The traditional, mainstream, evangelical take on salvation is this. Believe the right way, and now you’re accepted by God, saved, and your ticket is punched to heaven in the after life, and you’re saved from the fires of hell, where billions will burn for eternity because they don’t believe like us, which of course is the right way.
My interpretation of salvation is this. It is being “saved” from our own pride, greed, selfishness, and blindness to the needs and hurts of others, our eyes opened to love, a shift is made from our violence, our violence that is not only physical, but psychological and emotional. Salvation is about healing and wholeness, and coming into an awareness of Love. Salvation is about true transformation.
Salvation is not attained through a set of beliefs or religious dogma of any kind. Religion, and belief, if it’s any good at all, is meant to only point us in the right direction towards salvation, wholeness.
I have encountered many people who are transformed people, who are loving, kind, and reach out to and love all, and they don’t “belong” to my religious tradition. Yet, so many are stuck on a tradition, on dogma, on a set of static teachings, that they are blinded and don’t see that their narrow views only hurt and harm. To this, I pray for our eyes to be opened. I was once like this, and I still find myself gravitating back into a dualistic mind that is tribal, and is us and them oriented. I ask for grace to help me to see when I am being pulled back into this.
Salvation is simply finding your soul, your true self, which is grounded in pure being, in pure love, in God, in Christ. So what if we don’t all use the same terminology for it? But for many, if I don’t use the correct buzz words, I am lost and off track. This does not only apply to Christian fundamentalists, but there are many who belong to other beliefs and philosophies that will cut me off because I call myself a Christian and use Christian language to articulate my personal beliefs and path.
That said, I spent 13 years of my life as a strict fundamentalist. I believed the right way, according to my tribe. I dressed right, voted the right way, said the right things, and hated the right people, which was everyone that was not like us. Of course, we dressed up our efforts to convert them as being our love for them. What we didn’t know, is that we hurt many. I was homophobic, bigoted, and small minded. I had no depth of being, no true internal transformation, yet externally, to my tribe, I was respected.
I ended up questioning, and left, and in turn, many brothers and sisters, people I knew for years, turned their backs on me. Yet, as painful as my deconstruction was, I now see it as the grace of God.
Being authentic, and vulnerable, and by going on my inner journey, I have experienced awe, wonder, Love, and compassion for all. I have met some of the most wonderful people. I have some brothers in my life now that I can talk to, and they love me regardless of what I believe, or don’t believe.
Life is complex, it can be very hard, and lonely at times. Yet, take comfort, we don’t walk alone, and if we allow our hearts to open, we can go on a true transformational inner journey, which is ongoing. Allow each to find their own terminology, their own path, and their own tradition that will help them in this process, on this journey.
For me, Christ is universal and all can wake up to Christ in them, regardless of what words they use to describe it. The Buddhist says, all have Buddha nature. The ability to wake up, in Christian language, it is being born again, is salvation, it is coming into our wholeness and learning what it means to be deeply human.