A recent Associated Press news article says Pope Benedict XVI is condemning what he calls a "growing aversion" to the Christian faith.
The article says 'the pope is urging Christians to invigorate efforts to spread their faith's message despite what he described as the unfriendly climate to Christianity in parts of the world.' Benedict is quoted as saying,
In a world marked by religious indifference and even by a growing aversion toward the Christian faith, a new intense activity of evangelization is necessary.
The pontiff went on to say that Christians need to put aside their differences so they can unite their efforts.
Regular readers know by now that I adore the Christian faith and the people who follow it. I believe their religion is the correct one... for them. I also happen to believe that every other religion (or faith or form of spirituality) is equally correct for their respective followers.
I know I'm just a lowly blogger and Benedict is, you know, the pope, but that doesn't mean I can't disagree with him. Was he wrong in making the statement he did? Of course not. His truth lies with the Christian faith and he's just walking his path.
But, it's not a path I believe is best for the world. I believe intense evangelizing is exactly why there is an aversion to Christianity in the first place. It pisses people off.
With that in mind, instead of saying what he did, I would have liked to see the pope deliver this speech (yeah, now I'm writing speeches for the pope, which is kind of cheesy, but I'd sure have a lot of respect for him if he'd say something like this):
It is with great humility that I recognize a growing world trend; a trend that is leading many of the world's people away from the Christian faith. In fact, I acknowledge that there is even a troubling, and growing, aversion to Christianity.
Our world is marked by religious indifference, and even worse, intolerance. While I, and the followers of Christianity, believe that Christ is the way and the truth, we must also be aware enough to realize not everyone will believe as we do.
In the past I might have called for intense evangelizing to spread the Word and convert non-believers. Today though, I ask of you something even greater. Rather than join the ranks of the intolerant, I ask that we, as Catholics and Christians, evolve to the ranks of acceptance.
How can we preach tolerance without following it? How can we know love if we don't experience it?
It is simple arrogance to preach that all people of the world should believe as we do. So please, do not evangelize to your Muslim, pagan and atheist neighbors. Love them and accept them for who they are, but remind them the door to Christianity is always open should they choose to walk through it and follow us.
Upon all of you, I invoke the abundant blessings of the Almighty and, in particular, the gift of peace.
Love... to all.
Do you think a speech like this would help reverse the aversion to Christianity? I sure do, but feel free to discuss amongst yourselves, or make fun of me, in the comment section.
Travis Griffith, who left behind the corporate marketing world, choosing family and writing in lieu of “a comfortable life” financially, is a former atheist trying to define what leading a spiritual life really means. His children’s book, Your Father Forever, published in 2005 by Illumination Arts Publishing Company, Inc. captures only a fraction of his passion for fatherhood.
Editorial Note: The thoughts presented within this blog post are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of the entire Relief staff. Though there may be some differences between the journal's theology and that of the author, we believe that the questions this author raises about faith and love are important.