Monday, April 25, 2011

I am Very Large and Contain Multitudes


~ Walt Whitman

Of Note: It was obvious to me when helping my daughter with the interpretation of Song of Myself by Master Whitman that he was speaking of the Soul. Her high school honors class teacher had something else in mind but she courageously wrote her essay with this in mind and got a good grade if I remember correctly. The idea of the Soul being large and containing multitudes describes unity at its most fundamental level. That would mean, of course, that everyone is the same in God's eyes no matter what religion they espoused. Even atheists would be covered by this all-inclusive concept. Pastor Bob Bell has taken this viewpoint in his recently published and highly controversial book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, in which he contends everyone has a chance at heaven and salvation. Everyone. That bold idea has taken the Evangelical community from whence he came by surprise and many have responded swiftly and unequivocally against him. Seems Rev. Bell is taking it all in stride and said: "I have long wondered if there is a massive shift coming in what it means to be a Christian. Something new is in the air." Acceptance of all into heaven would be something new in several religions, many of which believe they have the only key to the pearly gates. Bell contends that he doesn't know anything for sure but is merely raising the question, which is healthy. Jesus the Christ taught a simple lesson to Love thy neighbor as thyself. He didn't put any restrictions on the command. Believing in Him was not a prerequisite. Pastor Bell seems to have heard this message loud and clear and should be commended for writing an invocative book on the subject.

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