Heresy or Blind Compliance
Last Sunday, in talking about what it means to know Jesus, I talked about the ways it happens. There are a few obvious choices; like worship, the Bible, prayer, community. But I offered a small stretch in ‘nature,’ saying that God wove patterns into creation that remind us of God’s truths for us. Often these expressions capture God’s truth better than our words. Then I took it a step further and offered that we get to know Jesus through ‘other writings and teachings.’ I said that something doesn’t have to be stamped ‘Christian’ to teach what God wants us to know. Indeed, it could be far from God’s truth and still bear have the label.
I expected some phone calls and emails for that and was pleasantly surprised that all I got was a few thanks for saying it. It is very consistent with our Jacob’s Well core values, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but it may just mean no one was listening…
God’s truth is what lies behind and in all that exists. As such it is so big we can’t hide it forever. It oozes out of every pore in our world, often especially where we least expect it. That doesn’t mean that all things are good or helpful. Much is not. What is so important is that we don’t need to be afraid. We can look and learn anywhere and everywhere. Let Christ be the filter. Trust the Spirit to guide us, and to rescue us from our errors. Keeping ‘in the box’ of Christian teaching has certainly never prevented heresy in the past.
The point isn’t that Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, humanism, etc. is right or wrong, but rather that God is so big that God’s truth can’t be hidden forever. Different cultures, perspectives, languages, eras will inevitably express and hide God’s truth in ways that are novel to us. Don’t be afraid, that’s the key. Be humble, admit mistakes, don’t try to justify what isn’t working and keep the heart of the Bible at the heart of your searching.
You hit on a topic that I have debated for many years … Are all the people who are not Christian, but who are Buddhists, Hindi, Muslim … etc, non Believers ? I have spoken to people who strongly believe that this is the case, but I’m not so sure. I have my own theology and explanation – I believe that God is omnipotent – His power goes beyond our wildest dreams & imagination ! In this power God is many things to many people … And He realized early on that He can’t just be One thing to All people, so He created differnt faiths and religions. And when we dig deeper into some of them, we realize that there are many commonalities and parallels. I do believe there is ONE God, but he comes in many shapes & forms & sizes …
Have you read ‘Life of Pi’ ?! I think it’s a great book that explores these issues
I have to say that neither I or anyone else can “answer” that question. God doesn’t ask us, we only have opinions. And it is clear that people with great intellect, intention and faith disagree…
A few things. 1. Just because there are many ways to see God, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to look critically at them. 2. Maybe different faiths are looking at our understanding of life, the world and the infinite from different sides, different perspectives. All seeing somethings, all missing some things.