The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
As my About page states I am a “Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers.” It also stipulates that I am a “Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it.” What these two simple and witty (at least witty to me) statements should clue you in too is that I got a lot of spiritual “stuff” swirling around in my head.
Every Sunday, for as long as my not overly intelligent brain can remember, I have recited the Creed referenced above. I know it by heart, I can recite it in my sleep (my church leaves the “He descended into hell” part out which is another discussion) I could probably recite it backwards but as a dyslexic that really wouldn’t be that special of a feat. Here’s the thing, I believe some of it, not all of it, not even the majority of it. But for the last 50 years, for probably 90% of the Sundays in each of those years (yes I attend Church regularly) I have spoken these words.
It’s not that I don’t understand the meaning or the commitment. I understand every part, every phrase. There are no surprises in this Creed for me, I have done the research. I get all the nuances, what the words mean and why they are there. I simply don’t believe, as most of my devote brothers and sisters in the Christian faith believe, that there is one simple path to salvation, however you define salvation. Why would God, make His/Her Kingdom available to only 2 billion people of the 7 billion people walking this earth. Have Christians forgotten that both of Abraham’s sons, Isaac and Ishmael worshiped the same God as they do? Two sons that created the people of Judaism and Islam (“I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring”).
So what’s my point? Simple, 2 billion Christians don’t have the exclusive inside track on salvation. You can quote all of Paul’s (a Jewish man who basically wrote the theology of the Christian faith through and with his epistles) New Testament rhetoric you want but in the end it doesn’t make it right, at least not for me. Maybe it makes it right for you if your beliefs make you a more loving, compassionate and accepting person. But if they don’t, if what you believe makes you hateful and judgmental to those of us that think and believe differently from you then you have missed the message of Jesus.
“Jesus is bigger than any one religion. He didn’t come to start a new religion, and he continually disrupted whatever conventions or systems or establishments that existed in his day. He will always transcend whatever cages and labels are created to contain and name him, especially the one called “Christianity.” – Rob Bell
I hope those of you who are convinced that your path is the “only” path will discover the true meaning of your faith, soon, while the path is still lit and littered with people who may think differently but could use your love, compassion and acceptance…….today!
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” – Dalai Lama XIV