“People are being punished for persecuting Christians.” “Our Buddhist shrines survived…God has given this curse to show that Buddhism is still alive.”
I vividly recall these troubling religious responses to the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunamis a few years ago. What is more troubling is that they can all be supported by ancient scriptures. Sacred texts of all faiths present a God of boundless love one moment and as a vengeful father on other occasions. The same Bible that declares “God is love” has God ordering the killing of every man, woman, child and animal in a village.
Will the real God please stand up? The established revelations were written by people of tribal and empire worlds, and their God reflects this consciousness. He is a pre-web God who reigns with authority and is employed as a co-pilot by the ruling class. Yet, prophet Jesus confidently declared, “The Spirit of the Lord has sent me to set at liberty the oppressed.”
I have come to see scriptures as a record of our ancestor’s grappling for meaning, ethics, equality and ultimate destiny in the universe.
As technology and societies evolve our experience of reality shifts as well. The term “global village” is no longer a quaint metaphor.
The villager of Indonesia is no longer from a different tribe, but is now my neighbor via TV, computer and smart phone. Interconnection haltingly strives to replace tribe & empire. A God that fails to evolve is crippled to guide us forward.
A universal faith seeks the common themes of wisdom, spirit, ethics and beauty as guides for holy living. The Apostle John put it this way. “No one has ever seen God; but if we love each other, God lives in us, and God is made complete in us.”
Should strong relationships be formed with those who have different religious views than you? Rev. King made it unequivocally plain. “We must live together as brothers (and sisters) or perish together as fools.”
Chuck Freeman is the founding minister of Free Souls Church in Round Rock and can be found online at www.freesoulschurch.org.