Friday, August 26, 2011
A friend of mine asked me the other day to explain what I meant when I said that 'you need to study religion to understand all of the grey areas.' I don't have a perfect memory of saying this, since it was at a really long lunch when he and I talked about it, but I think I was mainly talking about how much overlap there is between the religions I have studied. All of them, Buddhism and Hinduism included. I think that religions are the way mankind tries to understand our infinite God. I think all religions have a glimpse of the God we love and want to glorify, and in that way it is hard to see them as 100% wrong. That is what I meant by grey areas. Growing up we were essentially told that Christianity is right and anything else is totally wrong and is (depending on who you listen to) evil. When you start to learn about those “wrong” religions, it is easy to see instances where they get it right. Look at the faithful prayer seen in Islam for example, or the importance of denying yourself in Buddhism.
While these are grey areas they are not necessarily proof that the religions are correct. Once you accept that every other religion could be wrong it is easy to see that we as humans may have distorted the real mission/passion/purpose of Christ. We tread in very dangerous water when we think that we have it all figured out. Our pride can get in the way of our ability to see where we have gone off track. When we as humans and religious people called “to be and make disciples” go off track, we can get in the way of what it is that God is trying to accomplish in and through us.
I know I probably sound like I am straying from God, but let me assure you that I am not. I have come to recognize that God moves in the grey areas in my life, and in the world. Take the world’s reaction to the Japan earthquake/tsunami for example; many countries rushed to the aid of Japan in that time of crisis. We all, as humans, seem to inherently feel compassion for those in situations that are worse than our own. I don’t think that is a coincidence. I think that is one of the ways we were made in God’s image. But God’s image is not as black and white as some Christians (read Muslim, Jews, Hindus, etc) would have you think.
God is bigger than any one religion or worldview. I believe that Christianity is the closest to the Truth in the lineup of all religions. That does not mean that I believe we have it all right. We have a lot that we, as American Christians (and I'm assuimg other Christians as well), do wrong and don’t understand. But we are only human. We are limited in our understanding and in our ability to see God’s master plan.
Sorry I got super preachy. Sometimes it happens and I can’t make it stop.