The man who expected to fly

Religion should make us humble. Unfortunately, religion sometimes has the opposite effect. It can make people arrogant. It can lead people to think they know all the answers.

Many years ago a bishop on the East Coast of the United States paid a visit to a small religious college on the West Coast. The president of the college invited members of the staff to have dinner with the bishop.

After dinner, the bishop told the gathering he thought that everything in nature had been discovered, and all possible inventions had been made.

The college president politely disagreed. In his opinion, he said, the human race was on the threshold of brilliant new discoveries.

The bishop challenged the president to mention one.

The president said he thought that within the next 50 years or so, humans would learn to fly.

This threw the bishop into a fit of laughter. “Rubbish, my dear man,” he said. “If God intended us to fly, He would have provided us with wings. Flight is reserved for the birds and the angels.”

The college president’s name was Wright. He had two sons, named Orville and Wilbur, and when they were older they became the inventors of the aeroplane.

Dr Reinhold Niebuhr was one of the greatest scholars of the 20th century.  On one occasion, he said this:

“Bad religion  can be worse than no religion . Most of the evil in this world does not come from evil people. It comes from people who consider themselves good.”

It is probably true that this assertion by one writer may be correct:

“More people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. ” The man responsible for this week’s slaughter in Manchester may well have been affected by bad religion.

Good religion has been responsible for some of the world’s greatest advances. Hospitals, schools, and orphanages are just three of the things introduced by Christlike men and women.

Sadly, however, bad religion has also had an effect upon the world.

Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Mao Tse-Tung were three people who were given some religious instruction when they were young.

They became three of the worst tyrants in history, murdering millions of people.