Religion: that which can unite, divide or confuse us. Like Arthur Saginian, I was once agnostic. Unlike him, I now believe in the Creator God. When I was an agnostic, I had lost trust in the Christianity I believed in and practiced with so passion for many years. Due to a series of events, I began to have doubts about the existence of Jesus or God. Like Mr. Saginian, I questioned religious leaders. I attended services of various beliefs and followed a variety of New Age gurus. When I found my way back, I realized there are many ways people practice their faith, all believing they are the only true one, and I wondered if it were not possible that the Creator, when He saw the condition of humans, might have sent to different parts of the world a variety of souls taking into consideration the difference in customs.
Are all the “isms” wrong? Are some right? Are all right in different ways or do they have it all wrong? Certainly there are similarities in some and differences in others. Does just believing result in salvation? Does atonement give us a pass to the great beyond and a better future life? Is karma the answer? Must we suffer here to repay our transgressions from another lifetime?
I know with a degree of certainty that Jesus existed. I know Moses existed and I challenge Mr. Saginian to do as I once did. While traveling in Japan years ago I saw their grave markers. For Jesus it was a simple marker on a dirt mound. I was in awe since Japan is primarily Shinto and Buddhist. Interestingly, in that area a number of people do not have characteristic Japanese features but rather are blue-eyed and exhibit non-Japanese speech patterns and customs. They claim to be descendants of the one enshrined in the small tomb. Why Japan? The story of how these markers came to be in Japan is told in the ancient Takenouchi documents. Are these to be believed?
I’ve come to realize we don’t know much of anything for sure, but I feel it is essential that we imperfect humans have faith in someone or something greater than ourselves. Looking at society today it’s obvious some change is needed. I concur with Pastor David Hegg that we have become a society that demands we think and believe as they do and adopt their ideals and beliefs or we are wrong. Perhaps we could begin by developing behavior that focuses not on what serves our own ends, desires and “rights,” but rather that which makes our world a better place by listening to and focusing on the needs of others. That we learn to live in love and harmony, accepting our differences and applauding our sameness, realizing being different is not wrong. Perhaps this could satisfy the religious among us as well as the agnostics and Mr. Saginian.