Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cults, Learning About, and Knowing, God


This poor world contains a delicious, and very rich, potpourri, or smorgasbord, of spirituality. Members of certain cults or guru-groups are not the only people who have struggled valiantly and honestly to live lives of honor, peace, joy, and Love. Indeed, for many, the laws of human leaders and gurus (often in cults) are more important than even the immeasurable Love and grace of God. Through the centuries, many people have honestly striven to know God personally and directly, and they had not been cult-members. (Indeed, there were thousands if not millions of God-loving men and women before these cults came along.) The facile and shallow argument that Biblical characters were "really" cult-members in their hearts does not at all stand up to historical scrutiny. The older writers of the Scriptures were Jews, and the more recent ones Christians, but the name of a cult is not found a single time in the entire Bible.

Neither is the word "organization" found anywhere in the actual Scriptures. For it was simply not important enough ever to be mentioned.

I believe that God is Love, and that learning to love yourself and others is the only Way to please God and to find true fulfillment and satisfaction. I believe that God does not really care exactly what micro-doctrines you believe (since no one knows everything), but God, as living Love, does care how you behave and treat others. Orthodox Christians somehow came up with the odd idea that what you believe, rather than how you live, can "make" you a Christian, but Jesus denied this, saying that Love alone would mark his true followers. (Compare Jn. 13:35) So, in history, we have many people who "believed the right things" about Jesus, God, and the Bible, but were murderers, rapists, thieves, and liars.

So now, the personal spiritual path is "Love plus nothing." This reflects the simplicity and compassion (including non-judgment and forgiveness) taught by Jesus. And it is very easy, reflecting again his declaration that his "load is easy and My burden light."

All the religions in the world, so often filled with anti-spiritual pride, probably do not know a thimble-full about the infinite God of the cosmos, who is vaster and more beautiful than the galaxies. So, their pride in doctrine actually reflects a kind of foolishness or intellectual limitation. And nowhere do the Scriptures command us to understand God, but only to love Him, in the same manner that we learn to love human beings and other creatures.

God can be known, but not by the jigsaw piecing together of separate data. He can be known only by the moving, touching experience of Love.

Knowing that "God is Love," it is only reasonable that the ancient texts are implying the "radical" but enjoyable idea that we should worship Love in its most universal form. This has nothing to do with sexual activity (the way a fundycult-member would likely interpret it), but has everything to do with selfesteem, selfrespect, and compassion, respect, and tolerance for, and goodness and kindness towards, other people and other creatures. For God lives in and through them all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is not "God is love' a doctrine? I agree that Christians have gone overboard with doctrinal anal retentiveness at times but you seem to be setting up a false dichotomy in reaction.

Matt Stone