“Christians did not have a corner on love, wisdom, and justice. Christians were not the only ones nourished by faith and empowered by their faith to work to change the world.” Diana Eck (Encountering God)
Several years ago, a friend and I were discussing the concept of heaven and hell. She told me told me that unless someone is doing good deeds in the name of Christ their deeds mean nothing at all. I have great difficulty with this perspective. This conversation occurred right about the time that Rob Bell’s book Love Wins was coming out and the basis of the conversation was centered around the idea that Gandhi was going to hell. When you can make the argument that Gandhi is in hell while many people who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior are the causes of great injustice are not, I think it’s time to reevaluate our thinking.
Heaven and Hell aside, how can we define a God or gods of infinite virtue with finite language?
Eck says, “The moment we human beings grasp God with jealousy and possessiveness, we lose hold of God. One might add that the religious point here is quite the opposite of God’s jealousy, of which we hear so much in the Old Testament; it is God’s infinite capacity to love and the problem of human jealousy.”
We are finite beings trying to grasp the understanding of the infinite. It is impossible for us to ever fully understand the desires of the infinite. We can only make assumptions based on human understanding of God or gods, and this will never be a universal belief. But for reasons of greed and pride, we feel the need to hold possession of something that cannot be contained.
Eck tells about a discussion with a parishoner after a service one week about three approaches to encountering other religions; the exclusivist, that our way of thinking about God excludes all others, the inclusivist, that we just understand God better than those of other faiths, and the pluralist that says that God transcends our complete comprehension, therefore we must leave room for understanding from others.
For someone who, generally, has used the term universalist I like this alternative. Universalist just implies that everyone has place in the picture. Universalism would seem to describe Eck definition for diversity; “diversity simply is a fact…” Pluralism implies what you do with it. Diversity is there and everyone is a part of the story. Pluralism implies that once you’ve acknowledged that there are people who are different from you, you gain understanding of their beliefs and begin to learn more about yourself as a person of faith. Pluralism is actively relating to others for the purpose of finding understanding.
By living in a way that says “we are right, and you are wrong,” we blind ourselves to the potentials of the human race. We all have something to offer, and we cannot eliminate voices from the story because they do not align with our own. Our beliefs are not stagnant and we cannot lives as though they are. As social beings we cannot isolate ourselves from people who are different from ourselves. We deny ourselves growth and opportunity.
…that ended up being one of - those - Christian movies.
Disney movies; preparing us for adult life since almost forever.
Upon hearing the news of such an atrocious tragedy, most all of me was consumed by deep-rooted anger and disappointment and horror and terror. I read a news article that was written as if it were a comic book concerning a city in desperate need of a hero. Ironic, isn’t it?
The news article…
CORY: Mr. Feeny, look. This show’s proving that we’re absorbing the right type of knowledge, alright? I mean that’s why we’re the champions. (classroom applauds)
FEENY: Champions of what, Mr. Matthews? Of a generation whose verbal and mathematical skills have sunk so low, when you have the highest level of technology at your fingertips? Gutenberg’s generation thirsted for a new book every six months! Your generation gets a new web page every six seconds! And how do you use this technology? To beat King Koopa! And save the princess. Shame on you. You deserve what you get. (bell rings) Sit down. Stay where you are. For the first time, I choose to walk out on you.
#this shit was raw
I’d say ‘Humanist’ but I think you get the deal…
I disagree to an extent. My understanding of the Christian faith tells me the same as the Atheist in this… But I agree to a point. My faith moves me to action.