Moses walked through the desert, led only by God. Jesus did the same. I'm not going to put myself on their level, however, like Moses and Jesus, I've come to the beliefs I have by setting aside all of my religious notions to walk through the desert of the unknown, resting upon the assurance that "God Is" and that if I seek the truth, I shall find it.
John Lennon wrote a song called "Imagine" and so many people seem to not come close to seeing the vision that John was trying to relate. No country, no religion, no war... It's actually amazingly simple, in fact perhaps it's too simple for most people who expect that everything must be complex.
I have come to understand the role that historical events and figures have played in religion enough that I can now look upon the Bible with new eyes. I see the truth within the Bible yet can now also see how historical events, even just the passage of time, has brought us the book that Christians hold dear.
My journey through 'the desert of the unknown' has allowed me to lean upon 'God' without any need for defining what 'God' is other than trusting that whatever 'God' is, "God Is". In doing so I've been free to look into other beliefs and religions. It allowed me to give myself permission to question what I grew up believing and test it. I have found so far that my curiosity to understand the truth about God and spirituality and life in more practical ways has proven to be a grounding force in my life, so far. In attempting to live by the spiritual principles set forth in all religions, I have come to desire a greater understanding of other religions as well.
I was raised as a Catholic, with some Protestant Christians in my extended family. I don't think I could call myself 'Catholic' at this point, nor could I likely call myself 'Christian', though I think of myself as Thomas Jefferson did, who regarded the non-religious philosophies presented by Jesus in the Gospels to be of immense value and guidance. Jefferson said that he felt he could likely consider himself as much or more of a 'Christian' than those who merely claim to be 'Christian' due to Jefferson actually trying to act as Jesus instructed unlike those who were just posturing.
I have become more intrigued in learning about other religious faiths. I have begun reading an English translation of the Quran. I understand that Muslims expect a Muslim to read the Quran in Arabic as it has been for the past 1400+ years. Their reasoning as I understand it is that the Quran has remained the same for that entire period without revision and that the puntuation to stress the inflection of certain words is very important to understanding the meaning. Anyone who knows me and my love and respect of words will know I whole-heartedly respect that. That said, as much as I would like to begin learning Arabic, I feel my motivation for reading the Quran is not to become a Muslim but to draw upon the wisdom that would transcend the translation. I am seeking the truth and though I would like to one day learn not only Arabic but Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Latin and other more contemporary languages like Italian, French and German, I understand that I am mortal and have a limited time in which to do the things that I place value on.
My interest in the spiritual aspects of religions is first and foremost a personal interest. I am not one who believes in an 'all or nothing' approach. I am at this point interested in continuing to uncover the path that I'm discovering. I know I am not the first to discover it but as I believe I've stated in a previous blog entry, I am no longer interested in divisive beliefs but inclusive ones. Ideas that unite are of infinitely greater benefit than those that divide.