We were driving between customer visits, filling the space with the pleasantly inconsequential conversation of casual acquaintances. I don’t remember what was said before or after, but have never forgotten this, “It’s ok to be religious, but people shouldn’t go overboard.”
Did they go overboard?
I don’t know, but doesn’t it seem likely that someone somewhere along the line told Martin Luther King, ‘It’s good to take a stand for equal rights Martin, but don’t you think you might be taking this a little too far?”
Or perhaps when Dietrich Bonhoeffer decided to try to assassinate Hitler, he may have been warned, ‘You could get caught Bonhoeffer, is it really worth it?
It wasn’t the only time I have been accused of being religious. I suspect differently than others though, I define ‘religious’ not as a set of rules or expectations I must follow, but as a worldview that acknowledges the reality around me. I believe we are created beings living in a universe that was imagined, designed, engineered, created and is today actively sustained by an infinitely superior being, one many refer to as God.
I believe we humans were created in the image of that superior being, and thus individually and collectively share many of the characteristics of our creator. One common characteristic is that we will never die. When our bodies stop breathing, that part of us which is really ‘us’ is transplanted into a new body and universe in which we will live forever.
I believe those humans who acknowledge their creator’s infinite justice and love, their own inability to measure up to him, and his very personal offer of a solution to that crisis, are forgiven of all debt and trespasses of his justice, and will live with him in beauty, joy and love into the infinite future.
Those humans who choose to ignore the undeniable drawing of their hearts, and explicitly or implicitly reject the superior being’s offer of a solution to their rattled conscience, are also transplanted into a new body that will never die, but will forever be separated from the beauty, joy and love of the creator, and spend their infinite future in a place of punishment – of ugliness, despair and hatred.
That is what I believe is reality, despite the strong objections and mocking dismissals of many.
Is ‘overboard’ even possible?
I suspect that most of us in hindsight would agree that it made sense for Martin Luther King to be so radical in his pursuit of civil rights, and we are grateful he was. Most of us can also see the value of trying to stop Hitler from completing his horrific plans, and we wish someone had been successful.
And if I, and some of you, share the same ‘religious’ worldview as I have described, is it even possible to ‘go overboard’ in sharing that truth with others? In the infinite future, we will certainly be grateful that someone risked going overboard in sharing the truth with us.
Is it time to evaluate our own efforts? Is it time to risk going overboard for the truth?