Sunday, March 19, 2017

Guilt for the unsaved, Sunday meanderings

I have seen people cry because their relatives and close friends do not belong to the same denomination or religion they belong to. 

They feel guilty because they have genuine love for their loved ones and it's really unthinkable to live in paradise while your children, or spouse , or friends are in hell in eternal torture from burning and swimming in sulfuric lava.

There also those who are concerned about their accountability because in the end, when things have come to its realization, they could be held liable for not sharing or convincing people around them to convert to their religion. Of course, the guilt is based on the premise that the only true religion, the only true church is the one that they belong to. 

It's futile to argue about the validity of this claim to exclusivity because almost all of the religion have an exclusivity clause. I am not thinking about Christianity and its thousand of sub-denominations that have their own exclusivity clauses, I'm talking about religions in general. I respect Holy Books but to talk about things, argues, explore reality, within the confine of the pages of these Holy Books is very restrictive and problematic, for me.  There will be no conversation but a one way spoon feeding of doctrines and dogmas.

Think about circumstances, forget yourself for once and pretend that you're someone else who is born in another country, grew up in another culture and belongs to another religion. Let's pretend that you're an average Filipino citizen, born in a Christian culture. You go to church regularly, you work honestly, and you live an average life like an average Filipino. 

Then a Muslim missionary knocked at your door and offered you Islam as the way to your soul's salvation and that Christianity is a false religion, Satan's creation to challenge the real and true religion. (Islam is the fastest growing religion today.) He is offering you a new way of life of devotion to Allah. You may raise your eyebrow because you grew up in a Christian community and is a practicing Christian and your perspective of things is very Christian. 

Christianity (and the church you belong to) is the only true church or true path to salvation because that's what is inculcated in you by your culture, your community, your family, your government and by social genetics. Your whole being is immersed in Christianity and to think apart from this perspective is (almost) incomprehensible, even unthinkable.

And you may be surprised that there are Islamic missionaries because you think Muslims proselytize by the sword or violence.  Your first reaction is hostile. You're instinct is to run or to pray out loud to invoke the power of the Holy Spirit to repel these enemies of the church. But then common sense and education got the better of you and you declined politely.

Of course chances are you will not take  these Muslim missionaries seriously and may even look at the them with suspicion and disdain. But when these missionaries start to open up with their goods and aids, doors would open.

Anyway, this is hypothetical but these missionary thing happen all the time. i think it's only the Buddhist who give shelp without attaching their religion to their charitable works. 

Millions of people who are born in different country, in different cultural setting, in different religious traditions, and in different circumstances in life. To think that God revealed himself to a particular race and that this particular revelation is the only true revelation and is the only true way to salvation (whatever that may mean but I am not inclined to think that souls are meant to walk on gold pavements and sing praises to God in eternity), I think misses the goodness in other people. (the inclusive may say, "Hey we see truth in their beliefs, it's juts that their's is not good enough, they fall short!"

I was reminded of a scene from the novel "To kill a mocking bird" where a white american drunk bum beleived himself to superior to a hard working black american because of his skin color. 

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