This I Believe

Robert - Concord, New Hampshire
Entered on August 8, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

The spirit is more holy than the book.

Most religions have a book or a scripture that has been handed down from generation to generation.

Within each of these religions are members who profess faith in their book as the source of truth for all.

Also within each of these religions are those for whom truth is more of an experience, a direct connection with the spirit of the divine, guided or influenced by their scriptures, but not relying solely on words from a book to define the experience.

There is a spectrum within each religion. At one end of the spectrum are the fundamentalists, those who believe in the text as the only source of truth.

At the other end of the spectrum are the mystics, those who experience their faith not in the book but in direct communion with God.

And there are many across the spectrum, the moderates, in between the fundamentalists and the mystics.

I picture all the religions of the world as an old wagon wheel with each spoke of the wheel representing one religion. At the outer end of each spoke (near the part of the wheel that contacts the ground) are the fundamentalists. The end of the spokes that attach together at the hub of the wheel is where the mystics live.

Mystics from different faiths, at the hub, are closer to each other than they are to the fundamentalists of their own religious tradition at the far end of the spokes.

My hope is that the mystics will learn ways to speak with other mystics from different religions and that fundamentalists can find their way toward the center by experiencing a more direct connection with the divine.

The more we are able to connect at the hub, the better we will be able to live together in peace.