God has many faces. That is my belief. While I call myself Christian, and choose to worship God through that framework, I believe my friends of other faiths are worshiping the same God.
If you’ve never had the chance to talk to Hindus about their faith, it is very fascinating. I took the time to talk with two of my Hindu coworkers when I was taking a Major Religions of the World class at church. At the last minute, the pastor asked me to teach the section on Hinduism. I read up on it on Thursday night, then took my questions to the friends at work on Friday at break. One of the things I’d discovered in my reading, which was new to me, was that Hindu is not a polytheistic religion. They have one God with many aspects, both male and female.
I have friends who practice “pagan” religions. Some of them are centered on a Goddess, rather than a male deity. One of those friends long ago told me, “Any religion that teaches you to do good to other people is a good religion.” I like that and I believe it in my heart.
There are many who worship through nature. I remember reading a quote from a Native American (I forget what tribe) who absolutely could not understand how Christians could go inside to worship, shutting themselves away from everything God had created. I can understand that. I often feel quite close to God when I’m in a forest, or listening to the waves roar at a beach, or anyplace where I can experience nature and not be interrupted by the sounds of technology.
I came across an article in CNN today about a lady who decided to experience 30 different religions before she turned 30 years old. She’d lost her faith and was on a quest to find it again. It is an interesting read and she came a bit to the same conclusion as I.
Another way I’ve seen it put is, “God is too big for one religion.”
Which brings me to a topic that has brought some humor among my thinking friends. There is a State Representative who assumed that educational money earmarked for religious institutions could only be used at Christian schools. The pundits and bloggers have had a field day with it. One of my favorite quotes from the Representative is, “Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion.” That just proves to me that she doesn’t have a lot of knowledge of our founding fathers. While most were Christian, they belonged to many different denominations. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were Deists, which would completely offend a fundamentalist Christian of today.
That takes me back to the days of the Kansas State School Board, which was deciding whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. Thanks to one lovely, creative man, what was created was the idea of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, complete with creation myth. My first knee-jerk reaction to someone wanting to teach Creationism in school is to ask whose creation myths are to be taught. There are so many. Every culture has one and some of those cultures have not been superseded by the Judeo-Christian ethos.
Kansas itself has multiple Native American tribes, each with their own creation stories. The Arapaho, Commanche, Kansa, Kiowa, Missouri, Osage, Otoe, and Pawnee Indian tribes each have their own stories. The Kansas School Board was not offering these stories.
I love reading the creation stories of all religions. I love seeing how they are different and how they are similar. They are so beautiful. Why should we not share them? Why must we insist that only one is right? If they teach you to do right by other people, love them, and honor God, isn’t that following the true way, no matter what name we hang on it?