What is a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu or a believer in any one of the hundred or more religious groups in this world? To define any group, any individual is bound to limit human understanding to mere words. Yet, each one of us struggles with a some sense of belonging and at the same time a mystery that is greater than the self. Definitions seldom answer these questions. They tend to limit and confine the human spirit to grow, explore, and create!
When we see or hear voices that demand conformity, a specific style of unity, or a regimented form of behaviour we almost always are tempted to question their sincerity. Those professing to be liberators have turned out to be extremist. Those promising reform simply want every one to accept a new set of beliefs, rules or dogmas. It has become increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the ‘religious right and the politicians’, the militia and the freedom fighter, the atheist and the ‘new ager’. The Catholic and the Protestant, and so on. Each side ultimately holds fast to their particular view of the truth. History has shown time and again that when these views become defined they quickly become grounds for division and separation. At its worst it leads to violence.
I do not want to suggest that religion has failed simply because it trumpeted its own version of the truth – it has failed because it wanted to contain it for it self alone. The expression of truth can only come forth freely when it becomes the combined voice of the human spirit which is only fully alive when it acts as One.
Michael Morwood, author of ‘Is Jesus God? – Finding Our Faith’ perhaps says it best, addressing Christians, when he proposed the following:
The onus is now on those who insist on the truth of a doctrinal proposition to show in a contemporary worldview, devoid of allusions to dualism and scriptural literalism, why Christians should keep on believing this as an article of faith.
The fact that some Christians raise doubts and questions about a proposition that has long been considered essential to Christian faith ought not imply that they are "losing the faith" or are in bad faith. Their expressions of disbelief accompany a normal progression in adult faith development. They are looking to have their faith based on solid reasoning and contemporary knowledge. They are searching to make their faith personally appropriated rather than reliant on blind acceptance of authoritative teaching. Church leadership needs to be able to accompany Christians in this stage of faith development rather than restricting them.
To illustrate just how limited our thinking can be; lets focus for a moment on the emergence of humankind on this planet. Science tell us that the modern human, i.e., Homo Sapien, first appeared in this planet some 180,000 to 160,000 years ago. Since the world is estimated to be about 4 Billion years old, give or take a day, modern human’s presence cannot be more than a few seconds before midnight on a clock where 24 hours represents 4 billion years. The oldest surviving monotheistic religion, according to experts, was first established some 1800 years before Christ. That means that established religion has only been around for the last 4 hours, or so, on a 24 hour clock since those troublesome homo sapiens first appeared on this planet.
Does this not beg the question: If humankind did not understand God as we do now and did not practise their faith as we do today, is God likely to condemn them for their ignorance? Accordingly, is membership in organized religion absolutely necessary for humankinds salvation? Perhaps we need to dwell deeper on this question and look on our specific role on this planet and reconsider how God interacts with his creation. Maybe we have become blinded by our own 'creations' at the expense of a much greater picture, and not allowed it to set us free from our self imposed restrictions.
Let us help each other reach our full potential, revealed in your true-self. Only when we are prepared to recognize the false or ego self , will we be able to live life to the full!. For a simple test, just see how your spirit will come alive by watching the following two videos: