Monday, December 22, 2008

All Aboard?

If you don't have an open mind about learning and/or accepting other faiths as possibly valid then you should probably skip this post entirely so that I don't waste your valuable time. And time is valuable so why waste it on reading something that will irritate you for the rest of the day?

A little over a week ago I wrote about a South Park clip that touched on the topic over which religion will (possibly) keep you out of Hell. You can read the original post here. In the post I described the frustration one may get when "shopping" for a religion as a huge train station with dozens of trains all departing for Heaven. The Passenger has a ticket bearing a single word, Faith. All the trains look similar and all state they're heading for the same destination but which one do you board?

Are they really all heading in the same direction? Why even board a train, why not drive (or walk) there yourself? Would that be easier? Which is more rewarding: riding a train following a predetermined set of tracks to your destination or making your own trail?

I use the word "shopping" as a reflection of the American attitude (or maybe reflex) towards everything in life including religion. Too impatient to reach Enlightenment, try the gift of God, given freely by Christ's sacrifice, found in Christianity. Theological concepts in Christianity too difficult or too contradictory to scientific evidence, try some Jewish Mysticism. The point is that America is blessed with a large (if not the largest) selection of religions available to them. Or is it a curse?

Yesterday at church the pastor gave a very touching, heart warming, while interesting sermon on the true meaning of Christmas. With Christmas almost upon us I believe most churches delivered similar sermons focusing on Christ as the focal point of the holiday season. He started by going over the Gospel accounts on the birth of Jesus and how we as Christians can rely on the Word of God as factual truth. We are to focus on that truth as we celebrate Christmas regardless of what society may say. Society promotes inclusiveness saying it's "alright to worship Muhammad, or Buddha equally as we worship Jesus". We must put society's view on inclusiveness beneath us since Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So not only is Christianity a valid way to Heaven it's the ONLY way.

When I heard this I didn't feel offended, hurt, or even mad. I felt a deep sense of sadness not for myself but for the message that Jesus brought and displayed with his life. Now I know this is a church that exists to spread a certain message about Jesus but it got me thinking. Of course it depends how you interpret the Life of Jesus although some may say there is only one interpretation. Was he not inclusive when he wined and dined with sinners, thieves, and whores? Was he not inclusive when he said "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." [Matthew 19:14 NIV] Now some may say there is a difference between being inclusive to all people but not to all walks of life. Who can say that your personal lifestyle and religious views (or lack thereof) are not directly tied to your psyche? I'm not saying that we can't attack other religious viewpoints because it might destroy someone's sense of reality (or feelings), I'm just saying what's the point in battling over religious viewpoints we can't prove? People are going to naturally defend their view since it's part of their psyche. If we each firmly believe that we're getting on the right train why should we dissuade others from boarding another?

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them.."

If the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the little children can we not also learn to return to that age of innocence and love? If children are born without a sense of prejudice and instinctively know how to love and accept others for who they are how did we, as grownups, stray?

No comments:

Post a Comment