I was thinking about our conversation today and it occurred to me that the “I am right and you are wrong” attitude is not an indictment of religion, but of arrogance.
I find it frustrating that public discussions of religion are rarely centered around what religion is actually about, what religion actually teaches, such as love, humility, compassion, forgiveness, redemption, and charity. Talk about “religious truths” are never about these, but rather, the metaphysical aspects of the unknowable.
Here is a very well-known, truly Catholic (universal) prayer that captures the essence of what I have been taught by my religion…
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following Your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please You
does in fact please You.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
This is the “religion” that I have been taught in the Catholic Church: humility, hope, and faith. Arrogance, on the other hand, is never a religious virtue, and where it appears, “religion” has been tossed aside in favor of ego, just as it was in the Garden. When someone says, “I am right and you are wrong” I would argue that they are no longer dealing in religion, but rather their own ego.
As always, I enjoy these discussions.
“Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.” — Einstein