I know religion is one of those “taboo” topics you’re not supposed to talk about. However, the rebel side of me is going to do it anyway!
I was raised in a Christian household, with all the prayers, devotions, congregations, and other religious activities common among Christians of all denominations. However, as I hit my 20s, religion became less important for my daily life. I no longer consider myself a religious person; of anything, I’d say I’m “irreligious”, meaning indifferent to religion.
But I will say that I hold one simple belief to be true: “Good is good, no matter whose name it’s in.”
I, like every young fantasy reader, LOVED the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. I’ve read them more times than I can count. Amazing stories filled with magic, mystery, action, adventure, and excitement. What’s not to love?
But now that I’m a bit older and (I hope) wiser, I realize there are a lot of deeper truths hidden in the stories. One is a truth that I’ve based my religious beliefs around.
In The Last Battle, after everything is said and done and the characters are in “Heaven”, there is a character from the “enemy kingdom”, who served a god named Tash instead of Aslan. He’s sorrowful because he believes he won’t be allowed to enter Heaven because of this.
Here’s how the scene goes:
Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him.
But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome.
But I said, Alas Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.
He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.
Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one?
The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted.”
Truth bomb, right there! Such a beautifully simple summation.
People can argue over God, Allah, Buddha, the Universe, Gaia, Odin, and everyone else until they’re blue in the face, but does the name really matter? As this scene illustrates, it’s not about the name of the God/god you serve. What matters are the actions!
I no longer worry about the name of the god/God, or if I’m praying to the right one. Instead, I focus on trying to put good out into the world. I believe that that’s what really matters in the end, not the name I said as I did them.