Sunday, 3 June 2012

Stories of truth

J. Sacks on postmodern Judaism: "What would faith be like? It would be like feeling secure in my one's own home, yet moved by the beauty of foreign places... someone else's home, but still part of the glory of the world that is ours. It would be like being fluent in English yet thrilled by the rhythms and resonance of and Italian sonnet one only partially understands. It would be to know that I am a sentence in the story of my people and my faith, but that there are many other stories, each written by God out of the letters of lives bound together... each bearing the unmistakeable trace of His handwriting."

I am certain of only one thing, that I know nothing.

Too often are the religious adamant that their individual truth is the absolute truth, that their views are correct and that because of this all other views are incorrect.

Religion needs to move past this. We need to be confident in our own beliefs, and in our own limitations. Who is Man to comprehend the immensity of God? Who am I, to presume some authority on truth?

I believe what I do because these ideas reflect and explain the experiences of my life. But I know that there are others out there who have different experiences, different beliefs, and different stories to tell. Listening to their stories may not change my own views, but it will certainly help me understand theirs.

So I am a Buddhist. A Progressive Buddhist, an Engaged Buddhist, a Theravada Buddhist, all explain aspects of my beliefs. But I can go to a church, to a synagogue or to a shrine, and hear the stories of those who explain themselves differently to me. No matter what stories I hear or how they reflect my own life, I will never come away with less than I started. Sharing our search for truth with others can never diminish our own understanding of that truth, but only enrich it.

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