Religion & Politics linkaround

The religion of man-made global warming climate change appears to be hitting a snag. Well, that only seems fair, to me. All the other religions had to have their growing pains and suppressions, after all.

Do Christians know what they believe? Charles M. Blow at the NY Times wonders about it, in an unsurprisingly snarky tone:

In June, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life published a controversial survey in which 70 percent of Americans said that they believed religions other than theirs could lead to eternal life.

This threw evangelicals into a tizzy. After all, the Bible makes it clear that heaven is a velvet-roped V.I.P. area reserved for Christians. Jesus said so: “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” But the survey suggested that Americans just weren’t buying that.
So in August, Pew asked the question again…Sixty-five percent of respondents said — again — that other religions could lead to eternal life. But this time, to clear up any confusion, Pew asked them to specify which religions. The respondents essentially said all of them. And they didn’t stop there. Nearly half also thought that atheists could go to heaven — dragged there kicking and screaming, no doubt — and most thought that people with no religious faith also could go.

What on earth does this mean?

I suspect Mr. Blow would like it to mean that Christians are inconsistent idiots who don’t believe “their own story.” Perhaps “what on earth” it all means is simply that people instinctively realize that God is bigger than our knowing – even with the help of scripture – that no one knows what happens in the infinitesimal moments that hang between life and death, and that we – with generous hearts – optimistically hope for the best possibility. From a Catholic perspective, the Catechism says:

1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

St. Jerome said “ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.” What we know of Christ is so wonderful that we do, on some level, have to believe that if others only knew it too, there would be no question but that they would want it; baptism, salvation, the whole shebang. As any Christian can tell you, simply knowing scripture is not enough. Going to church is not enough. Being familiar with tenets of Christianity is not enough. Beyond all of that, a person must have a genuine experience of Christ – a “milk and honey moment”, as it were – before one may say they truly know. And even then, with all we know, we know we are capable, still, of great ignorance. No well is so deep, nor knowledge, that Christ is not deeper, still. Thus all are in need of mercy. All have fallen short.

Scripture says what it says, but there is always mystery. God’s ways are not our ways. Just as Christ was able to look beyond strictures against eating with sinners, or talking to Samaritan women – because after all, he is God – it is not completely out of the question to assume that Christ can also look beyond the ideal he put forth in John 14:6.

And I don’t see how it can possibly be objectionable for me to make that suggestion, especially not when the very people who may take exception to it and rant at me that “every word of the bible is to be taken literally” will suddenly find metaphors abounding in Chapter 6 of the same Gospel.

When my brother died earlier this month, I wrote about how separated he was from God, and many, many kind Christians assured me (beyond my own knowing) that he was now in heaven with the Lord. I suspect purgatory, myself, but who knows? Perhaps the mercy and grace of Christ – which is beyond our understanding – was bestowed upon him, despite everything, because our hearts, our minds and our souls are ultimately known only by God. When mercy and mystery meet, we cannot know – only hope. We hope because we know. And in that case, Mr. Blow really has nothing to wonder about, at all.

Another interesting poll
on religion and one’s sense of purpose.

Speaking of purpose:
the left is still furious about Obama inviting Rick Warren to pray at his inaugural. I think there is an opportunity here for some long-overdue national dialogue on what constitutes “hate” as opposed to a simple and honest difference of opinion. To some, Warren, who is hardly what one would call “obsessed” on gay issues, is not 100% in-line (he does not support gay marriage) therefore he must be a “hater” and a “homophobe. Frank Rich has an especially hysterical, dress-over-the-face bit of blather on this, today. The formula appears to be: “if you do not agree with everything I want, you are an intolerant hater who should be marginalized. But if I do not agree with what you think, I am simply correct. And you are stupid.”

On the political front: President-elect Bush worked out daily and was derided for it, Obama is praised for it. Bush made it clear he missed his privacy, Obama bristles about it. Bush ignored it and went about his business, during which time he liberated 60 million people and, as Jules remarks has accepted the role of punching bag at the same time. Bush has done more to keep people alive in Africa than any president previous, to almost no notice, little regard and less praise. Obama will likely do much less and get enormous credit.

I’m just sayin’. I mean, it’s just my opinion. I never claimed to be a journalist or anything!

Finally: Jamie Lee Curtis says the economic downturn will be a good thing for the peasant class. Or something. Hmmm…daughter of Hollywood B+ royalty, married to a Baron who also happens to be a wealthy filmmaker. She’d know all about it, then. I’m all for cutting back, walking, and “sharing” etc. I just don’t know how I feel about being cheered on by a limousine liberal-type who will very likely not be hanging her clothes on a line to save on the electric bill. Oh, wait…I already do that…

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