Tag Archives: faith

Tolerance and Intolerance

After being scolded with the following message (name withheld), “Wish we would have known the Real Ed about 25 years ago. You put on a good show I will give you that.”I responded with these words: “Though you may not like where I am on my personal journey, it is patently unfair to insinuate that what I preached and believed was a fake. That is untrue. During most of my life I was convinced that the Evangelical way of looking at things was correct. I don’t believe that anymore. My views have always leaned to the liberal side. If I had been, as you say, “the Real Ed” (I take that to be as I present my thinking today) then what difference would that have made? Only because one believes the same as you do is/was the criteria for gaining access to family and friends who are Christian? If so, I am offended.” (Some of the above was edited from the original message due to a few minor grammatical and syntax errors.)

Truth is hard to come by. There seem to be those who believe the truth they espouse is the only truth and that attempting to understand one’s faith from a different perspective is somehow worth insulting with little understanding. Though the above is mild by comparison to several others I have received from “friends”, I find it interesting that one would be inclined to distance themselves from my perspective without asking why or attempting to understand. I can only conclude there is little or no interest in exploring faith’s foundations, except as taught within the system. “It must be so because I have been told it was so”, and if one has always been told one thing there cannot be another.


Denying My Christian Faith So I Can “Carry” and Go to War

One of the most perplexing issues to me as an observer of those who call themselves “Christian” is the rationalizations put forward by the “washed” to carry, conceal and make war (not necessarily defensive but preemptive or aggressive war). I am also confused by the attitude that would take down or frustrate those who think, look or act differently than themselves, such as Muslims, Gays and atheists. How is this kind of thought and behavior process Christian? Blindly following one’s own desires at the expense of true discipleship seems to me far too common among those who would call themselves followers of Christ. I see it as hypocritical and worthy of damnation.

Where are the true believers, the one’s who are consistent with their faith and platform? Where are the lovers of men and women who reach out without agenda to those who pose a religious and philosophical difference to their own? And, who are those who set themselves up as authorities regarding the truth, who argue passionately and arrogantly that they know anyone else’s religion is specious when compared to theirs? I am appalled and angered by the lack of compassion for those who see, hear, feel and think about religion, politics and living one’s life different than the professed masses of Jesus followers. This kind of prejudicial and convenient/inconvenient thinking has to stop or we will be at each other’s throats until we are no more, or is that what Christians want?


Coercion and Universalism

There is a tendency in the religious community to universalize spiritual experience. As if to say that when one comes to a new revelation it is imperative everyone/many/most have a similar or identical awareness. This is what most disagreements amount to and is the foundation of most wars. It is unfortunate that when one sees a glimmer of spiritual light in a different color one finds themselves looking into the stained glass window rather than out.

For some reason, human beings cannot tolerate differing viewpoints without mild to major frustration and feel the need to use coercion on those judged apart. Latent to blatant use of tactics made to impress, manipulate or force harmonized thinking are implemented to bring back those who have “fallen away.” Independent thinking and personal responsibility are sacrificed for the comfort of the larger group. Trusting one’s self to have determined a path, that for them/us is the right path, even in the face of opposing and often contrary traditional and sentimental thinking is very difficult and often results in self-doubt. Often the end result is conceding to those who, because of their greater numbers, appear to know the truth. 

I encourage exploration into one’s faith and thinking, even if it takes you on paths you never knew existed and feel unprepared to explore. Find them out for your self. Do not take the word of others, including this writer, but explore the “truth” by asking the basic questions. Finding the truth for yourself is not easy work. It will be a challenge. The easy way out is to accept what you have been told without raising questions about it. Don’t succumb to that line of reasoning as you will have nothing in the end.

 

The Christ

A quote from “Let the Great World Spin” a novel by Colum McCann…

“Corrigan told me once that Christ was quite easy to understand. He went where He was supposed to go. He stayed where He was needed. He took little or nothing along, a pair of sandals, a bit of a shirt, a few odds and ends to stave off the loneliness. He never rejected the world. If He had rejected it, He would have been rejecting mystery. And if He rejected mystery, He would have been rejecting faith.”


Zealot

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Zealot, Reza Aslan, Ph.D.

The hue, cry, and pious reaction over a Muslim having the audacity to write a book describing the milieu out of which the message of Jesus arose is disturbing. If this kind of logic were transferred to that of a Christian attempting to write and research Muslim personalities there would be few books to help and assist us in understanding Islamic culture. It often takes a person outside the faith to help us see ourselves as we really are.

Dr. Aslan, though a Muslim, wasn’t always so. For many years he was a Christian as are several members of his family who currently practice their Christian faith. Dr. Aslan has turned from Christianity to Islam. This religious identification change is what appears to disturb most potential readers. And why? I am told he calls to question some of the basic doctrines of Christianity. As I have not read his book yet I cannot comment on its content. However, getting an outside view of the faith is always helpful in causing each of us to question what, how and in whom we believe.

It is my belief that there are many who fear Dr. Aslan’s assertions are right and for that reason will do their best to avoid his arguments. That is sadly true of many who would hide behind their faith rather than challenge their intellect. If there be a God, this human attribute we call “intellect” was given us by Him. Would He give us something we should not use when it comes to questions of faith and, more directly, faith in God? I hope not!