God is Love: Let’s Stop Stoning Others
by Mark Votava
What is the meaning of life? I have asked myself this question for decades. My understanding right now is that life is about being an expression of love in the world. Nothing else matters in life.
If God is love – than why do we have a hard time with a kind, gentle, compassionate love that is based in humility? This is the kind of person Jesus was as he walked the earth. I want to follow this way of love.
- The movie called Agora
I recently saw a movie called Agora that was completely sad and disturbing. The movie was set in the Roman Egyptian time of the fourth century as Christians started to kill all the people who they perceived as worshiping other gods. They killed them with swords or stoned people to death by throwing large amounts of rocks at them.
There was a respected woman philosopher named Hypatia of Alexandria, one of the main characters, who was trying to bring peace to the land. But she eventually had to flee for her life as the Christians were taking over everything. She could not conform to what the Christians wanted her to believe because she refused to live in certainty. Hypatia lived in her questions as she constantly practiced deep reflection and a religious system that told her she could no longer embody this way of life would be too difficult for her.
The Christians eventually condemned her of ungodliness and witchcraft. So they arrested her, stripped her naked and stoned her to death. As I watched this movie, a deep sadness awoke in me of how characteristic this is of Christians today who condemn, judge, stigmatize and devalue others because we perceive them as worshipping a different God.
- Do we believe God is love?
A friend of mine recently lamented that those who say that God is love don’t seem to believe in it. They treat others who are struggling or in poverty as if they have no worth or dignity. If we say we believe that God is love, but show nothing but apathy toward love, this is the worst kind of practice that brings destruction into our world.
- We are good at stoning others, but not so good at love
This is the worst form of violence. It is like we are picking up rocks and throwing them at people’s heads until they die because of the wounds being caused by the stones. Christians are good at stoning others in judgment, but not so good at caring for others out of love. Jesus never stoned anyone and told those condemning others that he who is without sin should throw the first stone.
What makes Christians think they can condemn people with stones and devalue their humanity in the process. Doesn’t Jesus say that many will say to him, “Look at all the things we have done for you” and he will reply, “Depart from me because I never knew you? It seemed you had no desire to show love in the world, but only wanted to throw rocks at others.”
- Jesus weeps when we throw rocks at others in arrogance and judgment
Jesus weeps when we throw rocks at people in arrogance, judgment and apathy toward love. But sadly this is what a lot of Christianity has become, a belief system with no practice of love. This, I believe, is the major cause of atheism in the world. The arrogant Christian with no love, grace and humility is the most manipulative individual on the face of the earth.
Why do we stone or judge others in everyday life?