Looking Past Religion To See Goodness

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What does it take to be a good man?

We live in a world in need of more good men -- men who strive to be better fathers, husbands and citizens.

This week, the world lost a good man. Pope John Paul II was a man who worked to feed the hungry, endeavored to bring peace where there was strife, and one who reached out his hand to give comfort to those in despair. He brought hope to many who felt hopeless, and touched the hearts of young people and sparked a renewed desire in them to search for God and spirituality.

He was a man who stood by his convictions and gave strength to millions who looked to him for stability in an unstable world.

But no matter what religion or faith we might be, we should all be willing to look past the secular labels we place on the doors of our churches, and instead see a human being who chose to do something good with his life.

In short, regardless of his religion, here was a man who loved his neighbor as himself.

Every day, we are bombarded with images on the television and in magazines that tell us we should be No. 1. The profit-hungry manufacturers of elegant cars, high-tech electronics, flashy jewelry, and expensive fashions tell us we need to put ourselves first and have the very best. They imply that we need to do whatever it takes to be the top dog and that we are less of a man if we don't drink the right beer or reek of the latest high-priced fragrance peddled by half-naked models.

This is all an illusion, and one that is blinding many to the simple truths we will find if we look to a life of service and compassion.

I am grateful for the examples of men like Pope John Paul II. I am not of his faith, but I recognize the power of his faith and his love for others.

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