All together now

  • Question from CF, location not given, but believed to be the USA

    Jesus points to a spiritual way to heaven while clergy seem locked to Church tradition. Who can broaden our scope with an “Honor God Society” for a common bond among all whom have faith?

    The very fact that we have so many religious traditions in this world seem to indicate two things: 1) human beings have an innate sense of something beyond the physically verifiable; and 2) few people agree on what that is.

    A God-honouring society that encompasses all faiths seems like an excellent idea and many people have tried to put one together, usually to find that they have founded yet another new religion. The issue for anyone trying to adopt a pluralist approach is how do you take the common experience of religion and create something that is morally binding and yet redeeming in the life of the adherent.

    To put this problem another way – it’s not enough to merely recognise the common ground between different traditions, there has to be a way of reconciling the uncommon ground as well. So, for example, how would we ‘honour God’? Would it be through prayer, particular worship patterns, offerings of food, sacrifices or something else? The questions of ‘ortho-praxis’ (correct action) are almost as complicated as those of ‘orthodoxy’ (correct belief).

    On that note, many ‘clergy’ would argue that ‘Church tradition’ maintains, upholds and explains Jesus’ ‘spiritual way to heaven’. How would that viewpoint be accommodated in a pluralist movement?

    The best that can be done in many respects is to agree to disagree, keep the doctrines and the dogmas open to discussion, answer people’s questions truthfully and respect the fact that other peoples’ beliefs may be different, which can be hard to do if you think those beliefs are pointless, daft or just plain wrong. From a Christian point of view, very few people are argued into the Kingdom of God, so telling them they are wrong about things seems to be a waste of time. Far better to honour the God who made all human beings through respecting his creatures, than to treat them with disdain and discourtesy, acting out of sinful arrogance and pride.

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