Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Divine confusion

Religion is an infintely fascinating subject. People who claim that the Bible is full of hate, contradications and old thinking are often the people who haven't read the Bible, or any religion's holy texts for that matter. The thing which I find so interesting about religion is that in attempting to define the spiritual realm, we end up describing human beings far more succinctly than if we purposefully set ourselves that task.

One of my favourite parts of the Christian scriptures is the chapter in Hebrews which describes the church as being surrounded "by so great a cloud of witnesses", which it then goes on to list. Men of Biblical renown such as David, Isaac, Jacob, Solomon, thieves, liars, adulterers and murderers.

Take the life of David for example; everyone knows the story of how he killed the giant Goliath with a sling shot; how he wrote many beautiful psalms which are sung in various contexts around world every weekend. This man is held up as an example of Godly living, both in Scripture and in sermons - this is after all a man whom God loved. This is a man who had sex with his neighbour's wife; and to cover up his sin saw to it that the neighbour, who happened to be an officer in the army, would die in battle. Lust, adultery, murder - and yet David is regarded as a great and godly man.

That one story tells us everything we need to know about humanity - within the soul of a person lies the ability to perform great deals, to create sublime art, and the will to pervert all that a person holds dear simply to get what you want. Living with this paradox is one of the challenges of being human, accepting that there are no good people or bad people, but that all people are good and bad at the same time.

That gives me hope, tells me that I have choice as to how I life.