"Peace in our time." Who said that? I forget. I'll look it up later.
If you follow history at all, you know there is never truly peace. Somewhere, someone is fighting someone else. Often over the scraps they've been fighting over for thousands of years. The conflicts are often centered over religion: one group claiming rights to ancient lands over another, worshipers practicing extreme versions of their faith, or followers twisting doctrine to their own evil means.
Non-believers have to be really puzzled: the message they hear from the faithful is of salvation, joy, and yes, peace. Angels singing, harps playing in the background, a bountiful harvest to be enjoyed with their brethren. Yet the results displayed around the world show poverty, destruction and death. Sirens screaming, bloody images, masses of refugees escaping violence. How are they to reconcile these two very different images?
Where I'm going with this is towards the intolerance of other belief systems. Lots of people love to bash the atheists: they've got no future beyond this life, what a lonely, miserable existence it must be. Others bash the Mormons: their "new" religion is beyond belief, made up during a fever dream by a guy wandering in the desert. Then the Jews: the world has long persecuted them, despite physical evidence they are the "true believers" and God's own Chosen people. Buddhists and Hindus: their commitment to divine peace (both personal and community) scares us, their passivity makes them targets. Then we have Islam: while noticeably parallel to the Old Testament of Christianity, militant Islamists have turned a large part of the world against the idea that there are indeed peaceful Muslims.
In a nutshell, religion is the acknowledgement of a higher power, giving creed to a supreme being that both created and loves all mankind. Pull away all the music, the clothing, the regional customs, and that's what we believe.
I present this question to you, knowing that 99% of those that will read it are Christian: how do you reconcile that YOUR God is not THEIR God? That we were all created by the same God, and through his Grace we are given the opportunity to worship as we see fit? That freedom that was granted to us, and reaffirmed in our covenant with Jesus Christ is also the same freedom that allows others to worship differently? That same God that allows us to witness the miracle of a sunrise, the cry of a newborn infant, the gentle rain in summer: He doesn't make mistakes.
If their is truly only one God (and I do believe that,) then He is watching everything. Not just Christians, but all of us. Does He not have the power to stop atrocities committed in His name? Sure he does. So why doesn't he?
What if..... this is how it's SUPPOSED to be? Weak little humans we are, we can't see the lessons God has left for us. Using those lessons to solve our problems, instead of letting them divide us further.