some enlightened/enlightening thoughts from a reader of The Daily Dish:
A reader writes:
"Civil marriage for all; religious marriage for all who want to supplement it with God's grace. Why is that so hard for some people of faith to grasp? Why are their marriages defined not by the virtues they sustain but the people they exclude?"
Because -- as you well know -- their faiths themselves are defined by the people they exclude: the unbelievers, the unsaved (or let's be blunt: the "damned"), the always-demonized Other: without that division, that exclusion, their entire theology, indeed their entire worldview, collapses: a theology of inclusion is anathema to them, just as a politics, a sociology or even a science of inclusion (evolution) is anathema.
And why? Because despite their fine words, and their closely-guarded self-images, the actual and real ruling principle of their lives and their theology is fear, not love.
Everything flows from that original orientation, that original choice (because it is, finally, a choice). For them, to be inclusive is to expose themselves to what they fear; and what they fear most is summarized in their mythology of hell and eternal damnation: an eternal torture of body, mind, soul and spirit administered by an angry, vengeful, psychopathic god. It is all pure projection.
And irony of ironies, it is precisely the opposite of the message the Christian Savior tried to bring: that salvation is found only through love, through inclusion, through openness of mind and heart and spirit, through, ultimately, trust -- that this world, with all its difficulties and pain and imperfections, built through evolution, and including endless Others, is as it should be, as it was intended to be.
But that leap, from fear to trust, from fear to love, from fear to inclusion, is not an easy one, either for the individual or for a society. No evolutionary leap ever is -- and that is precisely what the leap from fear to love is: an evolutionary leap; evolution in action, evolution at the cognitive, emotional and spiritual levels. It's not easy, and it's not fast: we've been working on this for 2000 years -- and longer. Evolution takes its own time, but since this is the evolution of consciousness itself, we do have something to say about it: it's something we can consciously promote, and consciously accelerate -- and it's something we need to accelerate, and complete: the problems we face in this world, social, political and environmental, will not be solved by a people animated by fear.