We are all individuals, distinct from each other, and of diverse opinion in all manner of things.
When we cast opinions, we are revealing just what kind of structure lives inside us. (Unless we are being deliberately deceitful).
As far as religion goes, we have displayed before us a myriad of diversity, conviction and conclusion. Attitudes are revealed, some of them not good.
Nowhere do we see as much of a problem as when we look at denominational differences, to use the denominational term loosely. Our beliefs are a product of our inner thinking structure and how it is formed.
In a recent post I talked about “Christ being formed in you”, but it would be just as easy to talk about “The devil being formed in you”, or, a Baptist being formed in you, or, an Anglican or Catholic being formed in you. (I think the Catholics have said something about “give us a child for 7 years…or something similar).
The human mind is such that it can take hold of any number of precepts, and turn them into a religion, or into a fresh set of laws. It is the property of the flesh to turn ideas into laws, as it seeks to defend itself from, and to deflect, truth, because truth is an attack on its own “self”, that self that we are deeply invested in, and whose self protection mechanisms are alive and well.
So opinions and conclusions are as many as there are thought patterns in our mind, whether they be long standing and immovable, or whether they be relatively recent and to some degree, flexible.
Our structure carries with it what we call “bias” and “prejudice”, i.e. we have thought patterns that are “predisposed” to follow previously arranged paths, so that the conclusion arrived at is always likely to come back to the same spot, the same thing.
This does not help when it comes to seeking truth. One has to be prepared to examine diverse points of view, others points of view, and to change one’s own thinking when necessary. So we have to have fluidity of thought to be able to consider various opinions.
This is all against the backdrop of scripture, which carries with itself the “spirit” of truth, we have to be discerning enough to be able to judge where the thread of scripture has come from and where it is going, and its meaning and more importantly, its intention.
It would be simpler if there was some influence that could be called into place, some helper, that would guide our understanding, and guess what? There is! Called the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of Christ, the helper, the comforter. “The Spirit of truth will lead you into all truth”. All we have to do is ask. Why then does such diversity of opinion exist? It has to be because people are not asking, because they are so overwhelmed with the thought patterns of the flesh, that they cannot see the forest for the trees.
The complexity of some religious structures is mind blowing. Once entwined in some of these, the darkness they bring is hard to escape from. One should always look for the inherent simplicity, because truth is far more likely to be found in simplicity than in complexity. Sometimes it seems it is only possible to explain the simplicity by entering into the complexity, but this is making hard work of it, the answer lies in Christ, and always will, in his sacrifice of himself for us, that we might acknowledge the truth, and enter into it.