At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. -Anthony Kennedy from a 1992 ruling
Some of you may recall that piece of dime store theorizing, wittily ridiculed by Antonia Scalia as the “Sweet Mystery of Life passage.” Well, here’s an excerpt from Dan Brown’s site:
ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?
Yes. Interestingly, if you ask three people what it means to be Christian, you will get three different answers. Some feel being baptized is sufficient. Others feel you must accept the Bible as absolute historical fact. Still others require a belief that all those who do not accept Christ as their personal savior are doomed to hell. Faith is a continuum, and we each fall on that line where we may. By attempting to rigidly classify ethereal concepts like faith, we end up debating semantics to the point where we entirely miss the obvious–that is, that we are all trying to decipher life’s big mysteries, and we’re each following our own paths of enlightenment. I consider myself a student of many religions. The more I learn, the more questions I have. For me, the spiritual quest will be a life-long work in progress.
That’s classic 21st century America pseudo-intellectualism for you, the confusion of broad-mindedness with, well, confusion. Never mind all that blunt business about the narrow gate (Matt 7:13), just hack out your own path to discovering “life’s big mysteries.” There’s just one rule: Don’t tread on me, brother. I am my way, my truth, and my life.
Compare all this with two verses considered so important that they were repeated. There isn’t anything very “ethereal” about them:
Jesus in Luke 12:
I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
Paul in Galations 1:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.