Protestants would tend to deny reason a place in their faith, citing St. Paul and Luther: “Saved by faith and not by works lest any man should boast.” Nonetheless, one cannot arrive at “right belief,” “right reading,” or “right interpretation” without reason. Use of reason, while denying it, can yield insidious results. Witness the multitudinous divisions within Protestantism immediately following its establishment, and continuing yet to this day.
I have explored in this blog some universal themes emanating from biblical scriptures. Those same themes will find expression in other individuals and in other cultures and traditions. Despite the differences, Joseph Campbell states that,
[W]hat human beings have in common is revealed in myths. . . . Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of human life.
What happens when we fail to see a deeper meaning in the Holy Scripture claimed by all three of the monotheistic Abrahamic religions: Jusaism, Christianity and Islam? What happens when the reader settles for a prosaic, literal meaning of the words found there, as though it were only an account of a supernatural creative act of our omnipotent God “out there,” above and apart from us and creation; a temporal and false, therefore evil, world beneath the purely spiritual ascendancy of its creator, truly and accurately revealed in the Trinity, perceived by faith to the contradiction of man’s reason: God, Jesus and Holy Spirit? Three but One? Joseph Campbell, in The Power of Myth, addresses the resulting quagmire by citing the Zen philosopher, Dr. Suzuki:
God against man. Man against God. Man against nature. Nature against man. Nature against God. God against nature – very funny religion!
It is NOT my intention to destroy the faith of anyone. It IS my intention to stretch and strengthen my own inclusive faith in this endeavor, to encourage all others in their spiritual life, and to build up the faith of all as “God” (one of the names that I use that is generally understood by people in my religious culture) is revealed to each. It is that same God who is revealed throughout the world to all peoples, of many different names or of no name at all.
The divine, the transcendent is revealed throughout the world.
Would you please share your own faith story?