In regards to Kim Pilkington's letter on Dec. 2 "Clear View of Scripture through Belief":
Let me preface this response by saying that I agree with folks on the message boards that the News-Leader editorial page is probably not the best place to conduct discussions on theology. However, since that is where this discussion started...
I'm not quite sure where to start replying to you; even a cursory glance of your response shows that you misunderstood and woefully misinterpreted what I was saying in my Nov. 29th letter.
Let's start with a place where we agree. All people are children of G-d. The difference here is you seem to suggest only those who follow the teachings of Christ are Children of G-d, rather than all of G-d's creations being G-d's children. If G-d created one thing, G-d created all things. Or as the Declaration of Independence states rather nicely, "all men are created equal".
Now then, by far the biggest issue I had with your response was you stating your personal views with a "We" in front of them. While I'd like to believe you were using the "royal we", I was left with the impression that you presume to speak on behalf of all practitioners of Christianity. Which I'm fairly certain you don't. A quick glance through the on-line comments to your letter disproves that notion.
In your letter you equate judgment with mercy and condemnation with forgiveness. While I'm sure that the government portrayed in in George Orwell's 1984 would be proud of that assessment, they are all four very distinct and separate concepts. It is your right to believe as you want. However, it is not your place to judge me, my faith, or my relationship with G-d.
You presume that I see myself as "a little G-d". I assure you that this is not the case. I do, however, see myself as an entity deserving of respect; the same respect I give to others, regardless of whether or not I agree with their beliefs and faith or lack thereof.
You say "[I] interpret to please myself" while "we seek the Truth". I say seeking the truth means finding my own meaning in what I read rather than regurgitating someone else's take on a text. In fact, I believe that was one of Martin Luther's biggest ideas with the Reformation. By publishing Holy Writ in the vernacular, he allowed everyone to read scripture and find the answers for themselves.
You claim at the end of your letter not to be judging me. However, after reading everything that precedes that statement, I respectfully disagree. It seems quite a bit like judgment to question the beliefs you assume I carry without stopping to think about a single word I said.
Had you read a bit closer, you would have seen that what I was really suggesting was not rushing to judgment about other people based on personal prejudices. Just because someone doesn't believe exactly the way you choose to does not make them a bad person. It's by expanding our horizons and challenging ourselves and our beliefs that we grow both as humans and as children of the divine.
Edit: After re-reading this, does it really sound like I swallowed a thesaurus?