Bear with me here, I’m trying to reconcile several ideas that have been bouncing around in my head and make them a cohesive whole.
I guess a lot of this comes back to one core concept, religion. Specifically Christianity.
I know I’m rare among my friends in that I remain on fairly good terms with the church I was brought up in, which may just be due to me being raised Presbyterian rather than one of the offshoots of the Baptist movements or straight up Catholicism. I was brought up in a church where we were challenged to question our faith, to argue and discuss concepts; basically I was raised to think as well as feel, and to reach my own conclusions. Admittedly, that isn’t true in every Presbyterian Church, but they’re also one of the few that isn’t about to schism over Order vs. Ardor.
I suppose half of what’s really bugging me is the gross generalizations I keep reading on LiveJournal and the News-Leader, where I see people making assumptions about all Christians or all gays, all conservatives or all liberals…To me, it’s so sad to see us compartmentalize ourselves into so many pockets of “This is my domain, no one else is allowed in.”
I wish we could see the commonalities that connect us all. One of the very basic statements in Wednesday night Logos was “I’m a child of G-d, please treat me that way.” All three Abrahamic faiths hold a creation story that claims we as humans are G-d’s own creation, and pretty much all of the Western Mythos include similar tales of creation by a divine being. While we could spend eternity arguing over whether or not these should be read as literal accounts, the over all point is this. We are all born with a spark of the divine within us, by whatever name we give to the Divine. And that’s why I get pissed off when we start going after the person instead of the idea they’re discussing. I hear you say “Love the sinner, hate the sin” in the same breath with “You’re going to hell because you don’t believe the way I do.”
In truth, any time we read a Holy Book, we interpret what we read through a frame of our own beliefs, the morals we were raised in and now follow ourselves. When we meditate or do seekings, we filter that information into words and feelings we can understand. As much as I’d like to believe in a universal truth, I’m firmly convinced that each of us is a religion unto ourselves, disproving Milton’s statement about “No Man is an island”.
I could bring up the doctrine of the Priesthood of the Believer; paraphrased, it states that what you read from the bible FOR YOURSELF is the correct interpretation. I could bring up that I find it odd that the LDS Church got involved in denying marriage rights after they had to change their own views on marriage during the charge to get Utah statehood. I could bring up the silliness of the letters and comments I read where one Christian tells another Christian that the other is not a REAL Christian because they don’t subscribe to the same basic dogma. But I won’t because I don’t want to judge people I’ve never met based on anonymous comments on a message board, or blanket statements from a national body that doesn’t really speak for all members of the organization. We’d do best to take each other as individuals, Children of G-d, Children of Zeus and Hera, Osirus and Isis, hell, even children of Vishnu and Shiva.
I suppose what I’m really trying to express here is that forcing your belief onto someone else is to disregard their spark of the Divine. Not all non-Christians are evil and damned, nor are all Christians drooling mouth breathers. I know so many good people from all different faith experiences who live their faith and show by example what it means to be a child of G-d without the need to condemn others for their relationship with the Divine. Because all to often condemnation from either side on the other is not from love, but a way to elevate one’s self over someone different who one doesn’t understand. Perhaps if we realized that the greatest thing we can do is love everyone the way they are rather than the way we want them to be, we can actually break out of the divisions that separate us.
But then, maybe I just have a set of rose colored glasses on.