More Joseph Campbell

9 Jan

God has made different religions to suit different aspirants, times, and countries. All doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no means God Himself. Indeed, one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with whole hearted devotion … One may eat a cake with icing either straight or sideways. It will taste sweet either way.” ~ The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

The good news, which the World Redeemer brings and which so many have been glad to hear, zealous to preach, but reluctant, apparantly, to demonstrate, is that God is love, that He can be and is to be, loved, and that all without exception are his children. Such comparatively trivial matters as the remaining details of the credo, the techniques of worship, and devices of episcopal organization (which have so absorbed the interest of Occidental theologians that they are today seriously discussed as the princicpal questions of religion), are merely pedantic snares, unless kept ancillary to the major teaching. Indeed, where not so kept, they have a regressive effect: they reduce the father image back again to the dimensions of the totem. And this, of course, is what has happened throughout the Christian world. One would think that we had been called upon to decide or to know whom, of all of us, the Father prefers. Whereas, the teaching is much less flattering: “Judge not, that ye not be judged.” The World Savior’s cross, in spite of the behavior of its professed priests, is a vastly more democratic symbol than the local flag.
       The understanding of the final – and critical – implications of the world-redemtive words and symbols of the tradition of Christendom has been so disarranged, … , that the modern thinker wishing to know the meaning of a world religion (i.e. of a doctrine of universal love) must turn his mind to the other great (and much older) universal communion: that of the Buddha, where the primary word is still peace – peace to all beings.

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