An Analogy of Salvation

The Hall of Religion

Out in the Main Hall again I move into the crowd and find the Hall of Religion off to my left. It calls to me and I respond perhaps because much of my life has been spent riding upon the delusion that work or pleasure would somehow cover or substitute for the missing piece. Or perhaps it is because of a progressive fear that in the end I will finally have to admit that the void is simply inescapable. Or perhaps it is because of an inherent realization that if there is a God, then taking care of the void is his job. And if he is anywhere, he is in the Hall of Religion.

It is all of these things that turn my thoughts to religion. It speaks to that something in me that I cannot define.

I enter its gates and I am greeted with all manner of people, all of whom are so very nice. They are like old friends, and I am excited to be here because I can tell that many of these people are searching for the same thing that I am. Although no one speaks of the void outright, I can tell that this is where people like me go. I am going to like it here; I am like they are.

The first thing that I see in this marvelous place is that there are so many rooms that I will never be able to understand them all. Each room contains an entire structure of metaphysical and philosophical concepts that point to God. And some rooms even have to have adjoining rooms just to hold it all. I am going to enjoy just looking. The challenge for me will be to find the room that I like the best. I am sure that I will find it.

After a short time here, I acquire several mentors and see clearly that the answer lies in simple faith. Because faith itself is a reality, and God dwells in that reality. It is faith that is important, not method. The method is only a means to the end but it is faith, true faith, that is the way. It is only through faith that one can find God and discover peace.

This profound realization brings me to a greater understanding of life and of who I am. I am a seeker searching for a credo and for a God. I am searching for a faith to be my rock and then I can move forward.

Armed with this understanding, I take the most fascinating step of all. I begin to nudge into various rooms in the Hall of Religion. I look, taste and sometimes question the various methods that mark the way to God. I find the thoughts, the leaps of faith and the creeds to be as interesting as the trappings on the wall and the robes of the people there.

They are all expressions of an inner reality, an inner God, if you will, the product of millions of years of physical and spiritual evolution. The deeper I wade into my chosen path the clearer it all becomes. Faith is the way and God is the center, the ground of our being.

Before I realize it, I have spent many months in the Hall of Religion and I have learned so very much. And I know that I will eventually arrive at that place of completion.

But sometimes, I have to admit that I wonder exactly what it is that I am believing. Sometimes, when the evening comes to a close and I find myself in a quiet place I ponder how someone can simply choose to believe in something that they have not seen. But I avoid that haunting question of whether God is really there. Because if he is not, then what is the use of faith?

Of course, the authorities and mentors in the Hall of Religion have answers for these questions. They are quick to tell me the that there is a God and I will find him eventually. They say that everyone has these doubts about God, but I continue to ask myself why is he silent? If you think about it, we really have no idea who or what God is because each pathway defines him differently and he doesn’t really say anything. There has to be a God somewhere, but you have to really to want him to be there in order to find him. He is nebulous but he is somewhere, I am sure. Each of us must find him for ourselves.

The trouble is, I really haven’t met anyone who can honestly say that he has found him. And I am having more and more trouble wondering what actual relevance he is if he doesn’t really do anything.

So, I walk toward the Main Hall to collect my thoughts. I hear the murmur of the crowd as I near the entryway. I watch their shadows pass like wraiths over my feet and I slowly walk our into the middle. I fear that I am beginning to believe that no one has the real answer, and this is a fear that I do not want to face. Perhaps the real goal of it all is to avoid knowing that there is no answer and to never look inside and find that there is nothing there.

About half an hour passes and I see a street-figure approaching me as if he wants to talk. He is in his twenties. He is nondescript, a non-person. I can tell from his face that he going to come up to me and I know that I will have to respond to him briefly. I can tell from here that he is strange. He wants something I am sure.

“May I tell you a secret?” Says the figure.

“No thank you.” I respond. What possible secret could he ever tell to me? Weird.

He looks at me and says these words, “You can find God if you go outside” and he hands me a piece of paper and walks away.

This is the first time that I have personally encountered one of these people. I have heard of them before, but I have never actually spoken to one. Maybe that is why I am so unsettled. I never want to see another one.

However (and I want to be very clear here), I do not judge him. If he wants to believe that there is an outside, then I am happy for him. It is his crutch and I would never disillusion him by telling what reality actually is. Things like that are good for people like him and I would never be one to challenge him. I wish him no ill. I should have given him some pocket change.

And now, right on cue so to speak, a man of God approaches me. He is wearing his robes and he is from the Hall of Religion. His demeanor and everything about him speaks of faith. He is well educated and friendly. His arm is around my shoulder and he helps me to return back into the hall where I belong.

He reiterates what I have always known, that is that God is somewhere and my faith will bring me to him eventually. Faith is a matter of choice and God responds to all people and to all faiths. God is a rewarder of them that seek him. He is a God for all, not just for some. He is no narrow-minded deity. He opens many doors and all of them lead to him. I will stay on my chosen path.