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Questions to Consider

As I mentioned on Monday, I’m going to be introducing new ways of looking at and interacting with data and information, and if you have already been-there-done-that, I apologize, but perhaps you’ll find that all of this is worth a second or third or fourth look.  Maybe not, and that’s okay, too.

Today, I’m asking two questions.  Mull them over.  See what you think.  I’m not proving anything; I’m simply asking you to engage.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I think we’ve all experienced religious niches that have the tendency to believe they are enlightened, they have the answers.  Christians, in general (and this label includes a WIDE assortment of disparate beliefs…see the figure below) believe they are the only ones who are “saved” and who are going to heaven.  [We won’t talk about the concept of heaven quite yet, but know that it’s coming….]

I did a little research and found this figure on Adherents.com.  I offer it up as a visual, so that you can reference it for my next comment.

Here’s my question.  If you’re a Christian, and you believe that only you and your fellow Christians (and no other religious affiliations) have been “saved,” you can see that you fit into that 33% pie slice.  Now you may even think that some of those “other” denominations lumped in with you are not even Christian, and if that’s the case, the percentage of people who you deem worthy dips considerably, maybe to 5, even 10%.

Let’s say, however, that you agree with the 33% number.  We’ll be generous in our calculations.

Here’s my question: Do you believe that God would go to all the trouble of sending Jesus to save only 33% of humankind?  Do you really think He would subject the other 67% to some sort of eternal damnation?

Might there be another alternative?  [I’m not answering this today–as if I could!–but consider it at least.]

My second question ties into my last link on yesterday’s post–that of PostSecret.  I’ll keep it simple.  If you’ve been to the website, you’ll see an honest and heartbreaking portrayal of suffering people.  [Aren’t we all?]  What good is it to argue theology (or minor things like someone’s sex orientation) when there’s a whole world out there to love?  And didn’t Jesus harp on the religious sects of his day for not getting it?  How little has changed, I think.

What do you think?  These are broad questions, I know.  Do they make you defensive?  Pensive?  Angry?  Happy (that there might be another possible alternative)?

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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