Here I am on yet another "eve of destruction" (remember Y2K anyone?) with one more on the way according to John Cusack, and I can't help but chortle about the willingness of so many cults (and this is most assuredly a cult) to die (or be raptured whatever the heck that implies). I suppose I would be too if my religion bound me so tightly that I really wasn't living at all. Sacrifice is at the root of all religion and I can get on board with that. I've never received anything in this life that I haven't worked for, so of course I would carry that same mentality into working towards my afterlife. You can't make something from nothing (unless you are a Creationist, in which case we were all finger snapped into existence!) and in most instances in order to excel in one area, you have to give, or sacrifice another. We are finite in our ability to focus. Well. Except for Stephen Hawking, and really, what else is he going to do besides focus? (BAZINGA!)
What I take issue with is all the finger pointing and condemnation that always surfaces with every end of the world scenario. With todays rapture, brought to you by the "prophet", Harold Camping, he states that anyone can go to heaven regardless of religion only to go back and say "as long as you believe in the ENTIRE Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ." Basically negating his previous statement and replacing it with if you aren't Christian, your ass is going to hell. Period. This loving God that I've heard so much about in the last 29 years, is going to have an exclusive VIP party and give the middle finger to the majority of the planet? I'm sorry, but that's a jerk move and the God that I believe in, the one that has it's (because this being transcends gender!) hand in every religion, whose primary purpose is to inspire love and hope is shaking it's head.
I have an excerpt from a favorite book of mine that I just had to share that I think blends nicely with where I'm going with this blog post.
"Religious rituals often develop out mystical experimentation. Some brave scout goes looking for a new path to the divine, has a transcendent experience and returns home a prophet. He or she brings back to the community tales of heaven and maps of how to get there. Then others repeat the words, the works, the prayers, or the acts of this prophet, in order to cross over, too. Sometimes this is successful--sometimes the same familiar combination of syllables and devotional practices repeated generation after generation might carry many people to the other side. Sometimes it doesn't work, though. Inevitably even the most original new ideas will eventually harden into dogma or stop working for everybody...Be very careful not to get too obessessed with the repetition of religious ritual just for it's own sake. ESPECIALLY in this divided world, where the Taliban and the Christain Coalition continue to fight out their international trademark war over who owns the rights to the word God, it may be useful to remember that it is not the tying of the cat to the pole that has ever brought anyone into transcendence, but only the constant desire of an individual seek to experience the eternal compassion of the divine. Flexibility is just as essential for divinity as it is for discipline.
Basically, it's about the search for God and the desire to be more like this being that should motivate us, not the honor of saying "I told you so" to any other religious sect. God doesn't want us to hate one another, or exclude each other from partaking of divine love. The end game for this being is love. It's not about how many feet you wash on Sunday, or how many wafers you eat, or how many snakes you handle, or how many visions you receive, it's about the the quest to be more like God. It's about kindness and love.
I think, on this the eve of my third imminent judgement, I will just continue to be myself who strives to be kind everyday, who loves with an open heart and mind that meditates and feels closer to God than I have at any other point in my life who has no agenda to try and spread any idea except one of love and tolerance.
" The Yogic scriptures say that God responds to the sacred prayers and efforts of human beings in anyway whatsoever that mortals choose to worship-just so long as those prayers are sincere. As one line from the Upanishads suggests " People follow different paths, straight or crooked, according to their temperament, depending on which they consider best, or most appropriate-and all reach You (God), just as rivers enter the ocean.