Today is Easter, a time for many to celebrate the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus and reflect on the sacrifices He made.
I’m not a Christian, but lately, I’ve been reflecting in a very positive way about the message of Christ. It’s extremely noble to dedicate oneself to the lives of the poor, the sick and the forgotten. It’s incredibly selfless to turn over all of your material possessions for a greater cause.
Yet, in between this extremely boiled down and simplified version of what Jesus did, are many people with different interpretations, agendas and motives for carrying out acts in the name of God or Jesus.
It’s the worst of this community which complicates my personal relationship with religion. It’s the Creflo Dollars, Jimmy Swaggarts, Louis Farrakhans, Sun Moons and David Koreshs of the world that drive me away and remind me time and time again that religion is a community and construct that men and women made.
And yet, there are Rev. Martin Luther Kings. And Rev. William Barbers. And Dalai Lamas. And Martin Nimöllers. And Archbishop Desmond Tutus. People of religious backgrounds who restore my faith in humanity time and time again. People who perform acts so courageous that it’s hard to believe they’re mere mortals.
I know one such person, a friend of mine, whose bravery I can’t even begin to fathom. This person was wounded at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, ten years ago today. Despite this horrific incident, they march on and advocate for justice in an area where it is dangerous to do so. They remain one of the most positive and consistent people I’ve ever met.
That takes real courage. And while I don’t take religion literally, whenever I see this person, or meet people like them performing similar acts, I feel closer to knowing the genesis of the story of religious inspiration.