I was chewing my cud a little more about Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress' recent remark from his Texas pulpit:
Part of a pastor's job is to warn his people and others about false religions. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Mormonism are all false religions. And I stand by those statements.Jeffress walked into the media limelight recently by introducing GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry and simultaneously taking a swipe a fellow candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon, by declaring Mormonism to be a "cult." Naturally, everyone jumped on his case for that, but, well, any publicity is good publicity.
His subsequent remark from the pulpit included a discipline (some call it a religion) that I happen to find useful -- Buddhism. But the more I thought about his simultaneously broad-brush and narrow-gauge remark from the pulpit, the more I had to agree with him: I do indeed belong to a false religion.
The difference between Jeffress and me is that where I am willing to admit religion -- in whatever format -- is false, he insists that there are a bunch of false religions AND there is one true one. This is childish, but common enough ... if sad.
How can anyone expect to enter the gates of heaven if they are unwilling to pass through the gates of hell? It simply does not compute in any practical way. As a story line, OK. But when separating fact from fiction, not-so-OK. Religion is limited. Clarity and compassion are not. It's quite simple, but without the willingness to sweat your ass off, without the willingness to examine a beloved hope or belief, you can pass your whole life in a state of fiction.