By Bob Branco
Before I go any further, let me say that I believe in God and creation. I was raised as a Catholic, and I try to attend church as much as possible, given my limited resources and special circumstances. When I don’t go to church, I listen to The Happy Bible Hour, a weekly Christian radio program. When the opportunity arises, I go to Bible studies. Though I am far from perfect, I try to do as much as I can to please God.
When I was a child, the religious picture seemed rather simple: Follow the Ten Commandments, receive First Communion, attend Sunday school, get confirmed, and just be a good, kind, and loving person. In fact, that’s how it’s supposed to be. While I still feel the same way today as I did then, I learned that there is a lot of religious conflict in this world. Sometimes this type of conflict happens when two people argue over religion, while at other times, it results in war. When I hear about all of the different opinions that people have about religion, I often wonder what God is thinking about all of this. God has His own set of rules and philosophy, yet after talking with a variety of people with different religious opinions, you might think He has thousands of different philosophies. Well, He only has one.
Two years ago, an incident happened to me which speaks volumes about what I’m talking about. I was encouraged to attend a weekly Bible study at a local church. It is not a Catholic church, but I decided to go because the Bible is what it is. God meant for the Bible to help all of us, no matter what religion we are. I spent one hour at my first Bible session at this church. The minister, his wife, and several members of that particular congregation were there, and it was very inspiring.
After I left my first session, I went home and told one of my Christian friends about it. I thought it would make him happy to know that I had attended a Christian event. Surprisingly, my friend took offense at my going to this particular Bible study. He said, “Bob, if you wanted to get involved with a Bible study, you should have called me, because I know the truth.”
First of all, I’m glad that he knows the truth. However, is he also implying that those who attended the other Bible study don’t know the truth? He wasn’t even there, yet he got offended. Though I believe my friend is a true Christian, it didn’t appear as though he practiced Christianity when he said what he said to me. If he really knows the truth, then he shouldn’t act like he’s the only one who does and trust that many other Christians believe what he believes. We should all have faith that every faction, every source, every priest, and every religious group can somehow convey the same message from God. We know how difficult this can be, but I think we can somehow work at it and avoid all the conflict we have.