Sunday, 15 April 2018

On Quaker Universalism and the Unchanging(?) Nature of the Divine

A selection of faith symbols arranged in a circle.
There are those who say that Truth, or the true Light, or God, is eternal and the same, unchanging, at all times and all places, among all peoples constant.
I do not know if that is true. I do not know the underlying nature of the Divine, but even if it is somehow a product of humanity, it is possible that it is constant, a product not of our changeable and evolving natures but of some common, constant core of what makes us human.
What I can say, however, is that an eternal, unchanging constancy need not be reflected in how the Spirit is revealed to us. It comes upon us in manners suited to our varied natures, in ways appropriate to our different situations. It is in this way that actions, principles and beliefs may severally be inspired by the Spirit, despite their differences. They may be different in small ways, even so small as to seem trivial, or in large ways, even so large as to seem fundamentally incompatible.
That is not to say that there is no such things as false religion. It passes credulity to suppose that no-one has ever pretended to insight for personal gain. Nor is it to say that there is no such thing as mistaken religion, for we are flawed being and cannot always read the leadings of the Spirit aright.
There is false religion, aye, and mistaken religion, but do not suppose that you can identify them, even with the guidance of the Light. For the Light illuminates us each according to our needs and our natures, and it is given to none of us to know all that it illuminates across the span of years, and places, and peoples.
Consider too, that even where faith is rooted in an historic falsehood, or a mistake old or recent, it may still be followed by those of faithful heart who may be open to the Light, and that Light may still be guiding them, speaking in ways most apt to reach that faithful heart, in the terms it will understand.
Do not presume that your perception of the Light is most true, or that you have seen it in greater measure.
Written April 2018
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