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Religions reflect deep truths

By The Rev. Allen Breckenridge
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
February 15, 2000
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To the editor,

Several people died and went to heaven. On a walking tour with St. Peter, they saw many groups which he indicated were believers from all faiths sharing in fellowship. Coming to a walled-off area and hearing mumbling on the other side, they asked: "What's happening here?" St. Peter remarked, "Oh, that's writers of letters to the Wildcat who think they're the only ones up here!"

I've been troubled by recent Wildcat letters seemingly expressing that God's kingdom is more a gated-community, than wide-open rangeland! As Michael Berdine correctly rebutted recently, some mistakenly think religions are bodies of totally like-thinking believers! Several writers have judged the Mormon community quite harshly through such filters. But the Mormon community's faith, commitment, and willingness to engage in diversity programs about the sacred is admirable. Their willingness to be involved in activities for our Religious Diversity week events is appreciated.

This lack of appreciation about diversity issues on this campus, religious or otherwise, is troubling. There's a tendency to talk a lot, but not listen to others beliefs about the sacred.

Paul Tillich, in his book The Future of Religions, expressed a few helpful presuppositions to a broader religious understanding: 1.) Revelatory experiences are universally human. 2.) Revelation is in terms of people's finite situation, limited, even distorted. 3.) A revelatory process exists in which limits and distortions are subjected to criticism - by the mystical, prophetic, and secular. 4.) There may be a central event that unites positive developments and makes a universally significant theology possible. 5.) Religions don't exist alongside culture, but are its depths. The sacred is the creative ground and a critical judgment of the secular, and religions are subject to judgment and criticism by the secular . These powerful principles point out that we need to be more open to exploring the sacred and listening with love to others' experiences and questions about the sacred. There is a need for clarity and commitment to belief and action, but only when it's done in love for one another, for as St. Paul said, "Without love, I am nothing!" We need to enter into a more loving search for truth together and pursuit of and by the sacred.

The Rev. Allen Breckenridge,

Episcopal Chaplain University of Arizona and Pima Community College

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