To most people, “belief” defines what they hold dear. In creeds, confessions, and unspoken ways, belief codifies in word and concept the structures of thought, and is often ratified by the authority traditions in their world. When one is believing “correctly” one feels a sense of security. When religions disagree, or even go to war, the justification for this is difference of belief and the divinely sanctioned rightness of the cause.
Belief is about concepts, law and controllable, measurable precepts. It judges, controls, “divides asunder” and discriminates. Belief creates walls and categories. Belief separates.
So here’s the point … belief is very different to faith, to trust, and to love. The Yang-nature of belief does not empathise or seek connection, it cannot operate in compassion. Only love does this.
There is possibly no greater text on Love than the of Paul letter to the Corinthians. If there is going to be a guiding text for an interspiritual movement, this must be it. Do not read this narrowly, as an exclusive banner for Christianity, but rather see it as Paul’s free gift to the world, to all of us, regardless of what we believe:
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be cancelled.
1 Corinthians 13:4-10, The Message
Part of a blog series “Why Interspirituality is the future” leading up to The Father John Oliver Memorial Lecture “BELONGING TO GOD: Spirituality, Science & a Universal Path of Divine Love” by Will Keepin , PhD , co-founder of the Satyana Institute and a leader in the “interspiritual” movement.
The Father John Oliver Memorial Lecture will take place on Tuesday 21st February 2017 at Erin Hall Rondebosch, Cape Town, 19h00 for 19h30 (7.30 pm), hosted by the CTII (Cape Town Interfaith Initiative). See our Facebook event.