Religion is Still Relevant

On a forum that I interact in, it was posted concerning attempts at expanding gun control legislation in the aftermath of Representative Giffords shooting: 
"Or people with knives, or gasoline and ball bearings, or just stupid religious pronouncements to people not able to think for themselves. Hell religion is responsible for more death historically than the short period of time we've had guns. Ban religion."
His sentiments echo many of the comments I have read following the stories of this tragedy in Arizona.  There is a deep-seeded hatred toward Christianity stirring under the surface of our society.  I had to reply.

First, I want to say that I am not for the banning of guns.

Religion has been a tool that power-hungry politicians have used at times to get their will.  As we have seen in this nation and in the Soviet Union, when religion does not march along with the power hungry, they will just use nationalism and self-defense as a rallying cry.  The problem is people pursuing power at all costs, not religion.  Religion is not at fault for the deaths you are tossing at its feet.  Ignorant and power hungry politicians are. 

I admit that religion has been tainted at times throughout history; there is death on its hands. 

But there are glorious moments.  And they are still happening.  Every day across this nation. 

Just this week, I saw a doctor open up a free medical clinic in my town.  The first day was a trial run without much promotion, so we only saw three patients.  But Christians paid for $2000 worth of medical treatments for those three patients.  They had to be people who were too wealthy to have government insurance, yet too poor to have insurance on their own.  A category that is pretty massive in America right now.  Religion, throughout history, has helped in medical treatment for those whom society has deemed unworthy.

Last week, I sat through a presentation of an organization (Hope 2 Liberia) that is trying to bring hope and stability to the civil war torn nation of Liberia.  There was a banker in the audience who made the point, through a question, that he didn't think it was wise to make an investment in Liberia since it was not a stable nation.  In that setting, the investment would just go to waste in the midst of another crisis.  What he didn't grasp is that the Christian organization is not making an investment; they are just trying to be loving through providing safe drinking water, the best education possible, and health care.  It's not about an investment, but about loving people and bringing stability where investors won't put their money.  Our church will be doing a fundraiser in the fall to help them reach their $15 million dollar goal.

Last night I went to a concert (Winter Jam).  The entry to the concert was cheap ($10 a pop for big name bands).  The goal of the performers and producers was to get some of the 11,000 people attending to adopt children or support orphanages in nations where child abandonment is prevalent (through Holt International).

I am in negotiations with an inner city church in Ft. Wayne to let our country church partner with them in meeting the needs of the poor in the city.  They have a good system in place to not be abused by money grabbers, but they also don't ignore the down and out.  It's on that balance beam of being charitable yet responsible that these religious organizations live. 

So we can look at the terrible moments of the church, or we can look at the great moments.  As Sarah Palin said during the 1984 Miss Alaska beauty pageant, "In Alaska we have mosquitoes. We also have the most beautiful mountains in the world. The choice is ours as to which we'll focus on." 

Religion has brought a lot of good.  And guns, along with making wars bloodier and killing easier, have made it easier to hunt.  Mosquitoes.  Mountains.  You can choose what to look at.