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

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

Make It Easy !
Subscribe Free
in a reader or your email

Advertisements

The Science of Religion . . .

Mandala“Who, me? Religious? No thanks! I’m pretty spiritual but religion really turns me off.”

Ever heard someone say something like that? Ever said it yourself?

So what is it with this spiritual/religious divide? What makes what used to go together fall so far apart? Is it related to the idea that living-together seems to have more appeal than marriage?

“Who, us? Get married? No thanks! We’re pretty compatible but marriage really turns us off.”

What’s wrong with commitment? And, what does science have to do with any of this?

“Who me? Be scientific? No thanks! I’m pretty rational but exposing my ideas to the possibility of being disproven really turns me off.”

Just because some people get away with having their ideas accepted even when they aren’t true doesn’t make science invalid.

Just because some people get along famously living-together doesn’t invalidate marriage.

Just because engaging in spiritual activities makes a person more loving doesn’t make religion reprehensible.

It’s what people have made of marriage that makes many shy from it.

It’s what people have done to the use of the mind that has fostered less than rigorous thinking.

It’s what folks do in the name of religion that sends people running…

Marriage is an institution that makes a relationship more than being pretty compatible.

Science is an institution that makes thought more than pretty rational.

Religion is an institution that makes spirituality more than being a nice person…

There is also a science to marriage—a method of perfecting the living-together.

A science of religion?

I’ll leave you with a statement from the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith.

Spiritual Quote:

“Consider the rational faculty with which God hath endowed the essence of man. Examine thine own self, and behold how thy motion and stillness, thy will and purpose, thy sight and hearing, thy sense of smell and power of speech, and whatever else is related to, or transcendeth, thy physical senses or spiritual perceptions, all proceed from, and owe their existence to, this same faculty. So closely are they related unto it, that if in less than the twinkling of an eye its relationship to the human body be severed, each and every one of these senses will cease immediately to exercise its function, and will be deprived of the power to manifest the evidences of its activity. It is indubitably clear and evident that each of these afore-mentioned instruments has depended, and will ever continue to depend, for its proper functioning on this rational faculty, which should be regarded as a sign of the revelation of Him Who is the sovereign Lord of all. Through its manifestation all these names and attributes have been revealed, and by the suspension of its action they are all destroyed and perish.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 163

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

Make It Easy !
Subscribe Free
in a reader or your email

Religion and Wildlife

animalIn a story from OneWorld, Eco-Islam: Malaysia’s Imams to preach against poaching, it says: “Muslim preachers in Malaysia are using teachings from the Koran to raise awareness and help preserve endangered species, many of which reside in the Southeast Asian island nation.”

This is an extremely hopeful sign in a prevailing culture that most often sees the natural world as a mere Resource, ripe for exploitation.

Malaysia is also one of the 18 countries considered to be MegaDiverse; in other words, “countries that harbor the majority of the earth’s species and are therefore considered extremely biodiverse.”

On the World Wildlife Fund site (where you can check all the MegaDiverse countries) they say something very powerful. You may already know this but, I feel, it bears near constant repetition:

“The Earth is at a critical point where the decisions and actions taken by one species—ours—will determine the future of all life.”

For me, as a Bahá’í, religion supporting conservation of animal species is a no-brainer; but, I’d rather quote folks more eloquent then me…

Spiritual Quote:

“Among the principles guiding the Bahá’í approach to conservation and sustainable development, the following are of particular importance:

» nature reflects the qualities and attributes of God and should, therefore, be greatly respected and cherished;

» all things are interconnected and flourish according to the law of reciprocity; and

» the oneness of humanity is the fundamental spiritual and social truth shaping our age.

“Bahá’í Scriptures describe nature as an emanation of God’s will:

“Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.”
The Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Apr 06, Conservation and Sustainable Development in the Bahá’í Faith

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Subscribe Free
in a reader or your email

For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at
amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

God ?

god

Jim & Denise at the Café

Jim: “So I hear you found God…”

Denise: “More like God found me.”

