THE RAINBOW Controversy as to whether on the one hand a common faith is actually a good idea in the first place, and, on the other whether it is an idea which can be realized in a world as fractured and broken as the one we are living in is to be expected. I understand how provocative the prospect of religious unification is for some and the reasons for their resistance. As a person who cherishes the uniqueness of the individual and of the various religious traditions, my vision of a unified, common faith has nothing to do with the need to run away, either for personal or political reasons from the natural differences that exist between us. Sometimes the fear that unity is a synonym for conformity and standardization is the thing that evokes a negative reaction in those who are skeptical. They expect that in order to enter the house of we, individuals will be forced to melt themselves, body and soul into a shapeless blob where all distinctions be they personal, racial, ethnic or religious will be swallowed by a dogma of inauthentic accord as is the case under totalitarian political and theocratic regimes throughout the world. This is no truer of those who would join the House of We than it is of those who are or would be citizens of the United States or members of the United Nations, other examples of transcendent unity which have had overall, a beneficial effect. While I bemoan the inequities and distortions that so often accompany differences in religion and hope that the growth of religious unity will help to alleviate prejudice, intolerance and discrimination, people who come to the house of we because they want to lose themselves in the “One,” because they would flee the pain, fear, loneliness and responsibility that are an inevitable part of being a separate, unique individual, because they want to avoid having to deal with the disagreement, controversy or debate that is such an important part of our spiritual evolution will be missing the point. Sincere differences of opinion and contrasting perspective are a healthy feature in any creative process and the moment religion ceases to be creative is the moment it begins to die. The oneness of the house as I conceive it is not a oneness in which such things are discouraged or suppressed, it is a oneness in which they are exercised and quarried, harnessed and employed in a never ending process of reformation. While there are those who will claim that the road to peace lies entirely in learning to value the differences between us, rather than in “papering them over” with some sort of generic formula, rather than in pretending the differences don't exist, keep in mind that a healthy marriage is one in which neither partner loses themselves in the other: As a universalist, I say there is no greater form of respect, no greater form of love than that which seeks to marry my god-concept to yours. Uniformity, the opposite of diversity stifles, represses, kills. Unity on the other hand, like the rainbow itself requires diversity in order to exist. As every musician understands, the greater the tension between the notes, the richer and more transcendent the harmony in which that tension is resolved. The balance between unity and diversity in the structure of a world religion will not be easy to discern or achieve. Yet I believe with all my heart that at this point in time the future of religion lies in spiritual harmonization. Word of the Dream “It is natural of course when like things combine: species with species, religion with religion, race with race. But I believe that things which are different may combine in a way that is also natural, a new kind of natural. Yes. There can be in life what one might call a ‘natural hybridness.’”
Five of Eight