Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
While recently visiting a (Won) Buddhist temple, I heard one practitioner refer to Jesus as a Buddha. I was struck by the generosity of calling the leader of another faith one’s most cherished, revered term. In Won Buddhism, as I understand it, there is an effort for each person to embrace their Buddhahood and see the Buddha in another, so the statement was not at all unusual in that context. However it did lead me to a place of introspection about my own faith path. Could I, raised a Christian, return the favor? Could I say “Buddha is a Savior, Redeemer”?
I have been frustrated and turned off by the churches I have visited that seem to place their God high above any other God. If there truly is one God, isn’t that one God as high as any God can be?
I recently attended a conference at a megachurch in the Midwest. And I was disturbed by two of the things I experienced there. One of those things was the lead pastor (who I have followed and respected for many years) saying that “Christianity was the only Religion about Love”. Really? Really? Have you explored any other religions? My personal experience with other, non-Christian religions is they really are about love. They are about getting out negativity so the love can flow in. The second thing that disturbed me during my megachurch experience was surprisingly, the music. Although the music was inspiring and energetic, the lyrics were anything but. One song in particular featured the message: “Our God is stronger than your God, Our God is greater than Your God, etc.” Really? Are we in seventh grade or something? Are we really that competitive?
To me it seems when you have to tell someone your God is better, stronger, greater, more loving…than perhaps deep down you have some doubts on this topic?
What if there is only one God, and this one God is manifested in many beautiful names? Those names could include Jesus Christ, Wonderful, Counselor Allah, Buddha, and scores of other names.
If we believe in one God, let’s start living and talking like it, and stop being so competitive. Start accepting that that one God is so brilliant that he made many ways to show himself before us all.
There are passages in the Bible that really resonate with me around this issue, for instance, this one from John (10:16) As Jesus said, “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd”.
Perhaps the variety in religion is part of God’s big plan, and we should start showing some respect. Why wouldn’t God show up differently in the varied landscape of world culture. In this quote by theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (Divine Providence 254) he seems to call this idea out quite clearly. “When a religion has been implanted in a nation, the Lord leads that nation according to the precepts and dogmas of its own religion. He has provided that there shall be in every religion precepts like those in the Ten Commandments….The nation that regards these precepts as Divine and lives according to them from a religious motive is saved.”.