Religions - A Work in Progress
religions - the many schools of thought and spiritual practices.
With each in their own special way, contributing to the evolution
the human consciousness and in the shaping of the world as we know it today. Many major religions share a common origin and
similarities. Each provides its practitioners with a moral and ethical
code to follow. Each promotes self-purification and right association,
individual and community well-being. Each in its own right attempts
to address the fundamental questions pertaining to the meaning and
purpose of one's life, one's place in the universe, the reconciliation
of endings and new beginnings, and the interconnection of it all. A
religion can be likened to a tool. Used incorrectly and in the hands of
an ignorant and inmoral person it can create havoc and destruction. Used correctly
and in the hands of an intelligent and moral person it can benefit mankind.
It is important to differentiate spirituality from
religion. Spirituality is a pure and egoless life-sustaining energy.
This molding and moving force resides, great or small, within us all. And without it we
would die. There is in truth, as many spiritualities as there are people.
In contrast, a religion is a contrived-manifestation; reflecting the
times of its well-meaning founders and entailing to
a degree their imperfections, shortcomings, and limitations. No
one religion has a monopoly on spirituality. And just as there is
the ongoing need for an individual to apply himself or herself to remedy
the defects of their character, the same is true for a religion. Change or fade,
grow or perish, a religion if it wishes to endear and endure needs to
be viewed as a living process, awake and alive, progressive and
relevant, and receptive to ongoing discoveries and revelations.
Each major religion is a - work in progress - rediscovering itself
in both old and new expressions, be it reformist (visionaries), conservatists (moderates), or
orthodox (traditionalists). Placing them on a left-to-right spectrum, we
begin with the reformist believers, who are known
for embracing new discoveries and revelations. Who
take a progressive approach, realign and redefine themselves with the
realities of a changing world. Act as ambassadors of
goodwill intergrading into mainstream society. Center, are situated the conservative believers, who
acknowledge the need for some change, and keep
pace with a changing society while honoring fundamental doctrines pertaining
to their faith. On the far right are the orthodox
believers, who unlike reformist or conservatives, take a historic-fundamentalist approach and resist
change. Reason and intellect fall victim to dogma
and indoctrination. Dissent is not tolerated and members not towing the
line results in expulsion, some tragically brutalized or murdered. The price
for not changing often comes in the form of a declining membership, as
good people become disillusioned and leave. The remaining core
group at its worst becomes a patriarchal cult (group hubris), with
mindless rhetoric and rants becoming the norm.
recorded history, every major religion has been responsible
for unspeakable cruelty and violence, innumerable bloody conflicts, atrocities,
wars, as well as the degrading and
abuse of women and children, and the violation of human rights. Modern
religious groups do not teach their members this, academic universities do. One
just needs to read their daily national newspaper to learn the latest autrocity.
Every generation is given the task
and responsibility in addressing this ignorance and dark-heartlessness. This has been and
will continue to be accomplished by exposing, bringing to light - that
- which needs to be. For one to stand
and speak their mind against the status quo requires courage, and as
history has often shown at the peril of one's life. (Malala Yousafzai )
international community needs to hold accountable those who cloak
themselves in religion and who in its name perpetuate or abet in
psychopathic conduct. By choosing to act out their evil thoughts
psychopaths create havoc, and not only degrade
themselves; but also, as well their professed religion. Psychopaths relish
in seeing others suffer. They are not hard to spot, being fanatic and
rigid in their thinking, power-mongering, scapegoating,
demonizing and victimizing. As long as they remain unchecked and go
unpunished, their dark-hearted psychopathic behavior only continues. It is critical
that these people know that the - eyes of the world - are on them. An even
greater crime occurs when the international community turns a blind
eye or become intransigent spectators. The United
Nations needs to take more responsibility in apprehending and bringing
these egomaniacs to justice.
As individuals we can play a major role by challenging those we
meet in our daily lives who harbor bigotry, racism, and
prejudicde. By staying silent we only consent.
May the leaders and members of all religions step
forward, direct their energies with intelligence, end the age-old rifts
between them, and begin to connect being-to-being. May
they keep their - faith - in historic context and meaningful perspective.
May they come together in a spirit of cooperation to
peacefully resolve issues, address the previous generation's unfinished business, and reconcile the
the new. May they free themselvesf from avoidance, denial, and outdated
thinking. Free its members from having to live
with a distorted reality or with compromised personal integrities. May
they use their collective power, influence and wisdom, and
a positive direction. Honor their founders, follow and build on their genius/brilliance
and attend to issues that need to be set
right by taking decisive action with reform. We today, view them as founders;
but they in there time, saw themselves as reformers. Bringing to the religion of their day
a new way of being and thinking.
May we all be equally valued and united in our humanity.
The security, the welfare, and the advancement of all civilization
depends on this. Whether as individuals, a society, or a religion, we
are either moving forward or backwards. Those who have developed a global
consciousness know that what happens to one person in our
community affects us all. And too, what happens to a person in a
country also affects us all.
With the advancement of technology and with a greater
educated world population, more
than at any time in human history, has mankind developed
and embraced a global consciousness. With an ever-growing world population competing
diminishing resources, the negative consequences of a changing climate
and the resulting migration, we need, being
secular or religious, to learn to live in peace. The
power to transform and transcend is within us, as individuals,
as a society, or as a religion. In the same
way we today can view the face of religion as it was a thousand years ago,
how I wonder will today's face be viewed by those living a
thousand years from now. This much I do know, even then it will
still be a work-in-progress.