Jim: “…”

Denise: “Kind of like when the student is ready, the Teacher appears…”

Jim: “God, huh?”

Denise: “Yep.”

Jim: “Did He speak to you?”

Denise: “No, She  didn’t. Actually, I don’t think God is sexed—beyond all that…”

Jim: “So how do you know God found you?”

Denise: “I feel ‘Blessed ‘, I feel I’m worthy of working toward my best potential…”

Jim: “Quite a change from last month with all that talk about dying…”

Denise: “Yeah, I want to live now and I’m not afraid of dying either, whenever…”

Jim: “Wild! ”

Denise: “Yeah, wild… Wonderful… Weird…

Jim: “Yeah…”

~~~~~~~~~

If you’d been in attendance at this imaginary scene, you’d have seen the body language and felt the emotion—you’d have believed that Denise really did feel that God had found her.

Who or What is God?

Big Question…

This post was stimulated by a post on BloggersBase called, Perspectives on the Nature of God – Which of these Five Views Matches Yours? The author lists five very common conceptions of God with descriptions:

God the Wrathful…

God the Judgmental…

God Who?…

God the Compassionate…

God the Universal Spirit…

Then, comes a fascinating piece of contemplation:

“You have probably rejected four of these five views of God as being absolutely wrong, and even been uncomfortable with the wording of the view with which you most closely align. In doing so, you have rejected the sincere beliefs of the vast majority of humanity. Is promoting your preferred characterization of God more important than compassion and acceptance of diversity?”

I have my conception of God and it embraces a few of the five mentioned but goes well beyond any of them…

To me, God is First and Foremost, the Unknowable—no conception from us—the creations of God—can attain to the True Nature of our Creator…

This belief doesn’t relieve me of the necessity for compassion and empathy and tolerance of other’s beliefs…

There is, however, a concept in religion that indicates the existence of Messengers  from God, Prophets  of God, Manifestations  of God, Who have acted as intermediaries between God the Creator and we the created. Some of their names have been Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh.

There’s also a concept called Progressive Revelation  that says that all those Manifestations are One in Spirit and the religions They each founded were but Chapters in a continuing revelation of One Faith of God. This principle holds that all the religions are stages of one religion—the outer social laws changing with the constant evolution of humanity but the core spiritual Truths remaining—immutable…

One God…

One Faith…

One Human Family…

Hmmm . . .

Spiritual Quote:

“The holy Manifestations of God come into the world to dispel the darkness of the animal, or physical, nature of man, to purify him from his imperfections in order that his heavenly and spiritual nature may become quickened, his divine qualities awakened, his perfections visible, his potential powers revealed and all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within him may come to life. These holy Manifestations of God are the Educators and Trainers of the world of existence, the Teachers of the world of humanity. They liberate man from the darkness of the world of nature, deliver him from despair, error, ignorance, imperfections and all evil qualities. They clothe him in the garment of perfections and exalted virtues. Men are ignorant; the Manifestations of God make them wise. They are animalistic; the Manifestations make them human. They are savage and cruel; the Manifestations lead them into kingdoms of light and love. They are unjust; the Manifestations cause them to become just. Man is selfish; They sever him from self and desire. Man is haughty; They make him meek, humble and friendly. He is earthly; They make him heavenly. Men are material; the Manifestations transform them into divine semblance. They are immature children; the Manifestations develop them into maturity. Man is poor; They endow him with wealth. Man is base, treacherous and mean; the Manifestations of God uplift him into dignity, nobility and loftiness.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 465

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Subscribe Free
in a reader or your email

For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at
amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

Would A Scientist Lie To You ?

dishonest_scientistsScience has attained a position in modern culture that approaches what was formerly reserved for religion. Many people would thank God for that turn of events but most of the scientists, good “priests” of the new “religion”, would caution the God-thanker against unscientific thinking.

If that little scenario seems a bit convoluted, the actual situation in science-at-large is much more distorted.

Before launching into a case-in-point, I want to float an analogical situation to ease our approach to some extremely tangled territory:

