If the earth decided to fly off on its own, leaving the solar system and its orbit behind, the first problem earth would have is that things would get cold — real fast! On the other hand, there are no warmer friends than those who leave people alone regarding their deepest ideals.
Quantum mechanics and scientists such as Einstein have shifted our view of the universe. Instead of lumps of rocks and gases and bacteria – solid matter – it seems that the universe is constructed of probabilities. The electron is stationary, yet it moves; it exists, yet it doesn’t. More strangely, how a scientist merely observes subatomic particles alters their behavior and structure.
Energy converts into matter, matter into energy. But what is the basis of energy? Well, that’s one of the things that Einstein never quite figured out, so we call it God.
These kinds of discoveries blur the border between science and spirituality. No longer can we say that; “This is the truth, this is how it is.” The truth moves far too quickly for that, and like atomic particles, truth’s behavior changes with the observer.
Perhaps Jesus is your truth, the Buddha mine, and Mohammed someone else’s. As a matter of fact, four-thousand different religions exist in the world, each believing that their religion is the one and only truth.
Seldom do minds change about this, and when someone tries to change another’s beliefs, the opponent of the attempted proselytization simply digs their heels in and reacts with a vengeance. (The exception might be impoverished people in some third world countries, or in dire straits; these people are more susceptible to being influenced).
What if . . . instead of worrying about converting everyone to our particular opinions, we concerned ourselves about perfecting ourselves within our particular religion? That would be different! Although it would involve work!
For example; some Buddhists adhere to the idea that they should save everybody else before they save themselves. This sounds compassionate and selfless, but if someone who never picked up a tennis racket decided to teach everyone in the world how to play tennis, the quality of tennis would certainly suffer!
Other Buddhists insist that they must perfect themselves first before teaching others. This involves years of solitary practice where little is done in the meantime to help the broad scope of humanity.
Some Christians believe that they can do as they please as long as they believe in Jesus Christ, aggressively disagreeing with other Christians who say that works are important.
Do you get picture — 4,000 different religions and many more than 4,000 viewpoints within the religions. No wonder religion is one of the most divisive contrivances humankind has ever come up with, and the cause of innumerable wars and disagreements. Religion and its resulting clannishness and separateness are actually the basis of hatred.
These are the facts, no matter how we sugarcoat them. Look into your own mind and admit how you feel about other religions, especially strident ones who insist it’s their way or the highway! We like to think that we simply feel sorry for the ones who don’t understand “the truth,” as “we” do, but really, we hate anyone who dares go against our beliefs.
Unless we come to grips with what is actually happening in the spiritual world, we will remain in a state of denial, where although we believe that we are loving and kind, the reality is that we are small minded and spiteful. And then we “tsk, tsk,” when a religious based war breaks out, and deem Muslims stupid because the various sects kill each other over whether the leadership of the religion should be democratically elected (Sunni) or a familial monarchy led by prophets or imams (Shia).
Actually, are we much different from this when a Protestant calls the Pope the antichrist, or a Catholic labels a TV evangelist a shyster. It all results from a very restricted and fearful consciousness, afraid that someone else’s truth might be better than ours — and that would be a tragedy, something we could not stomach. We would rather die.
The amazing thing is that we cannot step back from all of this and see how foolish it is — how it involves only opinions and thoughts in our minds. It is no one but ourselves that create our religions.
If we visited an alien planet, somewhere in the universe, and observed everyone fighting over the strange Gods that they have created, we would think them foolish. But when it comes to our beliefs, which are only beliefs, we deem it of the utmost importance. Why is this?
It is because we have taken ownership of our particular opinions regarding religion. We have closed our minds to other possibilities, and have therefore closed ourselves off to further discovery. We have restricted ourselves, rather than broadening ourselves. We prefer to remain in the dark, secure in our cave rather than risk the light of day. (Type “Plato’s Cave” into your browser).
This is called attachment, and attachments are the basis of close-mindedness and human suffering. On the other hand, open mindedness and wisdom are the basis of happiness.
This article will be regarded in one of two primary ways; one is that the author doesn’t understand the “real” truth, and is destined for hell. For these people, I can only pray.
The other way is to consider what has been said, and reflect upon it. Is it factual or not? Does religion cause division? And if it does, what can we do about it, because what was “bows and arrows” at one time have now become nuclear weapons, and the next religious war could end it all for our grandchildren. Are our strong opinions worth that? Really?
My first paragraph of this article stated that there are no warmer friends that those who leave people alone regarding their deepest ideals. This I believe is key, because although we will always have our own ideas about things, the trick is to keep them to ourselves. We can write about them, or speak publicly about them, but when we wear them on our sleeve and rub them in the face of everyone we meet, whether they want to hear about them or not, then we are being not only insensitive, but aggressive, and in a way becoming religious terrorists. Regardless that our religion may insist that we convert everyone in the world to our faith, if everyone decided to stridently force his or her opinions on others, the world would be a hell on earth.
So we have to be interconnected. We don’t have to be, we are; whether we like it or not, so why not use some judgment and make the world a better place. The idea that, if everybody believed as we do the world would be a better place, only works if others notice how we live and act, are sincerely impressed, and then ask about our beliefs and practices. We will never make the world a better place by attempting to spread our beliefs like used car salespeople, using persuasion and intimidation. That will never cut it.
Most religions profess peace and love, yet promote division, this is true, but you can stop this; just use some common sense and sensitivity. Human beings are all the same, they treasure their privacy and their freedom to choose their savior, god, goddess, no god, many gods, their ideals and their opinions. And it is okay to agree to disagree. That is the beginning of a new consciousness that someday will replace the current one of hatred and division.
It all begins with you, and whether or not you can open yourself to others and their beliefs. If we don’t learn to get along, we will learn again about warfare, and again, and again. Big Time.