When I use the phrase “The Religion of Hope and Peace”, which religion comes to mind? For Allegra Fonda-Bondardi, 18, the religion is Buddhism:
“Honestly?” she says, before she rushes off to a rehearsal with Jackson Browne’s band. “I think this generation is looking for a philosophy of hope … We’re going to be inheriting this place. How will we create hope and peace in this new time?”
This quote is at the close of an article about Budding Buddhists in an issue of Newsweek. It starts out talking about how the baby boomer generation has left the church– some choosing to come back, some choosing to stay religious, some choosing to intermarry– and what effect it is having on the next generation. One of the effects is passing on “religion” without passing on truth.
The part that was concerning to me was that this girl believed that Buddhism is the key to creating hope and peace. Certainly she is naive to some degree– as hope and peace are complex things brought about by many factors. But the fact that she believes that this religion offers her more then chanting and getting in touch with her subconscious means that she has also made judgements about the other religions and their impact on the world.
Could it be that one of the greatest damaging factors on Christianity today is the fact that it is not the religion linked with Hope and Peace, but is instead linked with the sword?
We live in a time where we have a President who claims to take orders from God, who has our troops in a war (regardless of how you feel about the war) and sees this as the thing he must do. We have political parties tied up together with Christian organizations. We have a lot of preachers talking about what should be done, and not as many people ministering.
It seems to me that this should be a sign of warning to the church– a sign that all is not right and we’re not correctly projecting the “Prince of Peace” and the “Hope of Life Eternal.” Christians have a lot of hope to offer the world– that this is not the end, that we can live in peace with God, and that God sent His Son to die for us.
What are we doing to convey that hope and peace to our neighbors and the world around us?