Last year, I was taking a college course and had the first real exposure in my life to the disdain people can have for Religion and the church. Ironic enough, it was a course where the professor said the first day that no opinions were wrong in discussion and that everything was safe to talk about. I found myself in the minority, those that valued faith, and quickly gleaned from the class a sort of anger towards religion.
The discontent towards such beliefs reached an epitome with one classmate during a impromptu debate on the validity of faith in a higher power. I still can recall quite clearly him shouting: “Religion has been the cause of more wars than anything else!” It was a saying I had heard before, but it peaked my curiosity, I couldn’t help but ask myself how true it was. So, as I couldn’t argue it then, I quietly decided to double-check the facts later that day.
I was somewhat surprised when I discovered that, according to the Encyclopedia of War, religion in general has only caused about 7% of all war in human history and less than 2% of lives lost. It was an astonishing discovery, especially when contrasted with the incredible zeal and certainty that my classmate had, though I shouldn’t have been surprised. There are many pseudo-facts that exist in today’s society, things that are said with certainty but have no more validity than saying gravity is a myth.
As Christians, we are encouraged to ask questions and seek the truth; in fact, we are applauded for it. During his missionary journeys, Paul taught the gospel in the city of Berea, where he was impressed with the Bereans, saying: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11)
How I wish I had known the truth during the debate. A way to counter the popular lie that made people disparage religion with what they thought was righteous fury. I didn’t know the truth then, but I do now, so I will be ready next time. Ironic enough, it was the most important lesson that class taught me: always seek the truth for yourself, especially if it comes from the world.