I stumbled across this quote by Einstein and I love it! For me it is the best articulation I have found, which elucidates the essence of my spiritual comprehension and belief.
The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness. (Albert Einstein – The Merging of Spirit and Science)
I am grappling with the problem of calling myself a christian. That word is loaded down with so much baggage that it seems the weight of it could sink all of antarctica into the ocean. And I am part of the problem. My struggle with calling myself christian is not because of the Christ, who to my mind is the most extraordinary divine-human who ever lived. It is because of what his followers do and have done or not done in his name. But even as I write that I am so aware that I am not without culpability. I do not live, nor have I ever lived, nor expect to ever be able to live, the perfect christian life. Most of the time I am thinking about my own concerns; what new pair of Nike’s I’d like to buy or where I’d like to have an exciting holiday. I’m more interested in if people notice me and like me and approve of me or think well of ME, than taking the time to find out and care about what the struggles are in their life, or if they need a listening ear or my arms of comfort around THEM.
I am self-centred and self-absorbed, most of the time blind to the needs of others around me. Whereas what I have read about Christ when he lived he didn’t own anything, he went about helping the poor, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, befriending the lonely, overlooked and forgotten. Whereas I hardly ever think to, let alone actually do, anything like helping out a single mum who is struggling raising kids alone (when in the past I have been one so I know first hand how hard it can be) or inviting over that lonely 40 something guy for a meal with my family. My neglect of the people close to me, right in my immediate circle in the christian congregation I am a part of, is an indictment against my professed faith and the example Christ has given me. I find myself guilty. I am a hypocrite, I am judgemental and I moralize and I am arrogant in my attitudes about my faith. Most of the time I don’t walk the talk. And others of my brothers and sisters, in other congregations, do things, even public things that make me cringe and feel ashamed and embarrassed to be identified with them, as a christian. I think I see now why people who don’t subscribe to the christian faith might find it so repugnant.
So maybe the Church of Satan is a more ‘honest’ religion? in the respect that they don’t profess to be the “good” guys and then, like me, live a hypocritical life. But in saying that some orders of satanic or occult religion sacrifice babies on alters to their gods. I know this to be true. I have a friend whose parents were a part of these practices and forced her hands onto the knife and plunged it into an innocent baby, ending the child’s life, and more than once. Shocking and horrific to me, that this could happen, and right here in New Zealand. My friend has suffered terribly all of her life, because of the practices of the religion of her parents. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that to implicate all of the Church of Satan or those who practice the occult to be baby murderers, not at all! There will be, I’m sure, all the spectrum of shall we say ‘better or worse’? just like amongst the christians. I might add here too that my friends parents who practiced satanism, involving these heinous practices, did it from within one of the traditional and orthodox ‘christian’ churches (a strange kind of amalgamation).
I suspect if we interrogated all of the religions we would find the infection of hypocrisy or other ‘diseases’ present. In my reasoning even the agnostics or atheists can’t escape culpability and claim the status of perfection. An atheist may declare me judgemental, narrow-minded and bigoted (and be justified in making that judgement), but isn’t the act of doing that, judging me, doesn’t that put them also in the same camp as me? And believing there is no God, which can’t be proven, just as believing there is, which also can’t be proven, doesn’t that also constitute narrow-mindedness? So who is perfect? Who CAN take the moral high ground? Who can say he or she is better than another? Isn’t it more of a case of us all being in this mass or ‘mess’ of broken humanity together? Could we instead of firing arrows of judgement and accusation towards each other, could we instead try to really ‘see’ each others needs and struggles? and offer kindness? I want to, the self-centred hypocrite that I am, I want to try.
For any of you out there who read this and have at one point or another been hurt or disgusted or offended by the unloving, hypocritical actions of those who claim to be christian – I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. Please lay the offence on me, please receive my apology and when you get to that point where it hurts no more, please can you forgive me. And I hope that maybe just maybe sometime, somehow we could be friends and share a coffee together.