Here’s something worth remembering: Success in business, abundance in material circumstances, fortune, or even general safety have nothing to do with how much you pray, how pious you think you are, how you separate yourself from those you consider sinful, or how literally or figuratively you interpret whatever scripture or holy writings to which you are culturally accustomed.
No matter their religious affiliation, people who preach prosperity gospels, condemn “sinners” by ugly speech, pray for the death of others, or other such abominations are as far from God as one can possibly get. Fundamentalist beliefs are no guarantee of salvation, a trip upwards during a rapture, 72 virgins waiting for you on the other side, or even some earthly reward. When Jesus said no one gets into the Kingdom of God except through Him, do you know what He meant? He meant a belief in God, a oneness with His spirit. In the New Testament God is Jesus is the Holy Spirit, all united, three in one. And that is just one sector of humanity’s view. Period. Others may believe in a different manifestation of God, but He is still within all of us. Everything in all religions is just cultural frosting on a cake baked up by different groups.
If you can understand and feel that God is in all of us by belief Jesus, or being an Episcopalian, or becoming a Buddhist, or being Jewish, or being Wiccan, or following Islam, or any other of the machinations humans have cloaked over the Divine, that is fine. But condemning other people to a hell of your own religion when they do not believe as you do? You have separated yourself from the Holy. If you think you have to support a religion that proselytizes and evangelizes on “fundamental” scripture whether it be Torah, New Testament, Koran, or a Grimoire in order to be one with God, you have completely missed the point of God’s spirit. That is the problem with Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism, whatever set of beliefs that claims to be the only path to spiritual oneness with God.
Declaring that governments must follow this religion or that religion in order to serve man is a fallacy. Morals transcend religion, and religions who tell you that they don’t are wrong. Kindness, acceptance, love, respect, and compassion are universal truths, and those truths are universally God. Even atheists who embrace a moral compass are connected with God, whether they believe in one or not. God is the stuff between all of us, the stuff between atoms, electrons, protons, and neutrons, the glue that sticks us all together. I say it all the time: God is great; God is glue.
While I chose to have fellowship with Episcopal traditions, I am leary of the self-pious, the literalists, and the powerful of any religion laying sole claim to God. It’s time people grew up and accepted others along their differences as part of Holy creation. While Christianity celebrates Advent, Shia Muslims recognize Arba’een, Judaism observes Hanukkah, Wiccans celebrate Yule, or whatever religion gathers to commune together whenever, it would do everyone well to remember we are all on one planet; we are all stardust; we are all destined to become one with the Universe and God one day; and we should treat everyone with love, compassion, generosity, and respect.
Merry Christmas, to one and all! Let love rule!