WE DON’T WANT EVERYBODY TO BELIEVE WHAT WE BELIEVE

photo credit: danielfoster437 Disagreement via photopin (license)

I’m sorry, but we don’t. We think we want this utopia where the lion shall lie down with lamb and we all believe and worship the same way, but that would be awful. The number one killer of Christlike love is pride, and we all need a mighty check on our pride. It’s human nature to rationalize everything we believe, say and do as correct. It’s not a flaw. It’s the way we’re made so I assume it has some survival advantage. Meanwhile, it can quickly get out of hand.

It’s very similar to a man or woman who has no intimates to put him or her in his or her place. Unless someone feeds back to you that you’re being selfish, unkind, greedy or egotistical, you go on blissfully unaware that you are being selfish, unkind, greedy or egotistical. That might sound like a good thing (the blissful ignorance part), but it is soul-killing. A) You by definition have no quality relationships if no one ever checks you; B) You are wasting a good mortality for nothing if you don’t use it fully (and the only thing we take with us when we go is who we’ve become); and C) Nothing, but I like the symmetry of A, B and C.

Religion likewise needs challenge to live at its highest level. I recently heard about a group of people (who shall remain nameless) and a rather disgusting display of non Christlike love. Now, these aren’t bad people; in fact, I’m betting they’re actually exemplary human beings. But. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and absolute certainty certainly corrupts.

I start from the premise that God knows better than anyone we’re not going to all be on the same sheet of music down here. He could have made that happen if he wanted to, and clearly, he had something better in mind. He also knows better than anyone that agency is the most powerful tool we have, and loving our neighbor as ourself means honoring the other guy’s agency as much as we cherish our own. If God doesn’t force anyone to believe, say or do a certain thing, who are you to pressure them into it?

If God set it up that we are all on different sheets of music down here, and he is no respecter of persons (Mormon-speak for he made us all equal), then the target isn’t one world religion. The target is religions and no religion that bump up against each other. I love the metaphor of a rough stone rolling. If a smooth stone starts rolling along the ground, it gets dinged and dented, i.e., less perfect. If, however, a rough stone starts rolling along the ground, it gets its craggy edges smoothed out, i.e., more perfect.

The target is perfection. Be grateful for the people you love who don’t want to travel the same path you do. Recognize the value in people you don’t love who say mean and hurtful things about your path. Use the discomfort to burnish your faith or non faith. Used correctly, nothing is better than opposition. Hopefully the nameless group of people with their non-Christlike love got a lot of opposition to that move. Which means, if they used it correctly, they’re even more exemplary human beings.

2 thoughts on “WE DON’T WANT EVERYBODY TO BELIEVE WHAT WE BELIEVE

  1. Incredible insight into faith. If more people shared your view and allowed others to live their path, then the world would be a much better place. I was especially moved by this paragraph:
    “I start from the premise that God knows better than anyone we’re not going to all be on the same sheet of music down here. He could have made that happen if he wanted to, and clearly, he had something better in mind.”

    I also think about how much people are pushed away from faith and communion with God because of someone else trying to impose a particular religion onto that person. Imagine a world where we inspired people to come to religion because others see God in us instead of where we go out and tell others what to believe.

    Incredible blog on faith!

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