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Faith that shows god at work reveals real wisdom

I have never been someone who got a great deal out of apologetics. I have never believed that arguing about religion or God has done anybody any good or has helped anyone in their faith or lack of faith.

I have never been someone who got a great deal out of apologetics. I have never believed that arguing about religion or God has done anybody any good or has helped anyone in their faith or lack of faith. Over the last number of years, this position has been confirmed for me in my own faith journey, and has deepened as I have begun to work, not only with other faith traditions, but as I have tried to understand ancient faith and belief system throughout the history of the world.

Wade Davis, the National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, said: "Other cultures are not failed examples of being us or failed examples of being modern."

He continued: "In every case they're dynamic, living people."

I believe it is not us all believing the same thing that makes us more human or strengthens belief in humans but it is the great diversity in the world, language, culture and faith that will deepen who we are as human beings on this planet. The danger for us is the single story that hopes to shape us and form us in a particular way.

The story of both globalization and colonialism is a single story of culture, language and belief. I want to reject that way and seek a way that celebrates the great diversity found in the world's cultures, language and faith traditions.

We see through a glass dimly. As we live together in this society, one of the most dangerous ingredients of any faith group is the belief we know all we need to know about truth. It is this belief, combined with the understanding that others do not have truth, that leads us to become exclusive and bigoted. The easy way forward is to say: "I know everything because I have had a complete revelation through my belief and those who believe something else must come in line with me." However, a faith that shows real wisdom is one that says God is at work in our world and it is our calling to reveal God at work in our world. When we are trapped in a single story of God at work in our world then we begin to believe that we have a monopoly on the truth and on God. We can therefore dismiss other faiths, or even mock them and, in a culture that dismisses spirituality, we only hurt ourselves and other people of faith.

We can no longer afford to live in societies that divide the spiritual from the secular, the religious from the non-religious. Everyone has faith in some sort of belief system, even if it is a secular belief system. An inclusive and just society does not mock another's beliefs, or puts others down as being lesser because they believe differently. Our call is to live in a society with many stories of faith and many world views. Some of these are ancient beliefs as found in indigenous people. Some of these, such as Christianity and Islam, are newer in the history of the world. God has been at work in our world since the creation of the universes. There are many stories of God's presence in our world. It is wrong to dismiss any who have faith and belief as being superstitious; we must recognize all as being part of the great story of humanity on this planet.

The Very Rev. Logan McMe-namie is the dean of Columbia and rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria. He has served in several Vancouver Island communities, including Tofino/Ucluelet, Duncan, Port Alberni and Victoria before becoming dean of Christ Church Cathedral in 2006.

WRITE TO US

Welcome to a community forum on faith, spirituality and religion.

We invite you to write about the nature of faith from an individual point of view, to share experiences about your own tradition and practice, while respecting others' opinions and religions.

Here are the guidelines:

? 1. Limit your submission to 500 words or fewer.

? 2. Share your own experiences, and write only about your own tradition or perspective rather than about what you think others believe or practise.

? 3. Do not proselytize or attack other religions.

? 4. Focus on inquiry and reflection.

? 5. Think about how spirit and faith has relevance in your daily life.

We hope to see contributors from diverse spiritual and religious perspectives to create discussions on the place of spirit and faith in our community.

Email your submission to features@timescolonist.com