I take exception to Lorraine Murray’s article from Saturday, Oct. 4 (in the “Faith and Values” section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), where she equates respect towards many sources of wisdom with an “anything goes” mentality. The two are quite different. People with an “anything goes” mentality really don’t care about testing their beliefs to see if they are actually true or helpful in their lives; but people who respect many sources of wisdom think about what they believe and go in search of truth no matter where it comes from. An open-ended search for meaning has nothing to do with “anything goes.” Open minds DO have a limit—and that limit is the test of reason, conscience, justice, and love.
Then there is this. Ms. Murray is clearly out of touch with today’s pluralistic world, which brings to people the riches of the world’s religions, science, literature, the arts, and scholarship. In the face of this, Ms. Murray cites some shallow theology and a spurious interpretation of the Bible to call people back to a narrow “One Way, One Truth” kind of religious path. For my part, I’m grateful that a prophet like Martin Luther King, Jr., ignored calls like this. MLK Jr. discovered the power of peace through the works of a Hindu saint, Gandhi; and his eyes were opened to the New Testament’s message of love when he read a spiritual classic of Hinduism, the Bhagavad Gita. To me, this says that a spiritual life which draws wisely from multiple religious traditions can change lives and change the world. It also says that if you want to be enriched in your home religious tradition, don’t be afraid to explore other voices and other ways. God is too big to be contained by any single tradition, and this is but evidence of God’s goodness and God’s mercy.
Rev. Anthony David
Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta