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 to belief,” “right reading,” or “right interpretation” without a tacit application of reason. Use of reason, while denying it, tends to yield insidious results; hence the multitudinous divisions within Protestantism immediately following its establishment, and continuing yet to this day.
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, and to encourage 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). It is that same God who is revealed throughout the world to all peoples, of many different names or of no name at all.
Reason and faith do not conflict. Science and religion, indeed mythology, do not conflict. Joseph Campbell tells us in Power of Myth,
Science is breaking through now into the mystery dimensions. It’s pushed itself into the sphere the myths he is talking about. It’s coming to the edge.… The edge, the interface between what can be known and what is never to be discovered because it is a mystery that transcends all human research.
That’s the reason we speak of the divine. There is a transcendent energy source. When the physicist observes subatomic particles, he is seeing a trace on the screen. These traces come and go, come and go, and we come and go, and all of life comes and goes. That energy is the informing energy of all things. Mythic worship is addressed to that.
I particularly am inspired by the first verse of the Tao, as quoted by Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom Tao. I believe that it expresses better than any other writing of which I am aware the God that is revealed to me in the Bible. My God is not defined in prose or narrative, but in poetry, such as that of the Psalms. The term used in these verses, the Tao, is not defined. If I am thinking in terms of the 12 step program, I can simply replace “Tao,” with “my Higher Power” without harm to either; or, if I am thinking in terms of my Christian faith and worship, or in terms of meaningful theology, I can likewise replace “Tao” with “God,” “Yahweh,” “the Ground of All Being,” and other imaginative terms. Muslims can do the same substitution without harm, as can Jews, Buddhists, Hindu, many tribal or local religious groups, or self – proclaimed agnostics or atheists.
The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
But The name that can be named
is not the eternal name.
The Tao is both named and unnamed.
As nameless it is the origin of all things;
as named it is the Mother of 10,000 things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery;
ever desiring, one sees only manifestations,
And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.
We are truly one: I in Thee, Thee in me, each of us reflecting the image of the Divine, the Transcendent and the Supremely Personal. Let us join hands and together travel, each in the name of his or her God as God is revealed to each.
The divine, the transcendent is revealed throughout the world.
Would you please share your own faith story?