Monday, July 25, 2011

Evangelicals and missions

I'm writing in regards to this article:

Click Here -

Briefly, an ex-missionary shares his experience and realization about trying to convert people to Christianity. He realizes that people view evangelists in one of two distinct ways: heroes of the faith who lead exemplary lives, or destroyers of culture and bringers of division and grief. There really isn't much in between. He goes on to realize that maybe these red mythological types (to paraphrase some Integral Theory jargon) would be a whole lot more successful if they stopped trying to get people to convert but rather instead focused on trying to get people to be more conscious and aware, period. (He couches it in Christian terminology, i.e. "to become more like Jesus", which is fine and still accurate. Jesus is an example of a conscious and aware individual that we would not be amiss in seeking to emulate.)

I think this is a great example of a rational person who is beginning to break into the post-modern way of thinking. He seems to be realizing that it's not the wrapper on the candy but the sweetness of what's inside that counts. Religions, doctrines, dogma, creeds are all wrappers. The mythology of each one is different, but the truths in most religions are universal if you dig deep enough.

To take this a step further, a large number of people on the planet take the mythology to be "true". For example, people will believe that the whole mthology of heaven, hell, the bible, and the events that occur within them actually happened, and they will do this sometimes (unfortunately) to the exclusion of what's inside the wrapper: that we should all seek to develop on a personal, familial, national, racial, and world-wide level. Sometimes they forget that things like dogma and the bible are actually TOOLS for developing yourself. Instead they focus on proving historical validity.

I do not want to come across as condescending to those who do believe in the mythology. The people who do believe it are doing it because that's where they are at. I respect them. They are not "wrong" or "bad". It just is what it is, and it is a necessary, needed, and integral part of the whole of Creation to have people who are at that point right now. The gift that these people bring to the world is that they realize that people DO need to follow a set of rules in order to make this planet a more bearable place to live. (They just disagree on what the rules are.) Nevertheless, the need for rules is real. Society is real. Life is real. That is the gift of Stage 3, and it remains useful in further stages.