And unfortunately, the lies and shame have often come at the hands of “faith.”
Religions from all over the globe trade in both of those. President Obama recently caught a lot of flak by comparing the modern Isis mindset to the Christian travesty of the Crusades. And of course while in this politically correct culture you cannot get away with stating truth without it being twisted into something ugly, his comparison was spot on. The point being about all the horrors committed in the name of faith, or religion, for which we should all feel ashamed.
But we can’t discuss that now, can we. Fingers immediately point when such happens, and the speaker—the one who deigned to say what he truly felt—is labeled godless.
Because these days, we all have to prove how much more godly we are than our neighbors.
As if this will get us a better seat on the heavenly bus. Or, is it rather the better positioning we seek on the earthly one, but couch it in heavenly terms? Because do you actually believe God gives a rats’ who was deemed the mostly godly on this earth? Talk about creating God in our own image . . .
The entire history of war boils down to two fights: That among brothers. And that from saying, “My god’s better than your god.”
The lie we buy into concerning religion revolves around other people’s experience of God. Whether the disciples in the Christian bible, Mohammed (his daughter Fatima pushed to the back upon his death) in the Koran, Krishna as Arjuna’s charioteer in The Bhagavad-Gita, or a thousand other characters in religious culture across our planet, for some reason we believe once the leather covers get slapped on a book, the “common” man can no longer experience a celestial sighting or lesson and be turned into a saint.
No, we’re supposed to rely strictly on their ancient experiences as proof of God.
Talk about the ultimate lie.
If one then has just a transcendent experience, the “church” of whatever belief then pours shame upon his head.
Talk about the ultimate shame.
The experience of God is not in talking about God. It’s not in pointing to a book or to someone else’s report of an event. It’s not about waxing reverently on the beauty of the moon. It is the moon. Not the discussion of it.
The experience of God is reverence, rather than oohing over someone else’s encounter.
As Catholic Nun Sister Joan Chittister says, “We live in denial of the reverence for life.”
Did I just lose you with the Catholic part? Well, it probably helps to know I’m about as far away from common Catholic practice as can be on this earth. But, can I love Sister Joan? Be blown away by her insights? Learn from her even though she’s ostensibly part of a different “faith” from mine?
Of course. We are not, as many faiths are practiced these days, in conflict with one another. No true understanding of God ever said that only one way was correct. Plenty of men have construed religion that way. Plenty . . .
And wars have been, and continue to be, fought on this insane belief.
All in the service to lies and shame. Because that’s how men wield power. Divide and conquer in the name of the holiest of holys, where if you disagree, you’re labeled a heathern. Justifiable to be put to some form of death. Because you’re going to Hell anyway, right?
The only experience of God that matters is your experience. Others can point the way, but they’re not the way. If they are, then you’re worshiping the finger pointing to the moon, rather than the moon.
And that only one of these ideas of God can be true is the lie of the most subversive sort. It keeps us in war. It divides us forever. It effectively shuts any door to reconciling our differences.
Or, as Sister Joan puts it so much more eloquently, “God comes in many colors, and speaks in many tones.”
How do you experience God?