Faith: restoring, not dividing

Not many students can say they were raised in both a Protestant and Catholic home, but those of us that were raised that way are called the “Arnold Palmers of Christianity.”

My life has been filled with Christian churches and Catholic missions, pastors and priests and devotionals and rosaries. My Catholic and Protestant upbringing has shown me that my faith is not a dichotomy, but instead is one Christian faith.

In the fall of 2010 I had the opportunity to study in Northern Ireland for a semester. I would highly recommend this program to everyone. There I learned a great deal about the strife between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, especially during “the Troubles.”

This ongoing conflict began when a group of Irish loyalists, known as the Ulster Volunteer Force, bombed a Catholic-owned pub on the Shankhill road.

This eventually sparked an age of violence killing many Protestants and Catholics until the late 1990s, when both groups called for a ceasefire.

During our studies, we took our history lessons even further by visiting some of the battlegrounds and burial sites. I will never forget what I saw.

Even to this day through our own politics, education and religious beliefs this divisions still breeds amongst us.

Both the Catholics and Protestants are falsely accusing the other side of incorrect stereotypes due to their lack of knowledge and understanding of who they really are. Let me explain.

Not all Catholics pray to the saints, vote democratic and follow the Pope Benedict XVI. In the same way, not all Protestants speak in tongues, vote conservative and follow Billy Graham.

We don’t stop there, we even divide amongst our own Protestant and Catholic cultures! How distressing is that? Yet, is there hope for both sides to come together? The answer is simple: yes, through Jesus Christ.

Look at it from this perspective, both Catholics and Protestants believe in a corporate Church, serving the poor, putting God before all and ultimately, make disciples of all nations.

The Catholic Church has done an excellent job understanding the need to serve the poor and the necessity to become missionaries. And in the same way, the evangelical Church has done an incredible job sending out more and more missionaries each and every year.

Both sides have intentions to put Christ before and over all. I am not trying to make anyone develop a sense of pity for the Catholic Church, but help someone understand that both groups are much more similar than he thinks.

Even though my mother was raised Protestant and my father Catholic, they will continue to serve as God’s witnesses and minister to others side by side.

We can do the same by joining the Christian force and further preventing Satan’s corruption over this Earth.

Let us always be reminded of our Christian history and remember that both groups derive from the same branch of Christianity.

“Peace be with you.”