Hi, my name’s Father Mike Schmitz, and this is Ascension Presents. So one of the things that I guess probably you’ve heard before is a claim leveled against Christians or leveled against people who are religious and that claim is that religion causes wars, or religion is the cause of war in human history and that there’s that religion is bad for us is bad for people because it causes people to be violent. It causes people to enter the conflict their religion causes people Um to go to war. I get that. I get that I get that where that the source of that claim I think is not based in fact But it’s based in fear. Let me … See what I mean. Their fear is that if you hold on to a belief firmly And someone else has a different belief that they’re holding on to firmly that the only ultimate result is going to be some kind of conflict. That’s what the fear says. What do the facts say? There’s a book—actually it’s a three volume book—called the Encyclopedia of War written a number of years ago and in that book the authors chronicle, they document all 1,763 wars in recorded human history. Now out of those 1,763 wars Only seven percent of those (*stutter*) of war have come from religion. If you remove Islam from that equation, only 3.2 percent of all of those wars 1,763 of them come from religion. The fear says if you hold on to a belief firmly it’s only always going to end in violence, erupt in violence but the facts say 3.2 percent. And the interesting thing is … this is the, I think the thing that blows my mind is that we sometimes believe the fears more than the facts especially in this area. Because why? Because it’s easier. It’s easier to believe the fear than it is to believe the facts. I mean think about other wars maybe in the last century. World War II we’d say well yeah the problem, what was the problem with World War II? Well that the Germans. Here’s all these things that they went … or the Japanese? Here’s what they’re going through or the Russians. They were they were doing these things. When it comes to, you know, Cambodia or comes to the issue with China, those problems are out there. The problems, the issue is someone other than me. And what we forget is that we really as human beings are all the same; that the issue is not the Germans or the Russians or the issue isn’t others. The issue is me. In fact Alexander Solzhenitsyn, he says this he said the line between good and evil passes through the human heart. He was kind of paraphrasing in some ways a New Testament letter, letter of James chapter 4; because James asked the same question. James asks the question, “Where do wars come from?” James chapter 4 verses 1 & 2. He says, “Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come? It’s not from your passions that make war within your members. You covet but you do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain. You fight and you wage war.” Then what I have to do when it comes to the source of war, the source of violence, it doesn’t come from religion and it doesn’t necessarily even come from holding on to a belief firmly. It comes from my broken heart. It comes from that brokenness inside of myself. If I can’t be at peace with myself, then there is virtually no way I will be able to be at peace with the people around me. I have to ask the question, “OK. Am I driven by fear? Am I driven by envy. Am I driven by greed? Do I want to fight for, not what I believe, do I want to fight for just what I want more than I’m willing to fight to be a gift to other people? Good religion will never cause wars. Good religion would never be a source of war. Why? Because a good religion, heh, teaches the truth, it causes people to live goodness and create beauty. I think a lot of times we judge—maybe you don’t but maybe I do— we can judge a religion by those who fail to live up to it. But the real test of a religion is: What do the people who are living up to the great call of that religion, what do they look like? How do they talk? How do they live? The great greatest examples of what it really is to be a Catholic Christian isn’t … it’s not me, and it might not be the people next to you. It’s the saints. It’s those people who have looked deeply within I saw the brokenness in their own heart and they handed it over to Jesus. They surrendered it to Jesus so fully that he actually transformed their heart. You know the cause of war is what? The thing that we call original sin and we all have inherited it. It doesn’t come from race. It doesn’t come from ethnicity, doesn’t come from nationality, and actually doesn’t even come from religion. Original sin is something that we’re all born with, and that original sin basically means we all are born with a broken heart. That our members within us rage against each other, that I want but I do not possess, I covet but I cannot obtain, and so I want what I want. I mean, it’s it’s the it’s the, the two year old tyrant right who just, their their number one word is “No.” Some people don’t grow out of that. The saints are the ones who have handed that over to the Lord, and have allowed God’s grace to transform their hearts so much so that they actually live converted lives. But here’s the crazy thing. I still am called to be a saint even though I find the brokenness inside my heart. You’re still called to be a saint even though you find the brokenness in your heart. This is the most incredible thing, that God has made us to be glorious. God has made us for greatness, to be an image of him in this world and we have a choice, we can either live up to that with his help or we can reject that and live as lower than animals. I think it was C.S. Lewis who said it is fallen angels that make the worst devils. These angels have been created for beauty, for glory, for goodness. But they fail to live up to that. They reject God and so they fall lower. You know a bad dog is just a bad dog. A bad angel is a demon. And a human, a human being who—because of God’s holy spirit is actually meant to be a partaker in the divine nature, a fallen human being who rejects God’s grace— is possibly even worse. Because you’re made for glory. You’re made for greatness through the Lord’s grace. And you and I have it within us to either live up to that with God’s grace or, every one of us, to treat each other as worse than animals. Where the wars come from? Well, they come from my heart and they come from your heart. And that’s the reason why, because of the Christian message and because of the grace offered by Jesus, that human heart can be healed, can be redeemed, and can be transformed. From all of us here at Ascension Presents, my name’s Father Mike. God bless. Also be sure to like, subscribe, comment. If you don’t like this, so maybe you don’t like it. You could thumbs down. Thumbs down exists. But I never know why you give a thumbs down. If someone gives A thumbs down, like, OK I mean I get it. Was it like you didn’t like … I should have shaved. Is that a thing? I don’t know. Whatever. Peace.