Hill Country News Faith Roundtable 2015-12-30

4x6 B&W Chuck Portrait 6032

By Chuck Robison

Clearly, the question posed in this Roundtable was chosen as a means to encourage us to demonstrate that God has a sense of humor. So here goes.

During my tenure at the United Nations in New York from 1990 to 2000, I was given the remarkable opportunity to view and work with members of all the world’s religions. What a blessing! I was able to see and experience the things all the religions have in common, and also the things that create divisions in and between our religions.

This Roundtable question is not just about Christians, because it also reveals similar dynamics in all the religions. Our religions are made up of and have been modified by leaders and adherents from the beginning. It seems like division is more characteristic of our religions than is Unity.

These divisions are created as a result of two distinct processes at work in the religions of our day: The search for Purity and the obsessive Need to Control.

The search for purity is behind most of the theological arguments that result in yet another division. In my church, Presbyterian, and perhaps yours, the period from 1975 to 2015 has been characterized by forcing people to believe the company line about the place of Gays in the church. Until recently, that place has been at the back of the church….way back. Whole churches, even ones right here in Williamson County, have divided over allowing Gays in or forcing them out. Those seeking purity have wanted the Gays put back in the closet, as if there had not always been Gay leaders and participants in all the religions.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Control Freaks see their religion as a way to force people to believe and act according to approved trains of thought. Here again, every time there is a division, it is caused by someone’s sense that they are entitled to tell people how to act and what to believe.

There are people reading this article, right now, who were taught, fifty years ago, that we were then at a stage where there would be no more religious wars. SURPRISE, they were wrong.

Today, we are in the middle of a Global Religious War, and we are all skating close to the edge of a Lightning Nuclear War……after which, in just 24 hours, much of what we think of as our civilization will no longer exist. There will be no winner, only losers, and that includes, especially, those in religious leadership positions who are seeking to control the world. And, my friends, that includes Christian Religious Leaders.

Just to be sure you know who is pure and in control, our religious leaders carefully point out that God is coming to punish us and to take the good guys off planet while it happens. The result of all this is that in churches right here leaders are helping their followers pray for the coming destruction so that Jesus can come back.

The curious part is that The Christ never left. He has steadfastly stood by his promise to be with us until the end of the Age.

These warrior class Church leaders are out there belying what they teach by also teaching exclusivity, hatred, and some form of proof that God hates the same people they do and is going to judge the bad guys and the good guys.

Above all of this, God must be at least amused. There are now 8 Billion of us and God has repeatedly said that he sees no divisions among us. We are all spiritual beings experiencing a human life for the sole purpose of helping our souls grow to a higher level.

So, I would suggest before you start down the path of division, you might consider that we really are, all of us, in this together. Sooner or later, we will be called upon to experience, manifest and demonstrate that we are all one. And the likelihood that demonstration will be based on the quirks of all the religions is almost not thinkable.

The Dali Lama, put it best, when he said: “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; and the philosophy is kindness.” Jesus also said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”