I believe the core problematic issue within the human experience has something to do with the inherent desire of wanting to be certain we are 'right' (aka, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). This to me is the root of the core problem within our united journey as mankind because as soon as we feel certain we are 'right' we then believe we have the grounds to judge others. As soon as we convince others they can join us in our 'rightness' we can create power in numbers to do as we believe our 'rightness' demands of us.
This is where all the evil in life takes place, isn't it? Right there in the assumptions that bind judgement of others together; for no matter what actions follow judging others, they are always justified in our minds for we are certain these judgmental actions are for the greater good, no matter how awful these actions truly are.
Religious fundamentalism refuses to accept any part of their belief system could be incorrect, and so they become imprisoned in their own self-made certainty. Within this cell, it is not about living by faith, but living by their assumed facts. Fundamentalism pushes for conformity to their religious status quo, and that push is rarely seen by them for what it actually is: bulling and judging of others based on false, self-created assumptions.
But there is redemption from this root problem; it comes in an unusual and unexpected way. It is when we come to a place in our lives where we recognize our profound 'wrongness' on our previous perspective on what church, the gospel, and our Christian life really is meant to be all about. This journey of seeing the faults in our own theology and belief system and how they were clearly wrong, even when we felt certain that we were 'right,' changes something within our DNA.
We lose the confidence to judge others (which is a good thing) for we are no longer convinced of our 'rightness;' this leads us to understand the power and problem of judgement from a new position, and inevitably leads us to understand that it is man's assumptions and self-justifications in judging others is the seed that leads to all the mess and pain and suffering in the world.
And so, through this revelation, we walk through a kind of rebirth experience into a place of grace that replaces our previous place of certainty. We no longer seek certainty, for we know it leads to false judgement of others. Instead, we seek grace, for ourselves and for others. We embrace the mystery and uncertainty of our faith and God and what we believe.
We still have our beliefs, but we hold them in open palms instead of closed fists. We love with our beliefs instead of fighting with them. We choose to be human, and embrace our oneness as humanity. Most of all, we choose to enter into dialogue and discussion where we previously only entered into battles and angry defense.
I think the concept of dying to self/ego is really about dying to certainty, and learning to live anew by grace. To love instead of judge. To be free in a wild and mysterious belief in God instead of a slave to religion-made certainty, for belief in God is meant to be mysterious.
It's not meant to be an angry declaration by a little group certain all the world is wrong except them. It's actually meant to be a happy discussion, full of awe and wonder, with all the world.
You can connect with Mick on his facebook page.