False Religion

false_religionSo much hate being spread in the name of religion…

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, once said:

“Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion.”

He also said, “A Bahá’í denies no religion; he accepts the Truth in all, and would die to uphold it.”

Recent events in Pakistan show the dark side of this issue:

From The New York Times: Hate Engulfs Christians in Pakistan “The attack in this shabby town in central Pakistan — the culmination of several days of rioting over a claim that a Koran had been defiled — shows how precarious life is for the tiny Christian minority in Pakistan.”

From CNN: About 200 arrested in violence against Christians in Pakistan “Seven people were killed and 20 injured Saturday when Muslim demonstrators set fire to houses in a Christian enclave…”

From Agence France-Presse: Pakistan Christian schools strike after killings “An angry mob of Muslims torched 40 houses and a church in the remote village of Gojra in Pakistan’s heartland province of Punjab…”

It’s no wonder more and more intelligent people can say things like, “I’m very spiritual but certainly not religious…”.

Spiritual Quote:

“…it is evident that the Divine religions are meant to create a bond of love among humanity, and to bind the people together for no other purpose than amity. Divine religion is not a cause for discord and disagreement. If religion be the cause of discord and difference, then no religion is preferable, for religion is meant to be life to the body politic. If it be the cause of death to humanity, then its non-existence is preferable. Therefore, in this day religion is to be sought, for religious teachings may well be likened to remedies. If a remedy be productive of worse symptoms, the lack or absence of the remedy is preferable.”
Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 312

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The Crisis of Faith

Things seem so gruesomely glum—so downright dour—so freakishly forbidding . . . Yet, there is Potent Hope. If you can accept it . . .

From the Washington Post: Credit Crisis Triggers Unprecedented U.S. Response
From China View: Former UN chief expresses concern over global food, fuel crisis in Ghana
From the New York Times: 1,500 Reported Killed in Georgia Battle
From the Boston Globe: Early retirement plans can be short-circuited by a crisis of one kind or another
From the Irish Times: Testimonies of atomic terror: lest we forget
From Nehanda Radio: Thousands face starvation as food crisis deepens in rural Zimbabwe

Pretty bad, eh? Probably gonna get worse…

I’m not being morose or sullen; not even pessimistic. I’m making a strong point.

What can extricate our Family from the multitude of crises assailing it?

Where is hope?

It sure isn’t in the things that have been tried for many years—the failed strategies, the materialistic grand-schemes, the corporate “solutions”, the political fantasies.

Something related to God, then?

“Oh, my, there he goes again. Poor Alex is flying in his nirvana of spirituality.”

Valid point. Just look at all the fine people, deeply spiritual, who’ve been slaughtered by the present system of managing human affairs.

Still, is dying for a cause proof that the cause isn’t valid? Is the apparent power of the politicians, corporations, and greedy-onslaughts-abounding any proof that a spiritual solution is not the best way to face such a sorry Mess?

Try this quote on for size:

“It behoveth everyone to traverse this brief span of life with sincerity and fairness. Should one fail to attain unto the recognition of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, let him at least conduct himself with reason and justice. Erelong these outward trappings, these visible treasures, these earthly vanities, these arrayed armies, these adorned vestures, these proud and overweening souls, all shall pass into the confines of the grave, as though into that box. In the eyes of those possessed of insight, all this conflict, contention and vainglory hath ever been, and will ever be, like unto the play and pastimes of children. Take heed, and be not of them that see and yet deny.”

Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, 3.17

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How Do You Feed A Whole World ?


Quite often, the global drama strikes me as a group of children fighting over who gets to go first. Actually, I’ve been feeling a bit adolescent lately so it’s not much of a stretch to see the world’s leaders as misbehaving children.

From the International Herald Tribune: Negotiators acknowledge World Trade Organization process needs to change

From the New York Times: After 7 Years, Talks Collapse on World Trade

From the New York Times/World Business: China’s Shift on Food Was Key to Trade Impasse

From Reuters: EU points at U.S. for WTO collapse

From The WIP: How to Solve the Food Crisis: Cut trade barriers and start a Green Revolution in Africa, says Jeffrey Sachs
“The only silver lining in this (crisis) is – I even hate the idea of using that – is that it has made more people aware of the things that can be done, like the green revolution. I am not a believer in waiting for crises to get things done. I think it’s an absolutely ridiculous part of our character, but when we do have the crisis, at least it’s true that there is more discussion about agriculture the last months than there was in eight years!”

