What Good Is Religion ?

religious_strife
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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14 thoughts on “What Good Is Religion ?

  1. Amen
    the world tests our faithfulness – arranges a stage to the miracles: while the overview frightens indeed, my heart blossom out with the hearty welcome. The personal response don’t know any math – when two come together, God join them and everything revives… wow!
    Peace and love

  2. Anything is only ever as good as you interpret it to be. Human beings cannot change conditions or other people. You can only ever change your perception. How you see is based on how you feel. If you do not like what you see, then you can always change how you feel. Your feelings are a gauge.

  3. Hi Alex,
    Lovely photo.

    It is my hope that one day religion will actually bring people together, not tear them apart. Religion is the most misinterpreted text in the world. Maybe if people stopped “interpreting,” and dropped the books, we could have a chance at love for our fellow man.

    I find it very disturbing that atheism will be taught in school.
    Telling children that there is no God is like telling them there is no hope.

  4. There is no greater impediment to the advancement of knowdledge than the ambiguity of words.We must quit trying to streamline and old busniss,old politics,old schools,old family structures.Simply defending and revoking the past is digging our own graves.
    Time is God’s way of keeping everything from happening at once.!

  5. Dear Alexys,

    Rather than: “Maybe if people stopped ‘interpreting,’ and dropped the books, we could have a chance at love for our fellow man.”

    If may be preferable to follow this Advice:

    “…they that tread the path of faith, they that thirst for the wine of certitude, must cleanse themselves of all that is earthly — their ears from idle talk, their minds from vain imaginings, their hearts from worldly affections, their eyes from that which perisheth. They should put their trust in God, and, holding fast unto Him, follow in His way. Then will they be made worthy of the effulgent glories of the sun of divine knowledge and understanding, and become the recipients of a grace that is infinite and unseen, inasmuch as man can never hope to attain unto the knowledge of the All-Glorious, can never quaff from the stream of divine knowledge and wisdom, can never enter the abode of immortality, nor partake of the cup of divine nearness and favour, unless and until he ceases to regard the words and deeds of mortal men as a standard for the true understanding and recognition of God and His Prophets.”

    (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 3)

  6. I think if every religion could just get to the basics, and focus on just being good to one another and following basic values, then it would be a wonderful world. Instead, most focusing on which one is right, which one is wrong, everyone is a sinner and going to hell unless they donate a certain amount or blow up their enemies, etc.

    ~ Kristi

  7. Wise words Alex! Interesting that you are talking about this as I just a couple of days ago saw the movie from Bill Maher called “Religulous” and despite the fact that Maher has his own thoughts on God and spirituality, the movie he put together is so well done.

    He exposes so many facts about the world religions that just don’t make sense. We are supposed to be all one and love and care for each other equally but the division of the world’s major religions is mind-blowing. I highly recommend this movie for anyone who is interested in getting a greater perspective on religion and how the world currently is set up – it is funny, because it is a comedy, but it is also very sad because what he shows we all know is true.

    I did a write up of it too on Evolving Beings, for anyone who wants to know more about the movie and comments.

  8. As you asked for additional view, I would have to agree with Silver Birch who says, “What is called religion has failed the world.” It is not purely guided by motives of service and altruism, or promoted solely to better humanity.

    Some people believe the truth of religion is demonstrated by mediumship insofar as verifiable contact with the other side enables you to strengthen understanding of immortal souls. No longer must religion rest purely on belief, faith, hope or fear of death and the hereafter. It is brought within the realm of ascertainable fact that some part of your soul, lives on. You may initially grapple with the concept of a spiritual being, but you are that already, incarnated in the physical on earth to achieve growth. You have choices and free will. Life is your oyster.

  9. Liara,

    Thank you for the explication!!

    You reminded me of this quote from my religion:

    “Bahá’u’lláh taught, that Religion is the chief foundation of Love and Unity and the cause of Oneness. If a religion become the cause of hatred and disharmony, it would be better that it should not exist. To be without such a religion is better than to be with it.”

    Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 28

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