For some reason with you, and most Christians I meet, all I wish is that they could accept and embrace religions and spirituality around the globe. I beleve that there is really only one religion in a sense. I want to use a metaphor while explaining this, and I would like to liken religion and God to music.
So lets liken religions to NOTES of this music, but the music itself the one RELIGION. Every religion strikes a note, a note which answers the demand of humanity in a certain epoch. But at the same time, the source of every note is the same music which manifests when the notes are arranged together. All the different religions are the different notes, and when they are arranged together they make music. You may ask why, at each epoch, all the music was not given, a single note? The answer is that there are times in the life of an infant when a rattle is sufficient; for the violin another time in life comes. During the time of the Chadians, Arabs, Romans, Greeks, different religious ideals were brought. To the few music was brought, to the many only a note. This shows that this music has always existed, only that man in general was not ready to grasp it, and so was given only one note. But the consequence was that the person who was given the C note and the other who was given the G note fought together, each saying, “”The note given to me is the right note.” There have always existed souls who have said, “G is right,” and others who have said, “C is right.” All are right notes, and when they are mixed together, then there is music. This shows that there is an outer substance of religion which is the form, and the inner essence which is wisdom. When wisdom has blessed the soul, then the soul has heard the divine music. And the words of Christ, “I am Alpha and Omega”–what do they mean? That it was only when He came as Jesus? No; that music belongs to Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. Those who tuned their hearts to listen to music, who elevated their souls high enough, they heard this divine music. But those who played with their rattle, their unique note, they disputed one with the other. They would have refused a violin: they were not ready for it; they would not have known how to use it.
Today the condition is that religion remains in the hands of those who have kept it in its outer form out of devotion and loyalty to their ancestors faith, and those who are, so to speak, grown up in mind and spirit, and want something better, they can find nothing. Their souls hunger for music, and when they ask for music, they are given a rattle, and they throw away the rattle and say they do not care for music, the soul’s music, and without it their life becomes empty.
This is interesting! I’ve certainly never heard a characterization of religion like this before. It got me thinking so I thank you for that! But as I was reading through your email I made a quick observation: The presupposition of your analogy is that, “the source of every note is the same music which manifests when the notes are arranged together.” This implies that religions are fully syncretistic and therefore do not create dissonance in sounds. But a fair examination reveals that religions are not syncretistic. There are very obvious and glaring differences in crucial areas when all religions are compared side by side. As a matter of fact, the only way to make all religions syncretistic is to ignore these differences and redefine their specific messages to fit into your presupposed belief. Therefore, it seems that you are bringing your own baggage into the venture of trying to fit all religions into your presupposition: that all religions are somehow aspects of the same Truth. However, in order to really deal with all religions you must go deeper and treat them as full systems (which is what they are). And these full systems, as I said, differ in key areas.
Take Christianity and Judaism for example. The Jews say Jesus is not the Messiah and Christians say He is the Messiah. Well, either the Jews are right and the Christians are wrong or the Christians are right and the Jews are wrong. But both cannot be right at the same time. Since Jesus is the mechanism of salvation in the Christian faith then to deny Jesus as the Messiah is to collapse the entire system. So we can quickly see that in crucial areas these two religions are not simply aspects of the same truth. Their respective truth claims are predicated on the denial of the other’s truth claim. And this is the same way for all religions once they are given a fair assessment.
This means that, within your analogy, religions cannot be musical notes but, rather, full songs. If you tried to make beautiful music, you would be combining full songs in American/African/Indian/Japanese/etc. styles all at once; all of which are operating on different rhythms and all using different instruments. The end result would be noise not beauty. The trick, therefore, is not to begin with the presupposition that all religions are syncretistic but to discover which religion is playing the best music out of them all. Those of us actively pursuing what our convictions tell us is the correct worldview, which I think is Christianity, should not have to water down all religions in order to make them taste the same. Diversity in this field exists for a reason and to ignore that diversity would be doing a disservice to the varying flavors of all faiths.