Religious and secular ideologies share much in common, including their emphasis on personality and identity. Who are you? What are you? What group are you from? What do you believe? Are you one of us? These questions betray our fear of each other and take attention away from what really matters, namely, our ability to receive and to share knowledge, and the actions we take based on knowledge. In religion, this emphasis unfolds as idolatry under the guise of devotion to God. Instead of asking, “what does God teach,” we ask, “who is God?” Instead of acting on God’s teaching, we ask others about their relationship with God. Contrary to widely held assumptions about the fourth gospel, it is not God’s identity that concerns John, but knowing the teaching of the Father, the very wisdom that sent Jesus to the Gentiles. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss John 5.
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