When I speak with a person who had an orthodox Christian upbringing, it is curious how determined they seem to be that Jesus is the only Savior, and that anyone who would not follow the path they follow, is doomed to hell. Yet when I speak with an orthodox Jew, or a devout Muslim, they seem pretty sure that their path is the one absolute road to salvation. How similar orthodoxism (yeah, I know, not a dictionary word…) seems to be. There are some variants between the different religions, not to mention their many flavors (e.g. Catholicism, Baptism, Presbyterian, JW…) but the conviction remains the same.
Whatever path one follows, imagine being born into a whole different environment. If you are a Christian, imagine being born into an Orthodox Jewish or Muslim family. If you are Jewish, imagine being born into a Christian or Muslim family, and so on and so forth. From a very young age, you are being pounded with the belief system of your parents, teachers, and later on, your friends. It is a brainwash. Very few are able to, as they grow up, break away from that programming. That is no wonder. At a tender age we are most susceptive, and whatever our parents and other authoritative adults in our lives say, must be true.
Maybe Jesus was the son of God. I personally believe that we are all sons and daughters of God, but that aside, maybe he was the one and only Savior. Or maybe he was just a Jewish guy on a quest to end corruption that prevailed in the Jewish leading institutions of his time. Regardless, Jesus became a symbol and a deity representing something larger than life; an aspiration. The way I see it, one does not need to be a Christian to be inspired by Jesus, by St. Francis, or, for that matter, by the Buddha. If I can form a relationship with the vibrations these deities represent, they become energies I can call into my life at a time of need. To say that one is a Christian and then act in a manner that discriminates others for their ethnicity, gender, sexual identification, or any other such factor, is to say one thing and act another. My perspective is that to connect with St. Francis is all about charity and unconditional giving. To connect with the Buddha is to be an observant of suffering without becoming entangled in the drama. To connect with Jesus is to offer forgiveness without playing the victim.
The spiritual path is not one but many. We each walk our own unique trail, and rather than imitate what others tell us is the right way, we can have a direct experience with what is Divine for us. Doing so, we ultimately come to see that despite our differences, and maybe because of them, we all share the same Divine Heart. Names and titles of deities become somewhat irrelevant. Words and actions are what really matter. I love Jesus for what he represents for me. I love the Buddha and Quan Yin for what they inspire me to do. And with that said, I chisel my own path in this journey called my life.