Akbar’s Theology #2 – I am that I am…

When you say you respect all religions, you are saying that you believe in more than one God. Or you are saying that God can manifest in different forms, which is almost equivalent. So, to respect other religions we must admit the limitations in our own religion. In other words, we have chosen one side of God to worship, and not the whole God. Or, we may choose to believe our religion is closest to the ‘true’ God, and by doing this we cannot respect other religions. So, you see we are trapped by our relationship to religion. If we choose to respect religion, we divide God, and admit that there are differences among people that are ordained by a higher power. In other words, the universe would favor some people over others, as a result of the inevitability of conflict over these religious issues, since perpetual respect seems unlikely given the nature of the subject.

Conflicts between religion is necessary if you believe that God is shared by all people, since that God would be a type of truth, toward which religion is pointing. So, to say you respect other religions, you must yourself not be aligned with any religions, since belonging would undermine your capacity to respect others. This is a rather strange form of detachment, since it implies that religion is a form of truthful relationship with existence and yet one we cannot engage in because to do so would divide that toward which we wish to point.

Arguing against religions places us in similar logical peril. To say that religion is wrong, is to make claims that cannot be supported by evidence. And further, to compare religions is equally problematic. However, these comparisons can be done quite well in an ethical framework, but in order to do so one must remove God from all the equations. This is odd too. For, if we were to find that one religion was ethically superior to another, we could only claim its divine superiority on the assumption that God him/her/itself was an advocate for ethical justice, as perceived by the logician.

So, the idea of God, as a way of pointing to the personality that seems to accompany the human condition, out of which we derive our own personalities, is impossible to relate to, and impossible to discard. Religion, therefore, exists inside of this paradox, and is therefore immune from absolute judgment. One is wrong to expect consistency in religion. One is wrong to expect justice out of religion. One is wrong to expect anything within this field, because it is that it is. The contradictions, the conflicts, the differences in expression, do not deaden or empower this force. It remains immovable and yet constantly changing.

Respect has nothing to do with it. This is just another way of comforting ourselves with the delusion that we have a choice.


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