What follows below is a response I typed out to a group of international interfaith professionals. The original query to me asked how I would achieve salvation and how I hope to save others if I do not accept Christ as my saviour given our fall from grace. There was more about morals, ethics and Gods justice, and how God regulates these things in people who think differently than the querent but you will see these things as you read on….
Keep in mind, I am responding to someone that sees God as wholly male and who literally created man in his image, as such my language is written for someone with that perception.
What is there I need to be saved from? I do not believe in hell, or a God who will punish me. The only thing I may need saving from is myself or the situations I have placed myself in.
I equally do not see that I need to save others from anyone but themselves. To do that, I try to promote knowledge and growth in them. Get them to undergo self-analysis to the point that they see their own problems and choose to fix them. Time and again I have ‘told’ people how to fix their difficulties when they have asked for a solution to their woes, but if they cannot see the problem they cannot or will not correct them (keep in mind I live in Australia where hunger and shelter are not issues for the majority).
“Gods justice” is simple in Australia, if people behave poorly, their life tends to be lacking. If they act nobly, their life seems to be much better. These karmic or ‘rule of return’ principles are alive and well with or without a belief in Christ; Hell; Godly punishments.
It’s nice to have the Jesus mythos there to call on, but it is just that to a non-Christian, a collection of really good myths. This does not detract from my sense of morality nor my strong ethical views nor even my sense of charity; a belief in a saviour or Christ or even a God is not a requirement for these things.
Reward and punishment happen here and now, I personally believe they also carry across to our next life and that this may have an effect on our immortal souls, but that’s not to say I am correct. It is simply what I believe.
On the same note I believe with all my heart that your God, Jehovah; Yahweh; Elohim, is the same as Allah, and Brahman, and the essence behind Buddhism and Humanism. There are differences, but at the core of things we all believe the same thing. We all believe in love and charity and hope and that murder is wrong and that we should protect the only Earth we have.
The only ‘fall from grace’ I have had was due to the ignorance’s and antics of my youth, not 2000 years ago. I have returned to grace and take joy in living in it here and now. I try to help others achieve the same joy by talking of how I got here, helping them to see the signposts left for them in their own lives, and helping them bring about change for the better.
Is it hard to regulate… well no, we each have a divine spark, a part of God within us. We can each learn to access this. It is not hard to regulate because I have a personal relationship with God, both that part of God within me and that much greater part of God in the world all around me, in the people around me, in the trees, the sky, and the wind. God is everywhere and I talk with him often, He answers my queries and leaves little messages for me so that I do not stray.
I see God differently to you because that is how God has presented Himself to me. God is not a punisher of naughty children; not an old man with a white beard; God is not a lot of things that we think He is. God simply is, and he presents Himself to us in the way that we will recognise Him. Unfortunately because we are so limited in our own cognitive and sensory abilities not one of us can fully comprehend what or who God is. We all fall short but we each have part of the truth, and you know they say half a truth is akin to a lie.
I know and talk to God, but this does not mean my view of God is right. It is however, right for me and the messages I have received from Him are the ones I pass on.
Some simple truths:
All Gods are One GOD; we are not capable of fully understanding God; religious organisations represent religious organisations; Gods message, no matter who receives it, is tarnished by human perception; Gods love is available to everyone regardless of religious affiliation; God turns no one away.
These things I believe to the core of my soul. I know them to be true because I was told them by someone I love and trust and that each of us sees differently. Despite all that, I know I am fallible, that the message may be skewed by my own perception and that others may have part of the message which I have missed, but I also know God is quite happy with my perception at this time.
I believe in interfaith, so much that I have started my own ministry with the first Interfaith Church in Australia. I know God in the fullest sense of the word, but I also believe I cannot hope to fully understand God. I expect that by definition this makes me agnostic but the knowledge that God is beyond my comprehension does not make me any less His servant.
Now I don’t normally preach and I feel like I’m on a pulpit here, so apologies. My views of God are extremely strong but they should not be taken as anti any other beliefs, we do, after all, each see God differently and my views should not detract from anyone else’s relationship with the divine as they see it.
Yours in Faith and Servitude,