Saturday, August 28, 2010
A Question of Faith
I've received a number of questions off-line recently. Things like
What do you have against religion?
What's wrong with being a Christian?
Why do you hate God?
Why can't you put your empty glass in the dishwasher?
OK, that last one really doesn’t have anything to do with the blog. (But, yes, I'm getting better about it.)
As to the other questions, they merit some discussion.
First off, I should state that I consider myself a Free-Market Christist. I believe in the redeeming mission of the Christ-spirit who indwelt—among others throughout the ages—Yahshua of Galilee. I believe that without the intervention of the Christ-spirit, humanity would have slid into an abyss of materialism from which we might never have escaped. I believe that by following Yahshua's example (as particularly suited to the Western psyche), one may draw nearer to the goal of individual spiritual fulfillment and unity (or, at-one-ment) with the Divine. As a good free-market kind of guy, I also believe that everyone has the right to find and follow his own spiritual path, so long as he does not infringe on the rights of others to do the same.
Therein lies what I have against religion. The very etymology of the word reveals the problem with the institution: Re-ligio, to bind. The teacher Yahshua said that Truth liberates. If the purpose of religion is to restrain or to bind its adherents, what does that tell us about the institutions of religion? And what does that tell us about those dogmatists (of any religion) who insist that their path to God is The Path to God?
As to hating God, nothing could be more absurd (for me or for anyone else). I give no credence to the notion of a white-bearded King of the Universe seated on an invisible throne in the sky. Rather, my notion of God is as the One. The Grand Architect of the Universe. The Uncreated. The First Cause. The Spark (and the fuel and the oxidant) behind the Big Bang.
With this view as the foundation, assuming the One was all that was before anything else, then all that is must be of the One. Quantum strings, atoms, proteins, animals, planets, stars. All that exists has its origin (through natural processes, known or unknown) in the One. Everything that is, is made up of God-stuff. To hate God, then, or to hate another ________ (nation, race, religion, political party, football team, you-name-it) is to hate myself, to hate the air I breathe or the food I eat.
Keeping this in mind, then, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a Christian. Or with being a Muslim or Jew or Buddhist or Ba'hai or Pagan or…or…or…. What is wrong is claiming a monopoly on The Will of God. What is wrong is demanding adherence to a particular set of beliefs or conduct in order to be deemed Worthy. What is wrong is insisting someone give up her free will in order to be accepted.
And what is wrong is to accept as Truth a version of history distorted through the lens of ignorance, hatred, bigotry or greed. One need only watch competing newscasts to see how the events of only hours or days ago can be distorted into competing versions of truth. How much more so with events from a century, a millennium, or six millennia ago?
What is Truth? Truth, like the One, is simply what it is. My understanding of it changes every day as I learn and experience more and more upon this magnificent journey of becoming. I celebrate the freedom to pursue it, the opportunity to share it, and the possibility to find it in those with whom I disagree.
And I laud the rights of others to tell me they think I'm wrong. In the end, it's not a question of my truth or his truth or her truth. There is one's understanding, and there is Truth. How and where the two meet, well—that's a question of faith.