The Crossing

YouTube: The Crossing: Exploring the Role of Religion in Our Spiritual Quest

“Think of religion as any of the many paths that lead to the river’s bank. The spiritual quest begins the moment you understand that the way to the other side is a solo journey.”

J Douglas Bottorff

Though America was founded on Judeo-Christian values, one of its founding fathers and primary author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, undertook a remarkable project. Armed with a razor and paste, he cut from the Bible only those passages attributed to Jesus that he considered authentic. He then pasted them in a book that today is known as The Jefferson Bible. In a letter to John Adams, he wrote:

“In extracting the pure principles which he [Jesus] taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms, as instruments of riches and power to them. … There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.”  

While Jefferson remained true to his religious values, he did not stop there. In his own way, he took up the spiritual quest and began swimming. He found in the gospels a deeper message than was being offered in the mainstream religion of his day.

All religions represent a set of preconceived beliefs that have been worked out by other minds. We stand on the bank of the river and wonder what lay on the other side. We know what the professionals have told us. Some of it makes sense, and some of it we question.

The spiritual path is ultimately a solo journey. Like Jefferson, we should reach a point where we are no longer satisfied with those who are merely “… teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” (Matthew 15:9).

2 thoughts on “The Crossing

  1. Hi, Doug, Late last night I watched a bit of “Oh, God.”It was hard to believe that movie came out in 77.I loved a couple of the exchanges between God and the supermarket managerwho feel ill-fitted to be God’s messenger. In one John Denver says something like, “I’m not even religous.: To which God (George Burns)says, “Neither am I.” In the other, John Denver is still pointing out how irreligious he is.To which God say, “Religion is easy.  How about faith?”

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