The idea that practicing a religion is just a result of where you live and grew up, with no greater truth or value than other cultural or social connections is increasingly common. Still, we feel the pull of spirituality in our technology driven lives. As we engage and pursue questions of life and death, we can go with the flow or seek God’s outstretched hand. People with spiritual calling try to find answers for questions with much easier and broader access to information and therefore greater awareness of multiple religions and belief structures than was common for most people until recently. People have always engaged their faith to varying levels, but have historically identified strongly with one religion in particular, that is changing.
Many religions both past and present, give similar messages of love and acceptance, and impart parallel stories of creation, floods, and judgment of our souls. Often separated primarily by names, places and details, they rise from multiple cultures, in different ages and from distant locations. Like different pieces of a layered puzzle they overlap each other, filling in gaps while broadening the horizon and focusing perspective. As a Christian I cannot deny the clear necessity of God’s influence on the faith, if not the beliefs, of many of those who are not. These commonalities are used by many to discredit faith and even more so, religion. But these similarities actually work to reinforce the case for a God of all creation and the less than Godly nature of all created beings.
Though we have evidence of humans living 200,000 years ago and proof of complex building over 10,000 years ago, we can’t give an accurate account of what human society was doing 5,000 years ago. As we continue to uncover and decipher more about our past, we find things we have been taught for generations to be absolutely true are completely wrong, and things we were assured were simply myth or allegory are accurate accounts. The written records we do have which form our understanding of history are clues to our past but not at all the iron clad all encompassing truth of what was happening as they are portrayed. I’ve read news reports and seen video reporting of events I was present for and found the actual experience to be nothing like the story being told. The slant of the story teller or the many stories never told make history a vast mystery in many respects. The same distortion in the retelling of events taking place today has gone on since men have told stories. Some key players are mentioned, the writers perception or propaganda spin of the situation recorded, the elevation or diminishment of importance of the people or events presented as fact by the teller.
As much as we would like to think religion is free from this sort of edited, or partial records edition of history, it is not. The Bible for example, makes no mention, good or bad about many peoples, places and things that existed when the books in it were written. Not being mentioned, or having only brief reference doesn’t mean they didn’t exist, or weren’t significant. More importantly and possibly harder to come to terms with, is those omissions don’t diminish the Bible’s message, value or truth. Most religious people don’t think they have all the answers. They have enough answers, enough to cast their faith upon.
Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, Jews, Hindus, any religion you can think of really, has very few strict adherents or even believers in every single aspect, rule or instruction of its teachings. Anyone who comes close is considered ignorant, extremist, fanatical, or just plain crazy. We are taught religion by those around us, so we’re all likely to end up following the basic religion of those around us, but God reaches out to everyone. Jesus’ preaching to the living and the dead allows the opportunity for all to follow Christ, the only way to the Father.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”-Jesus