What Good Is Religion ?

I live in the United States of America but I’m a World Citizen. I’m concerned about the moral collapse of my birth-country and I’m appalled at the insanities perpetrated world-wide that claim religious justification.

From Pravda: 1/10/08  Russian authorities blame Internet for inciting ethnic and religious strife

From the New York Times: 6/3/06  Religious Strife Is Pushing Iraq towards Civil War

From the Guardian, UK: 15/2/04  Children to study atheism at school

From OneCountry.Org: April 2002,  “In a letter to ‘the world’s religious leaders’, the Universal House of Justice warns of the danger posed by ‘the rising fires of religious prejudice’ and calls for decisive action against fanaticism and intolerance….the six-page letter had been delivered to at least 1,600 leaders in more than 40 countries.”

I used news clips from 08 back to 02 to indicate the inertia that impedes eradication of the most perverted behavior humans engage in—antagonism and strife based on religious dogma.

Killing someone because they’re invading your home territory is bad enough. Killing them because they profess a different religious doctrine is demented.

The letter to the world’s religious leaders from the Universal House of Justice is a model of sanity and rationality from the governing body of one of the world’s major religions.

They begin by stressing the “Babel of incoherent identities of cultural, ethnic or national origin” that plague our global family.

They go on to indict the fanatical aspects of some of the world’s religions:

“Tragically, organized religion, whose very reason for being entails service to the cause of brotherhood and peace, behaves all too frequently as one of the most formidable obstacles in the path; to cite a particular painful fact, it has long lent its credibility to fanaticism.”

Then comes a review of the disunifying factors in society that are undergoing profound change:

“At the level of global discourse, however, the concept of the equality of the sexes has, for all practical purposes, now assumed the force of universally accepted principle…no one can mistake the fact that the fetish of absolute national sovereignty is on its way to extinction…racial prejudice has become so universally condemned in principle that no body of people can any longer safely allow themselves to be identified with it.”

Then, a stunning concept of religious unity that most organized religions oppose:

“In contrast to the processes of unification that are transforming the rest of humanity’s social relationships, the suggestion that all of the world’s great religions are equally valid in nature and origin is stubbornly resisted by entrenched patterns of sectarian thought.”

More on the tragedy of non-religious religion:

“…the greater part of organized religion stands paralyzed at the threshold of the future, gripped in those very dogmas and claims of privileged access to truth that have been responsible for creating some of the most bitter conflicts dividing the earth’s inhabitants. The consequences, in terms of human well-being, have been ruinous.

Then, hope:

“Vast numbers of people continue to endure the effects of ingrained prejudices of ethnicity, gender, nation, caste and class….The point, rather, is that a threshold has been crossed from which there is no credible possibility of return. Fundamental principles have been identified, articulated, accorded broad publicity and are becoming progressively incarnated in institutions capable of imposing them on public behaviour. There is no doubt that, however protracted and painful the struggle, the outcome will be to revolutionize relationships among all peoples, at the grassroots level.”

And, the increasing awareness of global Oneness:

“Out of the welter of religious doctrines, rituals and legal codes inherited from vanished worlds, there is emerging a sense that spiritual life, like the oneness manifest in diverse nationalities, races and cultures, constitutes one unbounded reality equally accessible to everyone.”

And, whether you’re religious or not, this final statement should resonate with your moral consciousness:

“With every day that passes, danger grows that the rising fires of religious prejudice will ignite a worldwide conflagration the consequences of which are unthinkable. Such a danger civil government, unaided, cannot overcome. Nor should we delude ourselves that appeals for mutual tolerance can alone hope to extinguish animosities that claim to possess Divine sanction. The crisis calls on religious leadership for a break with the past as decisive as those that opened the way for society to address equally corrosive prejudices of race, gender and nation.”

Spiritual Quote:

“Inasmuch as human interpretations and blind imitations differ widely, religious strife and disagreement have arisen among mankind, the light of true religion has been extinguished and the unity of the world of humanity destroyed. The Prophets of God voiced the spirit of unity and agreement. They have been the Founders of divine reality. Therefore, if the nations of the world forsake imitations and investigate the reality underlying the revealed Word of God, they will agree and become reconciled. For reality is one and not multiple.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 141

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