I hope that the conversation continues and put in the following comment:
Thank you Wes, for taking the trouble to respond to my question. I am not sure that God and I haven’t already found one another, although I wouldn’t use that language myself because I don’t know if we would actually be meaning the same thing.
I do still wonder if you can imagine the process of seeking and being found to be possible within any other spiritual tradition, and I would like to hear more of your own views on the idea of a unique path to “salvation”.
Book of John notwithstanding, I have difficulty with that idea – especially given the fact that billions of humans have lived their entire lives without any opportunity to actually choose that path.
I will try to express this and related concerns more fully in my own blog, and I do hope that you are willing to continue the conversation.
I will probably add the promised details in a separate posting after giving it a bit more consideration, but here’s a start:
On the question of language:
When Wes says “ if you seek Him you will find Him …”, and even “ I am a believer, a follower, and a servant of God– and am able to know Him because of my faith in his Son “, these are things which some may say with completely different meanings, while others may mean the same thing but use different words.
As examples of the former I am thinking both of various levels of literalness, various apparently contradictory characteristics ascribed to “God” in the bible, and (consequently?) various very different conceptions of what is appropriate behaviour for a “servant of God”.
As examples of the latter, the simple case of someone who speaks a different language may seem trivial, but this leads me naturally to consider whether perhaps the same sense of purpose and duty towards the same “god” might not be expressed in the terms of a different religious tradition.
So, if he is willing to continue, my further questions are:
Do you accept that there may be ways of saying the same things (ie about the nature of ones relation to “God” rather than one’s path to it) that do not make reference to the Christian bible? and if not why not? (This may seem like changing the question but what I am really interested in is less on how one comes to a sense of “salvation” than on how one comes to the conclusion that a particular path is the only valid one)
And if you do accept the possibility of other valid paths, then I would like to get your response to the suggestion that ultimately in all of them the place to look for God is within oneself. It is my understanding that there were many early Christian sects identified as “Gnostic” and that for many of them this was all they meant and that the “hidden truth” interpretation of their message would be regarded as a gross perversion of its intent.In fact the idea that access to salvation is available only by virtue of special secret knowledge which requires an expert to interpret is closer to those of the institution which burned them at the stake than to what I understand of the Gnostics themselves.