Shannon Apple wrote:
I won't pretend to be some super religious Catholic because I am not, lol, but I try to do the best I can as a person and that's all anyone can do. We all pray to the one God (people who believe that is). That's how I see it, so there really isn't any right or wrong way to do it and it all depends on what religion you were born into 90% of the time.
Doesn't your last sentence,which I agree with,make you wonder that if it's just a cultural or geographical lottery that decides the details of what you believe,nobody might have the winning ticket?Or that none exists?
It could be. It could be that there is one, true, "ultimate truth", but that the way different people must each, individually reach it differs. This might sound a tad like Hinduism, but I mean something more specific. All musicians play music, but some play drums, some play the Clarinet, some play Tuba. Each is important for an orchestra, but the path to learn each is pretty specific. Few can "bounce" from one to another.
I don't really know what the "ultimate truth" is, except I do firmly believe in Christianity. What I also believe, though, is that Christ can take many forms and go by many names. I met southern women in the deep south of Mississippi who saw Christ, who "connected" with Christ primarily through Gospel sings and hymns. I have seen more "hippie churchers" who connected through "drums and hugs". I have seen many who find deep, private contemplation through going to church in "suits and ties", reciting liturgy... and monks who escape and rarely come back to be with other people as a way of pursuing their personal faith. If we, in the US church, can see and understand so much variation in what is almost the "same" culture, then would God not be able to find ways to reach people who think entirely differently in other ways?
The only real evidence I have is from folks like those involved with Wycliff (sp?) Bible translators, who spend over a year, maybe 2 before even beginning to mention anything close to the word "God". They feel it takes that long to truly understand the culture enough to be able to truly communicate God's word. Further, even once they reach "full fluency", they will not go about and massively instruct, they will find 1-2 people to talk with. The goal is to find someone within that culture who can come back and learn the Bible in English (or another language) well enough to then translate it back to their own people. Anyway, they say that , inevitably, once they get to the point of "talking God", they usually get a response to the effect of "oh.. that is what you call it", meaning not just the name, but the entire religion of Christianity. Of course, there are variations, but there are variations in faith, period.
Ultimately, we each are given our own path to follow. Why or how is just something that "is". I am Christian, a Protestant Christian. I do not feel comfortable in the Roman Catholic Church. I don't feel comfortable in the Baptist church, either. Yet, I can recognize that each of these churches brings people to Christ, teaches them "the way" and does, for them, what my church does for me... perhaps more in many cases. I can disagree with them on individual points, debate them, but I don't condemn them as unChristian for disagreeing. Nor do I feel I can call people outside the church "bad" or even "unfaithful" because they do differently from I. If they are following their path, then they are seeking God. It is for God, not I to judge.