It took a long time, but human beings finally began to understand that there can be only one Being worthy of unconditional devotion and loyalty. What is truly sacred — “perfect in power, in love, and purity” — cannot be the capricious tribal deities of times past. Only the Deity is holy.
Would that we were this far along in our understanding of human society. From the standpoints of both biology and theology, of our genetic code and of the will of the Deity we seek, we are in essence members of one species and one human family.
In actuality, however, we are sundered into warring factions whose mutual enmity may yet destroy the world just as surely as nuclear warheads can. The sad fact is that for many, the very idea of “one world” is an idea conjured up by people whose real purpose is to wipe everyone else off the face of the earth.
With respect to faith, there does seem to be something incongruous about believing that God is one and then having to acknowledge that there are still many forms of faith (= religions) on earth. If there is in fact only one God, logic seems to demand, shouldn’t there be only one faith and not many?
This kind of logic has been in evidence for at least as long as organized religions have. The conclusion to which it leads is most often this one: Yes, believing in one God does in fact imply that only one form of faith is the right one — ours.
But wouldn’t it make just as much sense to reason that since God is one, and there are many faiths, no one faith can be the right one by itself? Should there be anything surprising about the fact that human beings, who choose not to get along on so many other things, make faith just one more source of dividedness?
Genuine faith, though, is too deeply embedded in our souls to leave us content with ideological distortions of it. It yearns too deeply for connectedness with what is truly sacred to be satisfied with religions which cut people off not only from each other, but from the Deity in whom they all live, and move, and have their being, together.
For now, though, many faiths will have to do.