Friday, April 18, 2008

seeds (or even the blossom) of compromise

A few months ago, I made mention of an magazine's interview of Rob Bell. One of the more disturbing and puzzling statements he made in that interview was this one.

The central Hebrew prayer, Deuteronomy 6, says, "Hear O Israel the Lord your God, the Lord is One," so we live with the awareness that all of reality is one. We are connected with all thing everywhere...

Some people object to the idea that he is giving some kind of pantheistic notion of God here by relating the Shema to the idea that "all of reality is one".

So, a bit ago, it was learned that the right reverand Bell was invited to something called Seeds of Compassion, a kind of interfaith dialogue involving people from Buddhism, Judaism, Sikh Islam, and Christianity so-called. In this event, Bell participates in a Q&A session, where one of the Sikh speakers makes this rather curions statement.

Guru Singh,
The Sikh scriptures start with a word Ik Oncar and that is “God is one”. And I think that’s the core thing, we are all children of the same god. It is universal. So when we recognize that feeling that we all are from, whether we believe in a formalized god or an infinite being or a spiritual sense that pervades humanity or cosmos, does not matter.

The transcipt and video can be found here,

The similarities between the statements Guru Singh and Rob Bell are rather striking. Both use a similar phrase, the Shema and the statement "God is one", to refer to some kind of universal connectedness, that to Bell all of reality is one and to Singh we are all children of the same god.

No doubt there is some difference to those conclusions, but are they not similar, too?

And if they are so similar, then does it not follow that Bell probably has quite a bit in common with the ideas of the SoC group? Seriously, why else was he invited to their shindig? Do you think they would invite just any old country preacher in to talk about a Christianity so-called that would mesh with what they wanted to hear? Would they risk having a true "Jesus is the only way" Christian speak at an event meant to pimp for the notion of religion pluralism and the idea that all religions are ok?

No, they knew Bell's ideas, they knew he agreed with them, they knew he would play nice and not go Old Testament on them. They knew he wouldn't call them idol-worshipers who needed to repent and turn to the living and true God.

I actually entertained a tad bit of a hope that they would be wrong, that he would say something worth saying, that he would turn out to be a strong witness to Christ there. Sadly, that hope was dashed. At least it was only a small hope.

If anything, we can see how his ideas mesh with those of these anti-Christ teachers, such a with Guru Singh.

Added note, here's a bit of some similar thinking, from another participant of that discussion. It can be found here...'_InterSpirituality_Talks_Raise_Flags.htm

"We say we are created by one god. We say we are all the human family. That makes us interdependent. That is the basis of compassion because it is the basis of the morality of the world," said Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine Catholic nun.

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