There are two ways to escape the insanity of religion. You can reject religion altogether, or you can dissolve into them all.

I call myself “Christian” or “Presbyterian” but I do not understand those words as positions necessarily opposed to other viewpoints. I am simply describing my own footprint in the greater topography of worldviews, all of whom have something to teach me.

For example, last night was the celebration of Maha Shivaratri or the Night of Shiva. From Hinduism I have learned how religion can be a poetic expression of the energies of the universe as experienced by every human being. Shiva represents cosmic destruction, but not as a bad thing. Creation, Nurture and Destruction are a kind of sacred trinity for many Hindus. They believe we must learn to dance with them all.

A westerner can be quite shocked to see the sexual organs on display in some Hindu celebrations, but such images are simply a way for human beings to imagine the creative energies of life. In many such religions, sin is the illusion of an independent and separate self, and salvation, immortality or enlightenment is finding our one true Self, which is our common life with all.

So last night many Hindus sang a hymn to Shiva:

We meditate on the Three-eyed reality which permeates and nourishes all like a fragrance. May we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality, even as a cucumber is severed from bondage to the creeper.

I call myself “Christian,” but I also know that true religion is about love and about life, and so I can recognize that one life even when it is called by a different names, or by no name at all.