What are we against? This question is for people of all stripes – for everyone. Can we really name what we are against, or do we hide what we are really afraid of by calling it something else? There are those who do dare to hide their true fear and inner angst, that God may favor some over others, by claiming some kind of a divine preference. “Jesus is Savior1 and God’s ‘only’ Son!” There is a mistaken implication in almost all creation stories that those people, whose story it is, are automatically favored over and against any other people and other cultures’ creation myths. This belief, in itself, is an estuary for personal and tribal/nationalistic hubris and narcissism. Of course there is no creator, or potential from which we arise, that would present a, “perfectness,” filled with favoritism in any real wisdom supposedly spoken by the mouth of the God of all existence. A god, filled with favoritism would be imperfect. It is true that our beliefs about God, who we are and what our purpose in life is, are what give us a vision of reality out of which to live life. This is true no matter if one believes in the Mystery of Being or not. If we believe we are favored, we will insist on living like it at the cost of anyone else’s God given space and time.
Statements by different religions and faith traditions are blatantly open about their bigotry and bias. “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His prophet,” is a perfect example of blatant bigotry and favoritism. “No one comes unto the Father except by me,” and, “You must confess Jesus Christ as your savior,” are also blatant statements of hubris and narcissism. I am not against either religion. They have put themselves against peoples and cultures by claiming a non-existent exclusivity. Could we not say, “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed can teach us about Him.” Christians must ask themselves what it means to confess Christ, or rather, the Anointed One. These titles transcend any form of favoritism and/or name. Christians must understand that the passage used to raise Jesus up as the one everyone must go through to reach God has been terribly misunderstood. This saying means simply that the Logos/Wisdom/Sophia of God, who is incarnate in Jesus, will be the judge of who is in our out of God’s community and not us – so just do good for goodness’ sake.
We play favorites and God does not. The saying in John about coming to the Father is commenting on the command to, “Judge not!” What is supposed to be good news, “You do not have to worry about who is in or who is out; God loves us all; just live according to God’s command to love one another, is turned into a threat, and we are being asked to favor one teacher over another. This is our doing. God is not against anything, nor does God favor anyone. The Fountain of Life, that is God, is hidden in plain sight for any who thirst to see and to drink from. There is a “way” to this Fountain that appears to be judgmental with a tendency to favoritism, but it is not. The way to God is through a true understanding that we are all one. To not understand this is the darkness that hides the Fountain hidden in plain sight and it is not the Fountain’s doing.
Those who point to Genesis and the story of Cain and Abel as proof that God favored anyone’s offering should read it more carefully. Up until this time, in the creation story, God has been portrayed as speaking for God’s self. Now, God’s thinking is being said from the voice of the writer, a third party observation comes into play saying that God had regard for Abel’s offering over that which had been offered by Cain. The observation could be that of Cain’s that God, then, speaks against. We are asked, “Why are you angry and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” The idea that God has favored an offering is of our own creation caused by our expecting a reward for doing what we should, worshiping God.
Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes this child welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” John answered, “Master we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.”