with the data i've gained over the past few years in research, interviews, and experiences, it almost seems as if people and their experience of god is like a color wheel. not everyone's experience of god is the same. some people's experiences are the same, or at the least, very similar. they are in one "color". yet they also share similar shadings with the groups next to them. and so on and so forth until we get to the opposite side of the wheel. when seen in progression, it makes sense. starting at one point, and blending into the next, to create something that looks slightly different than the original, yet still retaining some of its original quality.
for example, christianity sharesa good deal with judaism and islam on the spectrum of beliefs. (contrary to popular apologetics) not to say they are identical, not at all. but they share many similar qualities that makes them similar yet not completely equal. the same can be said in the other direction with hinduism and its belief in the interconnectedness of all things. or budhism's emphasis on a permeating state of peace and overcoming the desires of the flesh. or how both hinduism and budhism share concepts of transcendance and overcoming the world.
but once you reach the opposite side of the wheel, however, you realize that the color of belief over there doesn't contain a single drop of your color. elements of colors you've rubbed shoulders with, to be sure, but not a drop of your actual "color". it can be easy to write people of those beliefs off as completely different than yourselves and therefore, wrong, but when you look with wider eyes, you see that they are not your opposite, but rather your compliment. you're not two separate entities or enemies.
for example, atheism. at first glance, it is completely an opposite belief from christianity. but when inspected closer, it is still someone who had a life changing moment. a moment in which they had an epiphanical realization that made sense to them. and somehow, in that internal transaction of mind, heart, and spirit, that person was freed to become a more engaged, compassionate, hard working person bent on living in this manner for the benefit of all humans. they have become born again.
and that, for me, is the defining moment. the thing that makes everyone on it a part of the wheel. a moment in which life becomes radically changed by a thought or belief that suddenly clicks into place, and a person's inner being changes, and they become a new person. it seems that although it takes many forms, at some level, those of all faiths seem to have had that "born again" experience. we're part of the same circle. we're all in this together whether it looks like it or not.
to be sure, there are several who claim to be a part of the color wheel, and lay claim to a certain "color" either because they have been exposed to it in culture and they wish to fit in. or they have been raised with it and "that's just the way it is." these people generally have not had the color wheel experience. what i am talking about are people who have come to a moment of reckoning in their lives in which they are honest about who they are at heart, and what they think at heart about this issue, and it changes them forever. not that they stop changing from this point on. but rather it is a first step down a completely different road of growth and learning.
A two week break
9 hours ago