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Monday, July 17, 2006

A small box for God

Saw this in an interview with Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop-elect of the Episcopal Church of the USA.

Q: Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?

A: We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.


Comments on "A small box for God"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:13 AM) : 

Could you please explain your point?


Blogger Houston said ... (5:05 PM) : 

Bishop Schori's point seems clear to me. What question do you have about it?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:06 AM) : 

Well, Christians believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. The Bible is clear about that, and I guess it comes down to whether or not you believe the Bible as the truth, the reliable revelation of God to man. If not that's ok, and I think that from the Bishop's comment she must be one of those that don't believe it, and feel the need to add to it and maybe believe only the parts of it that suit. I know it is politically incorrect these days to think this way, and to stand up for one's belief in one way being the true way. I know that, but should Christians change their beliefs to suit the world? Jesus said that the world will hate them, just as they hated Him. For the same reasons. Should Christians who believe all that the Bible has to say dilute their faith to suit the world, or be politically correct? Is it so wrong to have a belief in one thing (Jesus) and to stand up for that belief at the risk of being unpopular? I know that there are many extreme 'Christians' out there, those with political agendas, those who twist things to suit themselves (you recently wrote about that.) But in my opinion they are no more pleasing to God than those who dilute His truth to be popular or appeal to the masses. The point is, if you really listen to Jesus' message, it has little to do with these popular and political figures on either side. The church has done much damage to God. That's what people do. But I was interested in what your views are about God and Jesus, and the Bible in general. Can you do a blog about that? Thanks, that will be a good read!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:27 PM) : 

It is fortunate that the arrogance (or naiveté) "to stand up for one's belief in one way being the true way" does not often find its way into all areas of life. It would make so many of the pleasures of diverse thought obsolete. Imagine a existence where there's only one way to:

Make love
Make pasta
Parallel park
Format your desktop

Only on right way leads to the "you're either with us or against us" mentality.

And BTW, the bible has some fairy barbaric "truths" contained within it's pages. I dare say that most Christians selectively ignore those passages and abide by the good (judged by 2006 standards) writings.

If more people of faith spoke with the wisdom of Bishop Schori, perhaps the world would have more believers.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:24 AM) : 

Thanks, your comments prove my point exactly! :-)


Blogger Houston said ... (9:58 AM) : 

What an odd thread this is!

As long as everyone is signing on as anonymous, it's hard to respond to individuals, but I'll do my best. Saying "your comments prove my point exactly" doesn't help us understand your train of thought, I'm afraid. I, for one, didn't read them that way and would be interested to hear why you thought they did.

I shall write about belief, as you suggest, in good time. For the moment, however, let's just acknowledge that to believe Christ is the only path to God requires a literal reading of the Bible -- not to mention a belief that his words, as there transcribed, are accurate. A literal reading of the bible as "the word of God" invites some rather extreme demands on the life of the believer, as one poster above alludes. Being consistent in accepting a literal reading of the Bible as a set of life directives means doing a large number of things that almost no Christian does. And if the believer discards even one Biblical prescription, the demand for literalism and adoption of every other one is called into question.

Also, you suggest that believing in "an objective truth" about the divine is unpopular. The numbers are against you. The religious outnumber the non-religious in the United States by a very, very wide margin. I've often wondered how some Christians can continue to claim "unpopularity" or even "persecution" of their beliefs, when over 80% of the population calls itself Christian. The most ridiculous example of this was Bill O'Reilly's "War on Christmas".



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