Peter wrote to the
earliest Christians, “Make every effort to add to your
faith…kindness.” He knew they could not influence their generation
with faith alone because faith alone leads to arrogance and even
We are faced with the spectacle today of a sect of a faith that sees its future in flying airplanes into buildings and other ways to kill and maim. Such a faith is a faith without kindness and who wants to live in such an atmosphere? That which creates only fear in people will never be widely embraced. It is doomed to extinction.
I grew up listening to
preachers who actually thought they could terrorize people into the
kingdom of God by holding them over the fires of hell. The only people
you can scare into the kingdom are cowards. Rational people must be
convinced. Anyone who adopts a faith out of fear will be of no use to
man or beast. Jesus said, “By this shall men know you are my
disciples, that you love.”
My least favorite TV
show is one where a man of faith fills the audience with his ardent
followers, then invites guests who do not agree with him on every jot
and tittle of his theology and pummels them before his cheering
audience. It is a nauseating display of faith without kindness.
We must make sure that
our own faith is not cruel. We must make certain we are not trusting in
our precision bombs and fancy ever-emerging weapons of destruction. If
Christianity wins the world, it will only come through kindness.
Put this on a very
personal level. Who are the people who have touched your own life? Was
it those who had faith without kindness? Those who wanted to scare you?
Those who threatened you? No, it was those who touched your life with
My own faith is
enriched by reading the words of the Dalai Lama. Here’s a man driven
out of his own country who can feel only kindness for his oppressors. I
have not reached that level of development but he has made me aspire to
it. As he says, we should not allow our enemies to set our temperament
and attitudes. We know the higher path is love and we should reach for
Peter is right. Faith
is not ready to be turned loose on the world until we add to it
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