I went to the Sunday service today. I have been in contact with this congregation for quite some time now. They are wonderful people and I’m honored to know them. But. And this is a big but. Last time I went to their meeting years back, they were searching a leader. They didn’t have any, so they just met up and one led. Now they have one and I didn’t like it one bit.
First thing he began with me was how wonderful it is that student are coming back and how great it is to begin spreading the Message with them – especially in dorms. I flatly said that it is not allowed. They looked shocked, why? Too many different religions and cultures under one roof, I explained, it creates conflicts. They seemed to understand it (to some level).
Then he began his preaching. He told how we should try to reach out to our fellow students and tell them the good news and how wonderful it would be if they went to the world to create their own congregations. I sat there, astonished, my lips sealed and in shock. Is he serious? Tartu is full of congregations students can contact with if they feel the need, several youth organizations for Christians, pray meetings, fraternities – where on earth does he take that Tartu citizens are without religion!? Had he even looked around here first? The way some nodded with him – had THEY looked around in Tartu? The place is full of religions!
That continued with hopes of baptizing all nations. How wonderful would that be? I wanted to jump up and run. But I sat on, history echoing through my head – where have you heard this before? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the nations were Christians/ Communists / Nazis/ Muslim? Take your pick, but that is beginning to a disaster. It would be terrible! When I think of all the knowledge lost because of this! Of all the cultures gone forever, languages that died, because “Christians” forced Latin on them! Medieval history, anyone? What happened? Most countries were Christians and what did they do? First they destroyed anyone different and then? Fight with each other! And those wars are the worst the world has ever encountered!
No. I will go hell for this, no matter if I believe in this or not or they will. If I stand on the judgment day court and must answer for my loyalty, then they can send me hell for this. The world is full of wonders – how can one sentence in one book determine if you allow yourself to learn and be open for this wonder or close your eyes? If God created all this, then why does man put himself on the position of the judge and destroy it?
One of the things he also pointed out, was that traditions are outdated and pointless. Coming from the mouth of a man, who holds dear Bible, I am not quite buying it. Bible is not outdated, but traditions are? Isn’t Bible also a tradition? Traditions are the roots of the Tree of Religion that Christians are so often trying to cut them off. Have they ever thought that without those tiniest of roots, tree would die? I’m yet to meet religion that doesn’t create its own traditions they like it or not. People love stability. Traditions that repeat itself throughout the year give that stability. Like knowledge that after hot day, thunder clouds will gather and it will rain. If you take away this stability and give nothing to replace it, the religion dies. Harsh truth of religion.
There was one positive thing about it all though. The man, whom I spoke about Quran, actually searched it out and looked it up. I rechecked it myself, too and we both came to conclusion that we both agreed on. For this I’m glad. I like Christians, who are open to check outside their religion too, even if they don’t add it to theirs. No one is asking them to, but that’s how you get confirmed in your own religion better. Unfortunately, so did I.
If so far I was willing to give benefit of doubt, then this speech destroyed everything. I have talked about religious tolerance for years and for a good reason – it is the base of co-existence. I pull the line here. Nothing says „religious tolerance” better than “wouldn’t it be wonderful if all nations in the world are Christians?” Nothing tells me “get the hell out of there” more than that sentence. To destroy what is dear to another man is against everything I have been taught. Against everything I hold dear. I will not make this sacrifice. I have met too many people from too many religions to ever understand why somebody would want to destroy their worlds, because their lifestyle does not mix with theirs. This is not message of love, this is about cold-blooded calculations of quantity, not quality.
Next time we meet, I’ll be breaking few hearts. I don’t want to, but I will not sacrifice the right for others to choose and practice their own beliefs without fear of someone. It means loosing the right to evolve, to change, to keep your traditions, your roots. Do to others as you want them to do to you. Destroy what they love and they will destroy you. And I don’t need my crystal ball to know this.