Religious hatred confuses everyone. Non-religious people just assume that all religion is hateful. People assume that the hatred committed by a few fundamentalists represents everyone in that religion. The Islamic State has exiled tens if not hundreds of thousands of religious minorities with a “convert or die” mantra reminiscent of early Christian colonialism. In other words, if you think this is evil, then remember that Christians have done equally evil things in the name of God. Hopefully these evils don’t invalidate the entire religion altogether.
John Wesley and the early Methodists faced religious persecution from fellow Christians because they dared to live a more rigorous faith than most. Once when he was leading a meeting, the rioters outside began to tear the building down from the outside. John decided to dismiss the meeting when the roof started caving in and he feared for the lives of his congregation. The rioters dragged John out, and attempted to stone him and beat him with rods (my comic is quoting things John reported the crowds to have shouted). Apparently John was so short and the Lord was looking out for him so much that he only remembered getting pounded once in the chest and a gash on his shoulder from a large rock. John’s demeanor was so composed that several of the rioters disbanded and some were converted to the faith. A few of John’s Methodists stuck by his side through the riots. When John asked one of them what he hoped for in all of it, the man said, “To die for him who had died for us.
I have always been fascinated by those who keep their faith when they could be killed for it. Not like suicide-bombers, or conquering warriors, but the truly vulnerable, who have not chosen to face adversity, but stood up under it because their faith made it possible.