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Journey of Awakening

One of the traps I used to fall into on my spiritual journey when I was younger, was that I thought people outside my circle have no clue of what I am talking about - what religious arrogance!

Then a friend told me one day to treat everyone one as people of faith, avoiding language that's used exclusively in one's background.

Not only did 'my circle' suddenly enlarge to an enormous degree, but I also started to see 'from the other side' (e. g. one of my funniest experiences was when I had to 'translate' a pastor to a journalist, who came to interview his church).

Everyone has their own story, and when one spends enough time with people to really get to know them, one very quickly discovers that we basically all long for the same things.

So much harm has been done in the way we people of faith have sometimes approached people's honest questions, treating them as if they were stupid. (In reality, the stupidity was all too often on my part.)

Over the last couple of weeks, while talking to people about the meaning of life, issues of faith etc. it became very obvious that they all had thought about these things at some point in their life.

When it came to matters of faith, most of them knew more about certain issues then the average churchgoer - and those who could not believe, or no longer believed, did so, not because they didn't believe there was some ultimate meaning to existence, but on account of certain doctrines.

On the top of the list were 'everlasting punishment', 'penal substitution' (the idea that God had to punish someone else to get us off the hook), and 'the rapture' (the idea, that a group of people will get beamed off the planet, while the rest is suffering some form of destruction - surprisingly more widespread than one thinks).

In general, folks were quite surprised to hear, that there are alternatives to all these ideas - orthodox one's as well, one might add - and that they don't need to keep one back from embracing a life of faith.

Might be time to look at some of these issues closer as a collective (many of us have been doing this individually for years anyway), if they are such a hindrance to people finding meaning to their existence.

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