I spent time in Cambodia and Thailand last week and was fascinated by observing and speaking with people engaged in Buddhist practices. The question kept rising with me - what to make of diverse religious beliefs and practices throughout the world?
As time goes by, I'm feeling more and more convinced that 'religion' as worldview and culture is essentially socially constructed, although I feel cautious about saying it because religion is such a complex personal, social, cultural and political phenomenon and social constructionism is complex too.
As far as I can see it, the notion of social construction does not of itself negate the possibility that a specific religious worldview and lifestyle is Divinely inspired, guided and sustained. In fact, I believe the God of the Bible is the principal voice in such construction, at the heart of all genuine spiritual discourse.
However, this perspective cautions me to be careful about attributing too much value to any particular religious dogma, interpretations, cultural manifestations etc. and to stay open and listening to the mysterious Spirit who, in the words of LLS4, 'speaks the (true) language behind language'.
Nick is a freelance coach, trainer and OD consultant specialising in reflective practice.