Sunday, August 17, 2008

Disciples of God or Deification of Man?

Through the years, there have been many that claim to bring the truth of God to man. I don't know how timeless the messages they have revealed may be but the institutions built upon these revelations are anything but. The charismatic figures of American evangelism generate huge followings and great wealth and with these, build huge institutions in their image and what they believe to be the image of God.

You don't even need to look back into history to examine the rotting corpses of the organizations built up by William Jennings Bryant, Billy Sunday, Aimee Semple McPherson and other legends of American JesuYahoo, to see how lasting the truth is. Look at the Thomas Road Baptist Church, only a few months after the death of the Great Man. Check out the Oral Roberts Organization, even as Oral still lives and breathes, at least nominally. Billy Graham, the most revered American evangelical leader of modern times, left the pulpit only recently and already the organization is in rapid decline.

Likewise the Crystal Cathedral, Christian Broadcasting Network, and Trinity Broadcasting Network all are falling into ruin as the founders age along with their messages. It doesn't take powers of prophesy to see the future of currently ascendant religious organizations, whether they are seeking to preserve traditional values, like Focus on the Family or embrace the contemporary, like Rick Warren's Saddleback Church of the purpose driven life.

Why do Americans flock to the banners of cults that embrace the vision and message of men whose ideas will not likely even outlive them? We all have the capacity to see our own vision and hear our own message. The comfort of company on the road to a false salvation isn't worth missing out on the opportunity to have your own personal relationship with God. What God says to you is more important and more valid than anything you hear he's said to anyone else.

Embrace the God that speaks to you, secure in the knowledge that he is also speaking to every one of the billions here on Earth with you. Recognize that you are an imperfect being and you may get the specifics wrong and that your own vanity and greed may distort the message. It will still be more valid than anything you will get from anyone else. Seek to recognize and applaud God's good influence on others, rather than seeking to correct others who you perceive are getting it wrong. Exhorting others to righteousness is, in the end, the greatest sin of all. It is the sin of pride, that your own personal righteousness is the same as that of God. We each have our own lives to live and it is a daunting task. With the help of your God, work on your own life. That's enough for anyone to do.

I can't speak for anyone else but if you try and impose your vision of God on me, I'll hurt you.

1 comment:

beebs said...

My wife says I'm much more mellow ever since I have embraced buddhism rather than plain old atheism.

I don't believe in gods. Heaven and hell are something others have to worry about. There is a chant I'm supposed to do, but I don't do it often, just when I think about it.
There is an object of worship - The Gohonzon. I have one printed up with my paper supplies.

So each day, I live it like it is my last one, and try to be the best beebs I can be. It seems to work.