- in my meditation garden -
As I drove my car yesterday I listened to a very disturbing “call-in” radio program on our local NPR station. The topic of the program was, Do Christians and Muslims believe in the same God? Many who called in were pretty “hard-core” conservative Christians who did a lot of Bible-quoting and claimed that these two different religions believe in two different “Gods” and that the Christian “God” would certainly not be inclined to listen to the prayers of Muslims.
Apart from being theologically naïve, the thing that was most disturbing to me about that program was the way in which the various callers were assuming that “God” was basically a guy whose name was “God” - an individual super-being who lived at a heavenly address and, unless you had the right credentials, he wouldn’t take your calls.
As the program went on yesterday I was becoming more and and more frustrated (at one point I thought I might need to pull the car over and cool down). I kept talking to the radio saying, “I don’t know if Christians and Muslims believe in the same God but I sure don’t believe in any of the “Gods” these people on the program are describing.”
When I got home yesterday I serendipitously came across a new video about Different Religions that the Vatican had just released. The video featured a Christian, a Muslim, a Jewish believer and a Buddhist who all made their particular claims about believing in “God” or “Allah” or “Jesus” or confidence in the “Buddha;” but at the end of each claim each different person ended with the same phrase: I believe in Love! And I was suddenly struck by the realization that maybe all this “God-talk” really all boils down to the simple and profound truth that,
If you believe in Love, you believe in God, and
anyone who believes in Love believes in the same God
As I watched that video of the many different faces of people from all across the globe professing their one, common belief in “Love,” I was instantly reminded of a few passages that are at the heart of the Christian Bible:
Where there is Love there is God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because
God is Love.
Interestingly enough all those Bible-quoting Christian believers on that radio call-in show yesterday never quoted any of these passages because the truth is that anyone who believes in Love believes in the same “God.”
In fact, the more I think about it, even so called non-believers, atheists or agnostics who profess a belief in the abiding power of Love at the core of our human condition believe in the same “God” as I do.
As I see it, any words or ideas we ever use about “God” are always human constructs because “God” is a transcendent mystery; and so anything any one of us ever says about “God” (regardless of our religious beliefs) is only a feeble attempt at trying to grasp something that goes well beyond our comprehension. So perhaps the very best any of us can ever do is to say I believe in Love, and then realize that anything else we say about “God” is “up for grabs.”
The Islamic poet, Rumi, said:
Love is the blood in my veins,
A fire that has flooded the nerves of my body.
I believe in Love!