Laying a new foundation, part 1
People of faith are at a crossroads. Advances in science and archaeology are reshaping the way we think about our past, our present, our future, and our concept of God. Stories we used to read, presuming they were somehow grounded in truth, turn out to be more literature than literal. Rediscovering the allegory of the stories in the Bible, understanding them the way the original audiences likely did, requires diligence. The hard work pays off in a deep and unshakeable faith. Rather than having to defend the Bible as fact, we can concentrate on the meaning of the stories, the way the ancient people who wrote them and told them to each other did. Nobody in the ancient world thought God literally created the world in seven human days. Rediscovering the metaphor of these creation myths and juxtaposing them with modern cosmological concepts, reveals a God that is even more extensive and intricately woven with our being than interpreting those stories literally could ever allow us to imagine. It’s powerful stuff.
It’s my hope that Intersect will help people of faith form a new foundation for belief in God—one that is divested of literalism, yet gains something even more powerful in its place: a healthy understanding of historical context, allegory and metaphor, all enveloped in a deeper understanding of modern cosmology, astrophysics and quantum mechanics. The ideas the ancients hinted at using the only language they understood thousands of years ago are being played out anew with the language of historical criticism and science. The quantum world is stranger, more mind-boggling, and more inspiring than anything Mark, Mathew, Luke, John or Paul could convey. Using the best tools at their disposal, I believe they were trying to get at the same idea: God is everything, and everything is God. Oneness is the key to changing the world, and God is constantly inviting us into Oneness.
The church is failing. People are leaving organized religion in droves, and most churches are so concerned with self-preservation that they have abandoned their commission to serve the needy and speak for the oppressed. We don’t necessarily need to save organized religion, but if we are to call ourselves people of faith—whether Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu or anything else, then we do need to reclaim the idea that we are all beings created in the image of God (Gen 1:26–28, Gen 5:1–3, 2 Enoch 44:1-3, 2 Enoch 65:1, Wisdom of Solomon 2:23, there are similar ideas presented in the Qur’an). Therefore, it is our duty to God and our fellow human beings to act with compassion, to fight for justice, and to tear down the systems of oppression wherever they are found—even and especially if they are found in the church, synagogue and mosque.
I hope you’ll join me, and invite others, on this journey as we explore a new, stronger faith foundation built on ancient ideas, but informed by 21st Century wisdom.
Prayer: Infinite Wisdom, God, that is and is within all things: Guide our thoughts and actions. Make your presence undeniably known to us. Use us to make the world more peaceful, loving, tolerant and reasonable. Amen.