Like many people my parents dressed me up and took me to Sunday school most Sunday mornings when I was young. I was usually more interested in the clock than the content. Sometime during this attempt to indoctrinate me with religious dogma I started calling God by the name of Ralph. At the time I’m sure it was due more to the desire to draw attention than it was to make some great statement. However, the name of Ralph has stuck with me to this day.
Fast-forward to approximately 30 years old later at the young age of roughly 45 I signed up for a adult Sunday school class at a large church located here in Indianapolis. As I remember the class was to last only 8 weeks during which we would discuss the importance of accepting Jesus to be the son of God.during one Sunday’s class after four or five weeks one of the ladies in the class said that unless a person accepted Jesus as the son of God he would not be accepted into heaven upon upon his death. I could not contain myself and quickly said the following. I asked the lady if that meant that somebody or child that had never heard of Jesus would also be judged by the same rules. She said most definitely. I went on to ask if she was referring to the “name” Jesus or God’s Son? Would it be fair to say most share the belief there is likely something larger and greater than us that created everything we know and see. Just maybe in other places this entity goes by a different name. Could it be possible that God is the main guy and Jesus is the Eastern Sales Manager with Mohammad is the Eastern Sales Manger. Well, the nice lady was appalled. I went on to say that I called the entity that I believe was responsible for creating everything we see and know “Ralph”. There was a moment that I was deeply concerned that I would now be responsible for her immediate demise. I went on to ask if it was not possible that God, being the name that most people used, could not be the same person some referred to by other monikers. She immediately told me there can only be one name because it was specified in the Bible. I went on to suggest but I doubted that any entity that could have created anything so special and perfect as the world we live in would care what anybody called him, her or it. Needless to say, I was quickly informed that my pass to the “Pearly Gates” was less than secure.
I am currently reading Bill O’Reilly’s book and titled the Killing of Jesus as well as a book called Buddhism for Beginners. I highly recommend both books as they are very similar as both books talk the major problem being intolerance. I will not attempt here to try to explain the similarities between the two books. What I will say is the underpinning of both books is that we all respect each other’s beliefs, learn to love our differences, and be secure with who we are. And yes, defend our right to be who we are.