Posted by: jevcat | September 26, 2010

A Tale of Two Religions

Two religious traditions, the Younger with roots in the Older.  They both worship one God; at heart, you could say they worship the same God.  They are family – both claim descent from Abraham – but, as in many families, they don’t get along – to the point that many on both sides barely acknowledge that there is any relationship at all, and a few even deny it.

There is hatred between the Younger and the Older.  Each claims to be the “true” religion, and for many in each, any association with the other would be considered a contamination.  Mostly, they have little knowledge of each other – only enough to hate.  People don’t want to talk about what they have in common, only about their differences, what separates them.

They claim separate holy places within the same small country, and each is willing to defend their holy places from the other – as some in each are eager to destroy the holy places of the other.  Part of this stems from the fact that the Older, having been forced from the land, returned long after to find the Younger in place, and, although in the beginning there were some attempts to work together, in the end neither wanted to share the land that both claimed, and so they became enemies.  Each justified their stand on the basis of divine revelation, barring each other from areas they dominated, with the hatred sometimes erupting into violence.  A member of either group travelling in the territory of the other risked death.

Any of this sound familiar?  What would Jesus do?

Well, the record in the Gospels is clear on what Jesus did:  he healed the Samaritan leper along with the Jewish ones – and the Samaritan was the only one who came back to thank him; he not only spoke with the Samaritan woman, telling her the time was coming when the Older and Younger would worship together, and, perturbing his disciples no end, he stayed in her village, sharing fellowship and hospitality with them; having quoted the great Rabbi Hillel’s summation of the law:  to love God wholly and our neighbors as ourselves, he was asked “Who is my neighbor?,” and answered with a parable, using the Good Samaritan as an example of how his followers should live.

[This post is greatly indebted for its inspiration to a post I found on Episcopal Café about a piece by Richard T. Hughes on The Huffington Post.]


  1. Amen and thanks from this child of two religiois families

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