Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Heaven is not for Christians alone-Tutu

Now we hear the 'Arch' saying that heaven is inclusive of good Buddhists, like the Dalai Lama and other good people, who are not Christians. In fact, it seems as if he is saying that God is not a Christian. This is of course a highly contentious issue and much deeper analysis has been spend on the question how inclusive (or exclusive) our conceptualizations of God is, on whether there is a heaven or the question of religious pluralism. Much more then a post here and there is clearly needed, but let me risk hanging my colours to the mast.
Desmond Tutu's credentials as a social commentator and prophet is, of course, self-evident and not disputed. His recent statements on Gary Player and Burma is a case in point. I have not been privilege to read his whole statement on this matter, and would therefore confine myself to what I read in the newspapers
It seems to me that, irrespective of whether one might believe whether there's a heaven or not, (and yes, I still think that there is) the issue of heaven, at least for Christians, need to be understood in terms of the Biblical accounts referring to that. That seems for me, to be the parameters within which we should understand this concept, but also talk about it. Especially ministers (or retired archbishops), even court prophets, should at least be guided by their tradition and not their own 'erratic musings', driven many times by political expediency. Secondly, I don't think that supporting, for example the struggle towards (for example) human rights for all or support for breast cancer research and in that quest, the discovery of comrades, like-minded and like-hearted people from which-ever religious or ideological persuasion, mean that suddenly, we understand and express our faith in the same way and therefore, we believe the same. We can respect and struggle with each other, even though, we might dialogue and debate on the differences, in the quest to fight for the issues which is so close to our heart. Thirdly, the (historical) facts of amongst others the crusades,KKK, Nazi-Germany and Auschwitz and the rest, Apartheid... our dark side as Christians, does not blot out the prophetic voices, marginal at best, i.e. the legacy of cross bearers, that is so central to the life of followers of Jesus. Maybe Arch, it reminds us all... to be cautious of our bold public statements about who we think God is and should be and what heaven is suppose to be, In this respect, the arch should also be circumspect, then, with his conceptualizations and hence his bold public announcements of who (he thinks)goes to almost sounds like the flip side of back in the days, when we as fiery evangelists would decide who goes in and who goes down...
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