The brother and sister were raised in a devout, religious home. Their parents and religious leaders in the community taught them everything they would need to know about [God] and how to live a righteous, pious life.
They read the scriptures every day before breakfast, and every evening before going to bed. They were encouraged to memorize particularly poignant passages and “keep them in their heart and mind” so that their very thoughts were aligned with the will of [God]. The children were proud of how well they knew the words of their [Holy Book], and would often quote relevant passages when discussing some issue or topic.
Their parents were pillars in the community. They were always kind to strangers and the first to volunteer when needed in the small town where they grew up. Father was a leader in the [Church], and Mother was known for her wisdom and fine character. Her pot roasts were legendary!
The [Church] they attended in town was very well respected in the community. They fed the hungry, helped the sick and came to the aid of those in need. They truly lived up to the high expectations of their religious training. They believed in their hearts that [God] had favored them with Truth lovingly written down for them in their [Holy Book]. Disputes over morality, civil behavior and how to live with one another were all decided with the wisdom contained within their scriptures. Sometimes they would argue over little details, but in the major issues; were of one mind.
One day, a preacher came to town who was considered to be well learned in their faith. The [Church] leaders were thrilled when he agreed to speak at their meeting. The preacher had devoted his entire lifetime to learning the words of the [Holy Scriptures] and the teachings of the faith. He spoke many languages, and had traveled the world defending his faith from those who would attack it as silly and superstitious. Many believed that he was a true prophet, blessed by [God]. But, the preacher was quick to put aside such notions of grandeur, emphasizing that he was only speaking the truth revealed to him by [God]. If anyone was persecuting him, or ridiculing him, it was because they were being deceived by the evil that was in the world. His humility was great, and the people of the [Church] and the community felt blessed to have him in their presence. The brother and sister were thrilled to learn that the preacher would spend his time in town as a guest in their home!
Around the supper table after their scripture lessons, the brother and sister were allowed to stay up late and listen to the preacher recount tales of his many travels throughout the world. They all settled around the table with warm beverages and sweet treats (truly a special occasion!).
The preacher told of how there was great evil around the world that challenged the very foundations of their faith. He told of how other preachers were often captured and tortured in some countries of the world who rejected their faith as distorted and evil. These preachers were sometimes tortured and beaten and thrown into prison for the crime of believing their faith was the Truth. He told them that they were actively trying to “rid the world of their kind.”
The family around the table gasped in horror at some of the stories the preacher recounted of even children killed in the name of this other, false [God]. He told of how there was a movement within the [Church] to fight back against these evil doers, and how he was traveling from town to town to recruit those who would serve in defense of [God]. “Everything that you hold to be true, and righteous is at stake,” he told them. “These unbelievers want to destroy our way of life.”
He told how the religious leaders of these other people were training missionaries to try and lead them astray, and convert them to this other faith.
The preacher went on to say that, amazingly, “children in these other countries were being told that OUR RELIGION is false, and that WE are the evil ones!”
The brother and sister were incensed at this. They were visibly agitated. How could this be? It was so obvious that their scriptures were true. Wasn’t their father a great man, respected in the community as a pious, righteous leader? Wasn’t their mother gentle and kind to all she encounters? The fruits of their religion was in plain sight for all to see.
That night, the preacher gave a sermon that was attended by nearly everyone in the community. They were as equally appalled at the unjustified violence to people of their faith. The preacher even showed photographs of children and innocent civilians who were killed by these worshipers of a false [God]. Loud gasps were heard over the carnage displayed on the screen. “How could we allow this to happen?”
The next day, a group of former military officers gathered and vowed to fight against these unbelievers.
When the townspeople heard of this, they declared; “Why, our very nation is founded upon the principles of our faith. [God] is on our side. We will prevail!”
Many in the town made it their mission that day to defend to the death the honor of their [God]. The one and only TRUE [God].
The brother and sister considered all of these things, and decided what, then, they should do…
[Insert your deity, holy book and / or place of worship here]
“We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the same sense to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.” – H.L. Mencken