07 November 2001

Statement of Belief

I believe that the members of the VCBC believe all kinds of different things.
I believe that what I believe is not nearly as important for you as what you believe.
I believe that what I believe is not ultimately important even for me, because I refuse to commit the idolatry of worshipping my own opinions (some of which must be wrong, because I am human).

I believe the following, common to most faith traditions:
Organized religion tames the idea of God (or Ultimate Reality) to support its existence and to affirm its cultural milieu. This is a leading cause of atheism.
God is one. Truth is one. We are one. We need love, honesty, and faith to get ourselves together. Since all truth is God's Truth, any honest method of inquiry, pursued faithfully, with loving regard for the subject, will point toward God. This includes science, which can serve to correct our idolatrous beliefs.
Being human means being on our own, free to become ourselves without reference to God. To enable this, God makes the universe work according to rational principles, which means that God does not fix things when they don't work out the way we want.
We think we are human beings who occasionally have spiritual experiences, but we are really spiritual beings who are here to have human experiences. When we think we are the only spiritual beings in our world we deceive ourselves.
The spirit of God creates, sustains, pervades, participates in, and transcends, everything.
I believe the following, specific to Christianity:
God, for love of us, became an ordinary person — Jesus — to be with us as one of us. People just like us — which means that we are just like them — killed him because he did not conform to their beliefs about God.
Belief is an act of embracing opinions, which becomes idolatry when our opinions about God become more important to us than our relationship with God (i.e., when we crucify Christ).
Jesus arose from death — an act by which God not only forgives us for being like his murderers, but promises to bring us into a new relationship with God beyond our present lives. This act is powerful enough to redeem the entire universe.
I further believe that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are different ways to worship the same God, see below.
I believe that because the moral teachings of the world's major religions are summarized in passages like these (from the Bible):
"And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
"Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thine heart, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength... Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
we need to quit fighting over the details of what we believe.

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