Bryn Athyn Cathedral Sanctuary

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Sanctuary

Last weekend, a friend of mine invited me to the Landmarks in Lights celebration at the Bryn Athyn Historic District. The ability to freely explore these architecturally beautiful structures lead to some great photo opportunities. Pictured is the sanctuary of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral.

The Bryn Athyn Cathedral serves as an active place of worship and as the headquarters of The New Church. The New Church was established in 1787, in England, based on the teachings and writings of the Swedish scientists and a theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). The New Church teaches that "there are not three gods, nor three persons in one God, but rather one God with three aspects to His being". Swedenborg also taught that "all people who live good lives, regardless of their religion, are welcomed into heaven". Other Christian denominations have criticized these and other beliefs of the Church, some even going as far as calling it a cult.

Religions, for the most part, agree on what constitutes good and what constitutes evil. Yet, many believe that those who do not share their specific beliefs are damned, no matter how good they might be. Faiths that claim to have a "monopoly" on salvation are doing a great disservice to humanity. By dividing the world between us and them - we the saved, versus, them the damned - they are implicitly inciting hatred. As a person who informally studies the holy texts of various world religions, I can say that this binary worldview is advocated more in interpretations and by clergy, than by the religious texts themselves. It is interesting that those who challenge the "us vs. them" doctrine, such as the New Church, are regularly dismissed and belittled by proponents of the so called mainstream denominations. It is, after all, easier to build up congregations using fear and hatred, than love and unity... Paraphrasing the mystic poet Rumi: "I looked everywhere for God, but only found him in my heart" *.

Song of the Day: Invention 13 in A Minor BWV 784 - Johann Sebastian Bach (1723)
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