In conversation with a good friend i’ve never met (= on-line friend) i came to a realisation. This particular one is in relation to a controversial topic – Religion.
To me the real aim of religion is the uniting of humanity in a common bond of Love.
( Yeah yeah – i can hear the snickers and guffaws and explosive coughing and there were undoubtedly times in my past when i’d be joining in if i had read that line too!)
But the point is: that is what religion SHOULD be about. The fact that it has done nothing even close to that in the last two and a half thousand years or more, all over the globe says much more about we human beings than it does about the purpose of establishing one or about the human concept of God(s).
Instead of uniting humanity Religion does more to divide and separate us, as the current world wide topic of Terrorism quite clearly shows. Even people who purportedly share the same religion and the same one and only God cannot agree or get along and far too frequently war against, or willingly kill, one another.
How many different schisms are there in Islam and Christianity? The Jews have their own sects as i’m sure would the Hindu’s and Shintoist’s. Presumably there is more than a single branch of Buddhism and even if you asked all the Atheists you would not find they all belong to a common group with common beliefs and unifying dogma. (Many will be split along sporting lines as a minimum and will hate supporters of another club, frequently to the point of verbal abuse if not actual physical violence).
Well, all evidence to the contrary, i believe that human beings are better than that!
That there can and should be ways we can unify our common species such that we have both Freedom to choose and Equality of opportunity, a shared Brotherhood (not forgetting the Sisterhood, of course!). We could start by reuniting our major religion in our respective countries so that we show that we all came from a single common belief in a single human (be it Moses, Muhammad, or Jesus) who declared there was but one God.
We could demonstrate that our personal love of God is greater in us than the need to object to, or reject how another human chooses to worship Him and all who belong to the ‘same’ church. We could listen to God speak to each one of us in our hearts before listening to the arrogance of someone (including ourselves) who tells us that that group over there are not true believers and we should shun them and form our own church – or worse, wipe them out altogether as apostates.
Our love of a single, universal, omnipotent God should always take priority over our own personal selfish human loves, in all things. Whenever there is conflict between them the spiritual should always have precedence over the physical.
Sadly, most humans do not fully live up to this requirement, largely through self delusion, ego and personal desire and it is for these reasons that our religions fail.
It is not the religion that fails – it is the humans behind it that are fallible and imperfect.
Please let me be clear on this point: I am enough of a realist to recognise that humanity is not now and likely never can, or indeed should all be exactly alike. I do not believe that that would be in our own best long-term interest for our survival as a species.
I believe it is good to have individuality and difference as exists in all of the Natural World.
But there needs to be tolerance and acceptance to this individuality/difference also. We need to recognise the importance of not being exactly alike in all things while letting those things in which we differ not overtake in importance the things that unite us together and so cause strife, division and ultimately war and destruction, on ever greater scales as we make progress with our technologies.
We all can be – all need to become – better than we are. better than we have shown through history ourselves to be.
We can stand united – even while being different.