A recent survey documented in the Washington Post section “On Faith” indicates that a greater percentage of Atheists and Agnostics have more knowledge of the world’s various religions than those who profess a belief in God. These statistics may be a bit surprising, but they are indicative of the degree of spiritual illiteracy which exists amongst those of religious persuasion.
Of course, there is still the argument made that a knowledge of religious beliefs does not necessarily constitute a knowledge of God. While that idea may be true to a certain extent, and a plausible point of contention for some, could it also be a mask to cover a dogmatic deficiency? Is there really any excuse for not being aware of what other religions believe while embracing a belief system that considers everyone else to be wrong?
Unfortunately, history is full of examples of martyrs and those tortured for their faith in the name of religion simply because they differed in their beliefs concerning God. In the same way, many religious groups hold to the idea that theirs is the only road to heaven, while condemning others that do not adhere to those beliefs. In light of the results of this survey, is such a view justifiable given that most have little or no knowledge regarding other religions?
When it comes right down to it, is it really possible to form a mental concept that fully describes God?
Does any “religion” possess the totality of Truth concerning God?
If we are to base our understanding of God upon beliefs which are common to religions worldwide, we must conclude that God is ultimately indefinable and incomprehensible.
As Spinoza succinctly declared, “To define God is to deny God.”
For having a mere definition of God would be equivalent to simply knowing about God instead of truly possessing an intimate knowledge OF God.
The Apostle Paul states, in the New Testament book of Romans, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”.In addition, he makes mention more than once of the love and peace of God which surpasses human understanding.
The Bhagavad-Gita speaks of “the eternal, immutable, and incomprehensible Spirit”. (2:18)
Any concept of God is limited, because it is entrenched in preconceptions regarding who or what God is. For example: Is a simply anthropomorphic view of the Divine really much better than not believing in God at all?
Jesus said, “God IS a SPIRIT, and those that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth,” and furthermore stated that, “The Holy Spirit will guide you into ALL TRUTH and show you things to come.”
Can we not gather from those statements alone the importance of going beyond all of our preconceptions and finite belief systems to grasp, even in some small measure, the totality of God?