Sunday, April 08, 2007

Give Me...

I am not religious and I know this topic maybe a bit 'less sexy' from the rest of my posts, but on this Easter Sunday, I would like to ask a question: What does salvation mean to you?

Creation myths describe the order of the world, often depicting a golden era, shattered, leading to pain and death. A desire to restore that golden era, for instance the Garden of Eden, by overcoming death and alleviating suffering leads to salvation schemes. Resurrection is a common theme.

Egyptians, 4400 years ago, following the example of Osiris, had elaborate embalming and burial rituals. Resurrection was the dream. Resurrection and judgment were adopted by early Jews to redress inequities in this life. Christians cast Jesus death in a resurrection/ judgment theme tying him to messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. Christian writers widened access to salvation by increasing the avenues of approach, at one time salvation was sold for money.

The power of Western religion rests on the ability to manipulate that sense of human inadequacy which expresses itself in guilt. The stroke of genius which allowed ecclesiastical power to succeed was connecting salvation (and guilt) to pervasive human desires, especially sexual desire. That connection was largely a Christian achievement.

Muslims find salvation through faith in Allah. The Hindu finds salvation in an end to the cycle of rebirths. Buddhists seek release from Karma that holds us as suffering hostages to the past. Salvation is no simple idea.

I personally reject ties between mortality and salvation. Mortality is simply part of the wonderful gift of life. Salvation is not related to restoration of a golden era. Salvation is related to deliverance from suffering. We draw ideals and support from Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Aboriginals, to undergird a belief that suffering can be mitigated. Salvation can come from following principles in- cluding, commitment to a caring presence, faith in democratic ideals, compassionate love expressed in a world where all people live in an interdependent web, and devotion to diminishing the destructive effects of emotions like lust, greed, pride, anger, and fear.

To me, salvation is realised by working to restore dignity (the ability to make meaningful decisions about one's future) to all people. Salvation is found in daily encounter with human relationships, economics, poli- tics and faith. Our faith draws on the ethics of Jesus, Gandhi, Gautama Buddha, Schweitzer, Mother Theresa, and many other people.

When we turn our thoughts to restoring the glory of the past we easily neglect the realities of the present for a future that cannot be. The signature of salvation is caring and justice work in this world, at this moment.

So what do you think? I hope I didn't bore you to death. Happy Easter!

11 comments:

Nick said...

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I would be thrilled if you would add my blog to your list, I would of course add yours to my list in return.

Wishing you a very Happy Easter.. hope the bunny comes and leaves lots of chocolate eggs.

Thanks so much in anticipation, and keep up the great work.

Kind regards

Nick

J said...

Just really wanted to tell you how much I love your blog. It's the best I've come accross so far. Obviously an enormous amount of work, for which I thank you very much. Pure pleasure for us readers, indeed. Please keep it up!

As for salvation, I tend to believe that most human beings have - provided they are honest to themselves - a fairly decent sense of what's good and what's bad. And once you've done something bad, there is no easy way out. You just have to do your best to make up for it. It's all on you.

Happy Easter!

J

Jeremiah said...

This is my blog:
http://jeremiahandrews.wordpress.com/

I love your blog as well. For me I've studied religion in University over the last four years. Salvation for me will take place between my God and myself. The longer I studied religion, the farther away from the institution I was removed.

I believe that every person has a redeeming quality, and that the life I have lived and the character of a man I have built for myself, is the stuff that will determine my salvation.

With all the religious traditions I have studied, God is an amalgamation of all that can be. Some would disagree, but who cares.

Thanks for the topic
Jeremy

Joseph said...

Happy Easter to you!
I appreciate to read this topic from a 'unreligious' P.O.W., even if we all have a denominational cultural backgrown... I just wanted to point the difference between redemption -for me trying to erase the fault, sin, W.E.- & salvation -when one's god or ONESELF forgive.
May everyone find Peace in oneself, with the help of one's faith, friends & family.
Carpe diem ;°) (enjoy the day)

Anonymous said...

Will, A Blessed Easter to you!
Salvation for me is attaining godlikeness, especially in self transcending love. I do believe it happens now and continues in the hereafter.
Peace and love to you,
p

Sousehd said...

Jeremiah (above) is right. We have to distinguish God from any institutional representation that tends to reflect more the institution than the Reality. Creation is pure gift. In awe, all we can say is Thank You. None of us ever asked to be. Salvation - the infinity of life for each of us - is gift as well. Just say Thank You - and anticipate great joy.

jason said...

I enjoyed reading your comments. Not only are you a good-looking guy with great taste in men, but you have a reflective side, too. The comments posted above are all thoughtful, as well. It's nice to see what really fine people like this blog! Peace and blessings to all of you.

Not so Single Guy said...

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jemmytee said...

Fascinating subject, Pr8. I'm one of those who believes in a God (my own preference is Christian, but that doesn't mean I think Allah or Jahweh or Buddha are wrong) but I saw religion for what it was long ago -- just one more method of control over those who fear thinking for themselves. Marx had it wrong. Religion is not the opiate of the masses, it's the chains of their slavery.

You know, the more I see of your blog, the more I like how you think.

lancelot90 said...

I know little about religion… But you write good articles, keep moving

Hunter said...

At work one day this girl invited me and my entire department to go to church with her one Sunday. I promptly responded by saying, "The only religious thing I do on Sunday is sit at home and watch Madonna videos."

She told me I was going to burn for that and I replied I was use to being on fire. She gave up and walked away.