PDF - Public Displays of Faith  

Posted by Brock Booher

If you were about to board a transcontinental flight and several Muslim passengers from your flight knelt in prayer in the boarding area would you feel uncomfortable? Would you feel the same way about a group of Orthodox Jews with yalmurkas and long traditional beards gathered in prayer? How would you feel about a group of Nuns or maybe even Mormon missionaries? How do you feel about public displays of faith?

As an airline pilot, I see public displays of faith everyday. I guess more people are afraid of flying than care to openly admit. I see Muslims praying in the boarding area. I see Catholics crossing themselves just before they step on to the plane. I see people kiss their fingers and tap them on the plane for good luck. One Bible-carrying passenger stopped and told me how she said a prayer every time she took her seat on the plane. I just grinned and said, “You too!?”

Faith is the motivating force behind all of our lives. I don’t care what you believe about God, if you didn’t have faith that the sun was going to come up, you wouldn’t get out of bed. Unless you have knowledge of the future, your every action is driven by faith. Every accomplishment beyond our simple existence of the moment requires faith.

Various religions require overt acts of faith. These acts include everything from silent prayer, to bathing in the Ganges River. Each public display of faith demonstrates to the world, and to the intended god, that the believer has faith strong enough to evoke action. Action, the highest form of faith, is required to demonstrate one’s level of faith.

But what if these acts of faith interfere with or even harm the lives of others? A suicide bomber in the name of Allah, car bombings to resolve a dispute between Catholics and Protestants, Sikh assassinations to end perceived religious oppression, all have the same thing in common – violence committed in the name of faith.

Clashes between good and evil sometimes do escalate to the level of violence, but I don’t believe that the fight against evil requires the willful taking of innocent lives. The battle against evil requires that we change lives – starting with our own.

So the next time you board a flight, go ahead and display your faith in public. Maybe your overt act of faith will inspire someone. We only hope that it inspires others to do good - not wet their pants in fear.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 at Monday, March 15, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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