Rephrasing the question to be more specific, “If you are a monotheist, believing in one God, are there multiple paths that allow us to truly connect with that Supreme Being?”
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
Today’s Key Question: If you are a monotheist, believing in one God, are there multiple paths that allow us to truly connect with that Supreme Being?
Today’s Key Answer: Yes.
I’d like to sit down with you with a piece of paper or a small white board to help explain, but we’ll have a go just as we are. There are several monotheostic religions in the world, the main ones being Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Arguably there are others, but we do not need to either make or refute that case here. The three main monotheistic religions have different views of God, or they would not be separate religions. If they all had the same views and thoughts about the Supreme Being, then we would need only two, or perhaps even one, monotheistic religion. Does that make sense so far?
Okay, then; their different views about God can mean only one of three things:
- Only one of the religions has it right about God, and the others are wrong.
- All of them are right in their unique views of God, meaning that there are really multiple gods–flying in the face of the shared, core belief in one God.
- None of them have it right about God.
But the shared, core belief is that there is one God, a God who is real, whole and universal. I share that belief with a deep conviction. I find it incredulous to believe that God would permit, much less mandate, us to live in a world where by accident or personal choice, the majority of us were condemned to being forever unconnected to Him because we were on the wrong dogmatic path, i.e., we did not select the correct religion, the correct set of specific teachings.
The largest of the world’s religions is Christianity, at about 2.3B, followed by Islam at 1.9B, in a world of almost 8B. I disagree with some of my Christian brethren who are convinced that one can come to God only through a belief in Christ. And they will quote scripture to help make their case. And judging from what I have seen, there are a fair number of Muslims who feel that way about Mohammed and Allah, and also have quotes from the Quran and the Hadith to back them up.
But what about the 13-year-old shepherd boy, let’s call him Batu, in Mongolia who gets killed by a runaway yak? In this hypothetical example, Batu grew up in a tightly knit, loving family, but a family that while spiritual was not religious. Is anyone willing to say that their view of God allows for Batu the shepherd boy to be without God for all eternity because he did not adhere to the correct set of religious doctrines and dogma?
Are you? I’m not.
I believe in one God, and my path to that God is Christ. It is impossible to connect the dots of my life without seeing God’s hand all along the way, and Christ is my path to, and connection with, God. There are other legitimate and effective ways to make that connection, to see and experience the wonder that is God. Christ said that the two main commandments are to love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t other religions, including Judaism and Islam, vigorously support those principles? And which major religion has an issue with the 10 Commandments.
Q. Okay, Will, why is this a topic on Revolution 2.0™? Have you changed your focus to religion? A. No. One of the themes that is often mentioned here is the need for a moral compass.
Having a moral compass is a recurring theme for those of us at Revolution 2.0™. I refer to its importance frequently in my semi-weekly episodes, so it is entirely appropriate for us to return to the subject from time-to time.
If you don’t have a solid moral compass that you follow, then nothing else matters. Nothing. You will simply be a cork on the oceans of life, following the changing paths of the tides, currents and waves. I know; I have been there. And I still have to fight to stay with and strengthen my adherence to my moral compass.
What are some examples of an effective moral compass? And how do you know? Two things: 1. Your compass, your true north, has to be something born and fueled outside of you–with externally inspired values, goals and checkpoints. The danger is that our own internally generated principles may lull us into a false sense of commitment. There must be an outside entity to learn from, and to act as a touchstone–a place to check in with see how we are handling ourselves. This does not mean that you don’t need to internalize the external teachings and examples; all is certainly lost if you don’t. But it is equally certain that it cannot be just you. 2. That outside entity must be powerful enough to keep you on track even when it is hard. If your north’s power and influence in your life is weak, so will be your adherence to it.
What are some examples where both criteria are met? God comes immediately to mind. Whatever your definition, God meets both criteria–external and powerful. Depending upon your path to God, the external writings, religious leaders, ceremonies, legacies, etc. will be different, but each path has its external–and powerful–teachings, values and inspirations.
Most regions in the world have their favorite source for starches, that complex carbohydrate that supplies nutrition and needed calories. Leading favorites include potatoes, rice and yams; there are many more, but we’ll use these examples. Which starch is the predominant one for most people is pretty much due to geography rather than having been a studied choice.
In a similar way, most regions have predominant religions, each capable of nourishing your soul as the different starches nourish your body. An acquaintance of mine, Mo Siegel, founder of Celestial Seasonings, among other accomplishments, enthralled by what he found on his visit to India decades ago, approached Mother Theresa, asking her if he should move and make his contributions there. She replied, “Grow where you are planted.” Applying her thoughtful response here, grow with the religion you were surrounded by when you were young. Challenge and question as you go along–both challenging and questioning are part of growing. And if you happen to leave that religion, make sure that you are moving to what is a better, more powerful and effective moral compass for you. And not just rebelling. Rebellion by itself is the opposite of growth.
Oh, and mix in some vegetables along with those starches.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.