Posted: 20 May 2016 02:10 PM PDT
Between age seven and puberty,
God looked human for me
and I took religious stories and symbols literally.
my beliefs were determined by dogma and doctrines
handed down by religious authority figures.
With further development,
I grew to a stage of critical reflection,
where the religious stories and symbols were de-mythologized
and my self-actualizing drives emerged.
Late in life,
I became alive to paradox and the truth
in apparent contradictions,
and was freed
from the confines of tribe, class, religion, or nation.
At my earlier levels,
Others represented a threat,
or objects of derision,
even opportunities for conquest or conversion.
I am now much more accepting of Others,
living in a universalized faith,
characterized by my taste and feel
for a transcendent moral and religious actuality,
with devotion to compassion
and an enlarged vision of Community.
I realize now that my religion-driven tension
stemmed from a dogmatic and tribal mindset
typical of those stuck in the early stages of development.
Throughout the world,
tension and conflict arise
when religions bump up against one another,
and against those of us
whose perspectives are more pluralistic
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