The Best Religion

This month’s synchroblog asks the question: if you were to change to another religion, what religion would you choose and why?

 

There is a story that has been circulated online about a conversation that took place at an interfaith conference between the Dalai Lama and the Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff.*

When recalling the conversation, Leonardo Boff confesses he thought the Dalai Lama would defend oriental religions as being the best, but instead, His Holiness answered, “the best religion is the one that gets you closer to God and makes you a better person.” 

Expanding on that, he went on to say, “whatever makes you more compassionate, more sensible, more responsible.  The religion that will do that for you is the best religion, for you.” 

Clearly inspired by where his thoughts were leading, His Holiness added, “I am not interested, my friend, in your religion, or if you are religious or not. What is important to me is your behavior with your peers, family, work, community and in front of the world.” 

I am a Christian and have been all of my life.  I was born into a Christian family, as a young girl I chose to be a Christian and many times throughout my life I have chosen to remain a Christian.  However, my idea of what it means to be a Christian has changed so dramatically over the last decade that it sometimes feels like I have completely changed religions.

I have changed enough that some Christians have even questioned if I still have the right to call myself a Christian.

To them I would say, “the best Christianity is the one that gets you closer to God and makes you a better person.”

I might even add, “whatever makes you more compassionate, more sensible, more loving, more responsible … that’s the kind of Christianity one should pursue.  You should not be so concerned with what I believe as how I behave … with my peers, my family and friends, at work, in my community and in front of the world.”

Just as some have reasons to choose a new religion I have reasons to remain a Christian and yet, that doesn’t mean that I am not changing my religion.

I hope I continue to change my religion as I grow and learn more about what it means to be the best kind of Christian – the kind that moves me closer to God and makes me a better person.

*I could not verify that the story is true, however, the ideas presented seem to be harmonious to the Dalai Lama’s philosophy and the teachings of Buddhism.

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Here are links to all the contributions for this month’s synchroblog:

14 thoughts on “The Best Religion

  1. PM from The Spiritual Bee

    Great post! Loved reading it! Fully agree with your beautiful conclusion.

    The differences between the various religions of the world are only superficial. Underneath all their diversity is the unified aim of propelling us towards God, which means making us more God like in our nature, so that we in our behaviour reflect God’s highest qualities of compassion, love, truth, brotherhood and more.

    The various rituals, mythologies, ideas of heaven and hell are merely tools used to further this aim. People look at the tools and think “wow the religions of the world are so different”, forgetting that even though their methods are different, their goal is the same – i.e. to make us better human beings.

    The fight over which religion is the best, is akin to four blind men trying to guess what an elephant (i.e. an infinite god) looks like.

    I invite you to read more of this beautiful analogy at my blog post on the same topic as yours:
    http://www.spiritualbee.com/posts/which-religion-is-the-best/

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Thanks for reminding me about the story of the four blind men arguing over what an elephant looks like. I love that story and what it teaches!

      Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Glenn – exactly! I think one reason so many get stuck on focusing on beliefs is because focusing on how we live makes it a bit harder when it comes to being a Christian.

      Reply
  2. wmccaig

    Love this post! Like you I have had people tell me I am not Christian enough because I don’t define Christianity the way they do. I am also thankful for the journey I have been on and I am thankful that my faith has evolved and deepened through the years but become less and less religious in nature. I love seeing God at work in unexpected places and people, like my new Buddhist friend Sam whom I blogged on this month. Thanks for sharing it. I think I will share it with Sam. I have been trying to convince him that there are Christians in the world he might like. I think you are one of them.

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Wendy – thanks for your kind words. I am just getting around to reading all the posts from this month’s synchroblog and look forward to reading about Sam.

      Reply
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  6. Theodore M. Seeber

    Funny, that’s the third time today I’ve been asked that question, and my answer is still the same- Buddhism. Catholicism alone to me lets me leave the world better than I found it, but Buddhism offers the second best prize- of accepting the world how I found it.

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Ted – I also love that aspect of Buddhism. I can’t imagine that I would ever convert to Buddhism but I will say that I have learned so much from it and find it very complimentary to my Christian faith.

      Reply

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