Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lost in Translation

Sunday is the day that separates Christians from Jewish, Muslim and Hindu. Today is the day of the week that a great many of us dedicate to our faith. Some of us will be taught goodwill to all men, others will be taught non-tolerance. Today is a day full of magic. It's is the day that many of us are told that our faith is right and that others are wrong. For many, today is the day when faith becomes fact.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-Christian or any other faith. It just bothers me that we spend so much time concentrating on the things that make us different – when we should be concentrating on the things that we have in common.

Let's start first with the Zoroastrian faith. It introduces us to Mithra - "the pagan Christ". Mithra was born on the 25th of December, performed miracles, was known as "Messiah", died and resurrected on the 3rd day.

Over in Hinduism we find that Krishna was a carpenter. He was an Earthly manifestation of God, was born of a virgin and baptized in a River.

From the Egyptian Book of Dead (1280 BC), we are told that Horus was the son of God. He was baptized in a river, born of a virgin, had 12 disciples, healed the sick, walked on water, was crucified and later resurrected. 

More than the similarities in the stories are the similarities in the message. Almost all popular religion today spread the same message of goodwill to all men, treat others as you wish to be treated and tell us that stuff like murder, rape and incest are bad (lets just ignore Lot's daughters today, ok?).

Christianity and Islam believe in the supreme God – maybe even the same God? There are differences in the scripture, sure, but the messages are pretty much the same. And, really, is it any wonder that there are so many interpretations of the same teachings? We've been playing Chinese Whispers since the Bronze Age.

Could it be that Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindu's and just about everyone else actually believes the same thing? Perhaps we're just lost in translation here? Even the Hindu's with their seemingly endless list of Gods believe that they're all just facets of the one Supreme God (Brahma). Is this that different to Christians believing Jesus to be the Earthy manifestation of God? Consider for a moment the 100's of different translations of these texts. I contend that by getting all literal with these texts that we're missing something. I fear that what we're all missing is the one thing that we need to find in this day and age – common ground, respect and understanding.


The more loving one by W. H Auden
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.




Hal Johnson said...

Yep. One reason I distanced myself from "legalistic" Christianity is that, even as a kid, I felt to my core that all of those supposedly "competing" prophets and messiahs were working for the same boss.

Hal Johnson said...

And by the way, it's great to see you writing again.

Dean said...

Thanks for stopping by Hal... Its nice to be back. I missed this.

Debby said...

Yes. That is exactly what it means. Which means that I'm sitting in a church listening to a preacher tell me how I should be offended by other faiths, and how the BIBLE says they are going to hell, and therefore, etc. etc. etc. I sit there, and I do not believe, and I figure that God will take care of the judging, when it is all said and done, and I walk out the door and try to love everybody without a mind to our differences.