Thursday, October 30, 2008

We really can get along

Having read this interview of Gus diZerega by Jason Pitzl-Waters on the Wild Hunt blog (a personal favourite for all things Pagan), I was so impressed that I went out to buy the book (Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and Christian in Dialogue). Having not found it in the first 4 bookshops I tried, I eventually tracked down a copy in Borders on Oxford Street.

From the interview, Gus diZerega said this on the validity of different religions:

“Spirituality puts everything we experience not only into a bigger context, it is a context characterized by meaning, compassion, beauty, and love. Such has been my experience anyway. So the self ceases to be the centre of our universe once we begin to grasp this larger context.

Paganism does the same for religion by demonstrating one can be genuinely and deeply religious without saying my or any other path is best, and that every religion as we practice it illuminates only a portion of the whole divine picture. We free ourselves from equating genuine spirituality with a particular path or expression of the sacred. Instead, it is a quality of engagement found within many paths.

Think of your family. You are likely very devoted to your family without thereby thinking all other families are inferior. They are simply not your family. Same with religion. Now think back how grim the world was when people honoured and trusted only their families. Where such attitudes survive, as in Southern Italy, they contribute to suspicion, violence, and oppression.

Religions are different recognitions and celebrations of humankind’s encounter with that which is superhuman. They are perhaps the most fulfilling expressions of human creativity in this world, bringing together all of our arts, our philosophies and theologies, our hearts and our minds, all in a recognition and honouring of the sacred that underlies and manifests in our reality.”

It is definitely worth reading the full interview and I will let you know what I think of the book!
But the idea of a Pagan and Christian having so much in common (although not suprising) is nice to see in print!