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Sticky Questions.. Point 2

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1. What does the word "faith" mean for you?

 

I'm fairly cerebral so the first thing I reach for is the dictionary to get a good grasp on each part of the basic definition. The top two answers that interest me:

 

1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

Perfect, really. I don't have much more to add.

 

2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

This definitely applies in a lot of ways. Although I actually think there is quite a bit of logical proof for the existence of God, I do believe the material evidence as most secular people today would demand is somewhat lacking. I'm a very logical individual by nature. I often joke about having the mind of an atheist and the fact that I am able to believe in God -at all- is basically a miracle of God in and of itself.

 

The fact is, there will always be a required "leap of faith" for God in my opinion. Logic can only take you so far before you truly must let go of the world, even for just a brief moment, to see beyond it.

 

Another answer that applied was the third entry I found, "Loyalty to a person or thing." It's funny, I wouldn't have immediately thought "loyalty" when I thought about faith, but the more I think about it? The more I realize it actually fits very, very well. Faith does involve loyalty to God, as well as loyalty to myself and my own beliefs. I could easily sell out on my progressive / liberal nature and join the "popular Christian crowd" in the mainstream for instance, but I instead remain faithful (or loyal) to who I am and what I believe.

 

 

2. How does the awareness, knowledge and appreciation of other approaches help us better understand Jesus and his teachings as a way to approach to God's realm?

 

If we do not go beyond mere understanding of history into the realm of learning from it, we will always be doomed to repeat our past mistakes. I think the story of Jesus is a prime example of this; whether you take it as actual history, an allegorical instance, or a complete myth, the message is the same. People throughout history have condemned, tortured, destroyed, defaced, excommunicated, and killed any one, any thing, or any idea that appeared different to what the majority (or the popular, or the powerful) happened to believe.

 

The image of Jesus is often portrayed as meek and mild; however, Jesus was a radical, and we're good to remember that because they wanted to destroy Jesus because of his radical beliefs they did not agree with. We still try to do this in today's society. Truly as a society in general, we still have trouble learning from history, even though time and time again this same message repeats itself throughout the world population.

 

But as Christians this message should be glaringly clear and one of great importance. We cannot simply go around destroying that which is different, or that which we do not understand. That isn't what God wants of us.

 

We should be approaching each other with respect, tolerance, love, peace, joy, harmony, and all things positive under God. "Destruction" shouldn't even be in our peripheral vision, let alone the forefront. We need to come together in acceptance of each other's differences instead of persecuting each other, especially in the name of God.

 

We do God no justice with persecution and intolerance.

 

What's worse is that the church as a socio-political institution intent on controlling people's views/beliefs, and people in general of the modern world, still attempt to kill off Jesus and his message even today by twisting it away from the message of love and tolerance it once was.

 

3. What are some of the common grounds that we have with people of different faith experiences?

 

Two primary common grounds that should be the only common ground we need to believe in:

 

- A belief in God, in whatever form or forms this belief may come in.

- We are all members of the exact same human race, in case no one's noticed. We don't get much more in common than that.

 

 

4. What does the term "child of one God" mean for you? What are the implications?

 

I believe in One God, creator of Heaven and Earth; but, I believe how we relate to that one God will never be the same from person to person, or even within the same religion (which is why Progressive Christianity is so very important and vital). God didn't make us the same. He could have easily given us the same mechanics to which we would all develop the exact same thought patterns; but He didn't.

 

In order for true love to exist, He had to give us both individuality and free will. And with those two things, we can do great things and terrible things at both ends of the spectrum.. the greatest of which is pure and simple love and respect for one another, and for God.

 

If I believe we were all created by one God, that we were given individuality and free-will to use for greater purposes of love (to Him and to each other), and that we are all in our uniqueness struggling on the path to Him, I must recognize and respect the validity of the paths of other people in the human race at finding Him, in whatever forms they choose to do so, in whatever ways work for them.

 

To lose respect for others is the death of any chance of love. To look down on others for their faiths is to lose that respect almost immediately. I may never understand the ways of another person... those ways may never work for me personally, and mine for them... but that doesn't relieve me of my responsibility to strive for respect and love of the highest order.

 

Again, we do God no justice in intolerance. If we believe in one God, we must understand that all of us came from one God, and here we are now: in whatever form we have become.

Edited by ada

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