Hundreds of people, seemingly knowledgable in their field, sit down over a seven-year period and can’t come to an agreement; even though people are starving, and banks are tottering, and simple, sincere people (the world over) are losing hope . . .

What’s missing?

One thing that needs to be adjusted in the equation is to strike out the terms referring to Third World. Far as I can figure out, we have one world.

Next, terms need to be incorporated so the job of production becomes integrated globally—not the “us”/”them” situation we have. This will free enormous creative resources for solving our other crises.

“Economic development strategies employed by the United Nations, the World Bank and a number of governments during the last fifty years, however sincerely conceived and executed, have fallen far short of aspirations. In much of the world, the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has widened and is accelerating with the persistent disparity in income levels. Social problems have not subsided. In fact, crime and disease are not just on the rise; they are also becoming endemic and more difficult to combat.

“These failures can be traced to a number of factors. They include a misplaced focus on large-scale projects and bureaucratic over-centralization, unjust terms of international trade, a pervasive corruption that has been allowed to flourish throughout the system, the exclusion of women from the decision-making processes at all levels, a general inability to ensure that resources reach the poor, and the diversion of development resources into military hardware.

“A dispassionate examination of these factors betrays a common systematic and fundamental flaw in the current paradigm for economic development: material needs are often addressed without taking into account the spiritual factors and their motivating power….

“Because of the spiritually damaging nature of dependency, schemes which focus solely on redistributing material wealth are doomed to failure in the long run. Distribution of wealth must be approached in an efficient and equitable manner. In fact, it must be intimately integrated with the process of wealth creation.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Oct, Turning Point For All Nations

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Light In The Darkness


“The bed-rock of a strategy that can engage the world’s population in assuming responsibility for its collective destiny must be the consciousness of the oneness of humankind.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Jul 16, Realization of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

From The New York Times: Bank Investors Redefine Bad News
“…it has now been a year since the credit crisis erupted, and, so far, the optimists have been proven wrong time and again. Skeptics say it could take years for banks to recover from the worst financial crisis since the Depression. And even when things do improve, the pessimists maintain, banks’ profits will be a fraction of what they were before.”

From Forbes: Wachovia Loss May Spell End For Bank Rally
“After reporting second-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations, American Express said it does not expect to meet or exceed long-term financial targets until the economy recovers because conditions worsened more rapidly than expected.”

So much of the world is overextended.

So many people suffer.

A few get rich as the rest get poorer . . .

~~~~~~~~~

I used to work as a telemarketer (Oh, my God, Alex, how horrible !) for one of the major credit card companies. There came a point when they expanded their services into Ireland. The CEO said the Irish appeared to be overly careful in their finances—they weren’t carrying any balance on their cards. I quit the company right after I saw a quote from the CEO: “We have every confidence in the Irish market. It may be slow now but we will educate them.”

Educate them . . .

Time for class kids! Gather round. There ya go. See, this is a wall socket. Some people say its dangerous to put your finger in here but today we’re gonna learn that it’s actually fun !!

We all need education, constantly—from the bottom up and from the Top down.

Sometimes I get a little nutsey and think that the separation of Faith and State has brought ruin to both.

“…material civilization is like unto a beautiful body, and spiritual civilization is like unto the spirit of life. If that wondrous spirit of life enters this beautiful body, the body will become a channel for the distribution and development of the perfections of humanity.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 11

Things sure are headed Somewhere . . . In fact, that reminds me of an old saying, “If ya don’t know where you’re goin’, any road will take ya there.”

“…it is unrealistic to imagine that the vision of the next stage in the advancement of civilization can be formulated without a searching re-examination of the attitudes and assumptions that currently underlie approaches to social and economic development….We are being shown that, unless the development of society finds a purpose beyond the mere amelioration of material conditions, it will fail of attaining even these goals. That purpose must be sought in spiritual dimensions of life and motivation that transcend a constantly changing economic landscape and an artificially imposed division of human societies into ‘developed’ and ‘developing.’ “
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Jul 16, Realization of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

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