The world would be a better place if its major religions could learn to laugh at themselves
One of my favorite episodes of the old situation comedy “Cheers” is the one in which the bartender Woody has a falling out with his wife Kelly when they discover that their religious roots are in different Lutheran synods.
Check it out here:
This episode came to mind when I heard a panel discussion on TV in the wake of the recent election of a new pope. One of the participants, making the point that religious differences sometimes are pretty silly, mentioned the so-called Great Schism of a thousand years ago in which the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church went their separate ways.
The panelist noted that one of the causes of the split was a difference of opinion on whether the Holy Spirit proceeded from both the Father and the Son or only from the Father.
Sorry. I just can’t help but liken such a disagreement to the proverbial debate over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. If there’s a God in heaven, and if he has a sense of humor, he has to laugh at such doctrinal nit-picking.
Accordingly, religionists of all stripes need to lighten up and laugh at their differences. They need to recognize a central fact that most of them seem not to understand: The world’s three great monotheistic religions — Christianity, Islam and Judaism — have one common root. They’re all Abrahamic. They all arose from a belief in the God of Abraham.
Instead of warring among one another, like Woody and Kelly, they should focus on their commonalities.
But, of course, there’s not much chance of that, is there?