I finally visted the blog site of one of my occasional commenters Tuesday. It’s an unusual site. He calls his site The Other Gardener but then writes as The Underground Lady. He is currently on page 40. I don’t have a clue as to how to get back to page 1. His thoughts are short paragraphs and eclectic. His background is black and his writing is white making it a little difficult for me to read. It is soon obvious that he is highly intellectual and well-eduated.
The reason I am mentioning this is that he has the following phrase at the top of his page. Cave ab homine unius libri. It is Latin meaning beware of the man with only one book. I had to google it to get the full meaning. My high school Latin failed me. I couldn’t put it all together. I got man one book.
My thoughts immediately turned to those of religious extremism who believe only one book has all the answers. As far back as I can remember, as a very young child, I was haunted with questions about why only Christians could get into heaven. I wondered about all those in the world who had never heard of Jesus the Christ. I wondered about all the babies who never had a chance to learn.
Instead of being comforted by the thought that as a Christian I didn’t have to worry about where I would end up for eternity, I was discomforted about the thoughts of the trillions of other souls who wouldn’t be up there. My religious upbringing caused me to have more questions than perceived answers.
My religious life was one of traveling from one Christian church to another and another during my 20s and 30s. None of them gave me satisfactory answers. For about twenty-four years I became unchurched. Since I live at ground zero within the Southern Baptist world, I’m certain many of my co-workers and neighbors considered me close to being a heathen. It was not that I was a non-believer, it’s just that I could not begin to find any answers among those who considered themselves religious.
I became exceptionally leery of those who deemed themselves ministers, who held the Holy Bible in one hand and thumped the air or the pulpit with the other proclaiming that this (referring to the book being held) was the ONLY answer. Believe in this [the book] or find yourself in hell. Now that was comforting.
Devout extremist Jews believe that of the Torah, Muslims, of the Qur`an. I am not familiar with extreme Buddhists or Hindus, but perhaps theirs is the same story.
I have come to a belief that has been forming most of my life, that there is more than one path to God. I have found a like-minded community in which to pursue that belief. My belief in God is stronger than it has ever been in my life. What has been so enlightening to me and a puzzlement as to why it hasn’t been to others, is many of the great spiritual teachings have so many core thoughts that are exactly the same. In many ways, they mirror each other.
I cannot understand why those with extreme views cannot or will not sit down with those of other faiths and explore their commonalities and form bridges with those ideas rather than to exclaim their differences and build even wider moats to surround their own island worlds of the ONLY answer.
The lives of Jesus and Buddha who preceded Jesus by 500 years, are remarkably similiar. The things they both said are almost identical.
These sites are only those on the first page when I googled Jesus and Buddha.
Many such comparisions can be made of the thoughts of the Holy Bible and the Qur’an. They both share, along with the Torah, the same stories of father Abraham, Adam and Eve, etc. The Qu’ran mentions Jesus in several places.
With so much being similiar, when or even will the human beings who populate this earth begin to realize we have so much in common? Are we doomed to use religion and our religious books to bang each over the head for eternity, each screaming louder than the other that “Our way is the ONLY way?”
One of the most difficult passages for me to understand as a teenager at Bible camp was 1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV. That was the only version we were supposed to read.
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I couldn’t get my thoughts wrapped around seeing through a glass darkly. The minister conducting the Bible study was not much help when I questioned him. I soon got the idea I was just supposed to saw off the top of my head and let him pour the lesson in then close my mind again. In this verse, Paul tries to express the imperfection of mortal understanding. Perhaps we don’t understand because we have only parts and not the whole. Isn’t it time to start putting everything together? To see into [not through] the mirror [glass] fully and completely our reflection in the way that we reflect God? To stop seeing dimly [darkly] but in the bright light of clear day?
Terrorists and extemists are the same regardless of which religion they proclaim. I firmly believe that you cannot “save” someone by beating him or her over the head. You take the child’s hand, and gently lead by example the way that should be gone, and you can take any or all paths to get there, wherever that path may lead. But beware of the man with only one book. Following in those footsteps is like watching a movie with one eye covered and only a slit in the cover of the other eye. It is impossible to see the whole grand picture. Perhaps each different religion has only one chapter. I believe it is time to combine all those chapters into one big book, editing it out so each story is only repeated one time. Perhaps then when we read it without blinders and eye patches, we will be able to at last see the big picture.
Namaste. Attic Annie