No peace without God

Or, the things we (must) do for peace.

Pope Benedict XVI has done it again. With utter clarity, he placed the finger on the sore spot of what is required for peace. Not that he gives an easy recipe for world peace (a nigh impossibility, in any case, since, “violence as such is potentially ever present and it is a characteristic feature of our world”), but he does indicate where we go wrong and what we need to get that much closer to achieving the seemingly impossible (a very Catholic attitude, by the way).

The text, which can be read in English, here, and in Dutch, here, is rich and deserves a thorough reading. Let’s highlight some key points:

  • There are two types of violence and discord, “which are the very antithesis of each other in terms of their motivation”: religiously-motivated terrorism on the one hand, and the loss of humanity which comes from the denial of God and which leads to limitless cruelty and violence.
  • Religiously-motivated terrorism challenges everyone who is religious. It asks us what the true nature of religion is and how we can know it.
  • In order for religion to serve peace in the world, despite the fallibility of its adherents, it must continuously purify itself.
  • Denial of God leads to the flourishing of a counter-religion: “The worship of mammon, possessions and power is proving to be a counter-religion, in which it is no longer man who counts but only personal advantage. The desire for happiness degenerates, for example, into an unbridled, inhuman craving, such as appears in the different forms of drug dependency.”
  • Force is taken for granted and destroys people.
  • How can we know God and show Him to humanity in order to build true peace?
  • In addition to terrorism and the denial of God there is the growing phenomenon of agnosticism, “people to whom the gift of faith has not been given, but who are nevertheless on the lookout for truth, searching for God.” They ask question of both the atheist and the religious camps.
  • Agnostics seek God and truth, and it is our duty to reveal Him to them true an always purified religion.

But don’t take my word for it, and certainly not the word of the mainstream media, but read what the pope said.

Peace is also joy, as these Franciscan monks seem to want to make clear as they free white doves

Photo credit: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

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