The key question here, in my mind, is which region of the world took the path to Christianity that Jesus himself would've preferred?
Which is better, distorting the principals of a Christianity to keep the religion singular, or to live by the principal of Christian compassion and in doing so, lose the singularity of a religion.
What do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, "Son, go work today in my vineyard." He answered, "I will not," but afterward he changed his mind, and went. He came to the second, and said the same thing. He answered, "I go, sir," but he didn't go. Which of the two did the will of his father?
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men; for you don't enter in yourselves, neither do you allow those who are entering in to enter. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel around by sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much of a son of Gehenna as yourselves.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will tell those on his right hand, "Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me."
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?"
The King will answer them, "Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." Then he will say also to those on the left hand, "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you didn't give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and you didn't take me in; naked, and you didn't clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn't visit me."
Then they will also answer, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn't help you?"
Then he will answer them, saying, "Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn't do it to one of the least of these, you didn't do it to me." These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
Beyond knowing, beyond words
You are the truth, steadfast for all time.
Compassionate Father, Radiant Son,
Pure Wind King - three in one...
Supreme King, Will of Ages,
Compassionate Joyous Lamb
Loving all who suffer
Fearless as You strive for us
Free us of the karma of our lives,
Bring us back to our original nature
Delivered from all danger.
Sutra of Praise to the Three Powers, A.D. ca. 780-790
(see page 203)
Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.
Assayas: I'd be interested to hear that.
Bono: That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep shit. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.
-Michka Assayas, "Bono: Grace over Karma." Excerpted from Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas.
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