I think that most people would agree with letter writer Paul Franck that religion, politics and race can lead to misery, and that it has done so in past times, but it is much less in the present — although there is still room for improvement! However, I think he seems to be taking a harsh attack on religion and fails to give attention to the positive side.
I have been a minister in the Anglican Church for 70 years and can recall hundreds of events in which religion turned misery into joy and has a very uplifting effect on people’s lives, as well as society as a whole.
Furthermore, recent investigations have demonstrated that young people who attend Sunday school or church are less likely to be guilty of crimes. People who are sick and bereaved often experience comfort with religion.
However, with respect to race relationships, which are always with us, it depends upon all of us. Problems will continue until, as the Bible says, “We learn to love our neighbours as ourselves.” And remember that missionaries like David Livingstone were doing that wherever they went and did wonderful work.
Unfortunately, they were followed by empire builders and scheming tradesmen, which caused tragic events e.g. slavery, etc.
I think Franck is out of touch when he says that the various religious denominations are quietly at odds with each other! That may have been true in times past and at times they were almost violent with each other, but not so today in Canada and elsewhere!
Today there is a greater association in local, diocesan and national committees of the churches.
I have been president of several local church councils, and I can assure Franck that he is out of step!
Of course, we still have to face the great tragedies of the Crusades and the Reformation in which religion and politics were involved: it was much more secular than religious.
The tragedy of the Middle East today is sheer empire building. The West should never have gone into the East but did so because Napoleon didn’t take the advice of the committee of scholars that he first sent to the East.
Their message was stay out! But he didn’t and the British followed. Also in 1919 in Paris, the British, French and the Americans would not listen to King Faisal or Lawrence of Arabia. They just divided the Middle East three ways and so the trouble continues.
As to how the world began and how it will end — nobody knows and we never will until it does end or when we die!
Meanwhile, the two biblical accounts of the beginning of creation are surely informative and allow for both design and evolution and are the best we will get until the end! It is up to each one of us to determine how things will go in our earthly homes!
Rev. T.L. Leadbeater