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Sunday, November 10, 2013

W Is For Witness

Drawing Of The Flavian Amphitheater (Colosseum)

There was a time I used to talk to a Christian gentleman. I know he was Christian, because he made a point of it.

He often asked me whether Jesus was my personal savior, and I told him it was none of his business. He then said that saying such things as "I embrace Jesus as my personal savior" was bearing witness to the faith, and was exactly what the martyrs of old did - "martyr" being Greek for "witness" at the time, exactly as Arabic has "shaheed" meaning "witness" and "martyr".

I told him that saying some formula was not nearly the same as being killed in the Colosseum, for starts.

For seconds, I recited:

Matthew 6:5-6
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I said that my witnessing was not judged by its accessibility to the gaze and scrutiny of others.

I also said that enforcing public displays of religious belief and orthodoxy is idolatrous, for they are large and noisy manifestations of ourselves and our belief systems. They are "us, us, us".

Most of us are lost without hearing our own voices in our ears, like a tinnitus of an interminable Shofar being blown every hour of every day;

when all is religion, then nothing is religion.


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