2016.