For Paul Tillich every aspect of culture –
a new law/painting/political movement
is charged with religious meaning
because it is part of the dynamic energy of God.
Every culture subsists in ideas –
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris began as an idea
and Meister Eckhart knew what every true intellectual knows:
the importance of ideas for peoples’
so, when he was shown Notre Dame he said
“I would trade it all for John Chrysostom’s manuscripts.”
However, there are narrow and broad ideas –
ideas can be limiting or fulfilling.
As Kierkegaard wrote: “the cultured despisers of religion”
“The New Atheists” such as Richard Dawkins, rightfully attack
immature fundamentalist claims of biblical literalism
but mature believers promote the idea
that knowledge born of faith, like poetry, music, theatre or any art
enables us to see reality more deeply than science can.
The Church may reject atheism, but does not reject atheists –
it takes them and their profound questions very seriously
and just like religion, atheism can be narrow or broad
limiting or fulfilling – Buddhism is essentially atheistic
or at least indifferent to the “God question.”
According to Theravada Buddhists, Buddha was an atheist
but manifested the highest humanity and helped multitudes –
his only concern was not God but eliminating suffering.
Anyone who eliminates suffering is a Buddhist.
Therefore, Jesus was a Buddhist. But Buddha was just human,
and when Jesus opened his heart at baptism in the Jordan River
the Holy Spirit descended on him like an eagle
and he manifested as not just human
but the Son of God called to redeem all suffering
through carrying his cross out of love for all humans.
Humans are God’s constant Cross.
Those who are truly guided see this
and when tried/visited with affliction
they say “Surely to God we belong and to God we return”
and in temptation/trials/suffering they take comfort
in being “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).