You’re just cruisin’ along, doin’ your thing in life, when a rival you didn’t even know you had starts to spread a rumor that you’re a sex abuser. The first you hear of it is during a conversation at the next table in the café. It’s about whether the police should use entrapment to find sex abusers and it’s definitely loud enough to make you listen.

Certain details of some recent case start surfacing and you begin to realize that these people are talking about a man who’s currently being investigated for his activities who sounds like it might be you—too many little details, no name, but enough circumstantial evidence to deduce that these people are discussing You!

This kind of rumor-mongering doesn’t happen just in cafés; it’s present in business, political, and religious communities, too. The point I want to make is how hard it can be, once a rumor has circulated enough to gain currency, to disprove it, no matter how many facts you have at your disposal. Shades of Lenin and the Big Lie…

Back to the scientists.

A recent news buzz was created by an extremely expensive collection of scientific equipment—the Large Hadron Collider. This particle-smashing machine was built by tax-payer money but the people who’s pockets were emptied haven’t been given the whole truth…

An entertaining yet scientifically weak article in The New York Times, Gauging a Collider’s Odds of Creating a Black Hole, discusses some apparently alarming aspects of the risks scientists create with their expensive experiments. The problem with the article and most of mainstream science is that the science being done isn’t as rigorously honest as one might imagine it should be.

What some folks would call a fringe-group (a group that has successfully predicted what many recent spacecraft have recorded, things that have the mainstreamers running back to their drawing-boards) recently posted an article by Jeremy Dunning-Davies, senior lecturer in physics at the University of Hull and fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Dr. Dunning-Davies discusses the alarm produced by the switching on of the Hadron Collider, then proceeds to give an acute analysis of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics (not  horribly technical) and says something very interesting for a scientist:

“Science should be studied with a totally open mind and any advances should be examined in a like manner. Surely the aim of any scientific investigation is to seek the truth? Probably mankind will always be found wanting intellectually and any solution to a problem will be no more than an approximation to the real truth, but efforts must continue in all areas to find that elusive complete answer….Where several theories exist, that fact must be openly acknowledged with no thought for protecting vested interests of any sort.”

Dr. Dunning-Davies is not well appreciated by his fellow scientists. He’s encroaching on their “priesthood”, he’s asking for the complete truth and that just might lead to the mainstream scientists not having the monetary support they want.

Point?

If a large group of scientists are not letting the whole truth reach the public, or using the tactics of the malicious rumor-mongerer to keep competing theories from the funding-dollar, we the Public deserve to know.

Figuring out how to put down the rumor-like science and let the whole truth shine is a bit harder than just knowing about it. Just like the fellow having misinformation being spread about his sexual abuse, beating down a popular lie is a huge task…

Spiritual Quote:

“…the injunction to investigate truth—that is to say, no man should blindly follow his ancestors and forefathers. Nay, each must see with his own eyes, hear with his own ears and investigate the truth himself in order that he may follow the truth instead of blind acquiescence and imitation of ancestral beliefs.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Promulgation of Universal Peace

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Subscribe Free
in a reader or your email

For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at
amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

Rainn Wilson, Dwight Schrute, and Spirituality

the_office_and_spiritualityDwight Schrute?

From the hit show The Office?

Giving deep answers to big spiritual questions?

With Oprah?!?

Well… Recently, Rainn Wilson appeared on Oprah’s Soul Series Webcast {Scroll down to “Download Files” for the easiest access!}.

He was definitely not  the character he plays on The Office!

Not the man with a boundless ego who’s always looking for the best way to screw anybody—the man you love to hate…

Here was a thoughtful, intelligent man talking about his spiritual journey and introducing a new web site that targets youth and challenges them to think about and  take action on the Big Spiritual Questions—SoulPancake.

He talks about creative endeavors as Prayer  and the crying need for our Human Family to Unify —to realize that the answer to all the Big Questions  is an awareness of our common Humanity…

Oprah draws him out with her matchless style of down-to-earth yet deeply spiritual questions and gives him a chance to soar on the wings that only a Creative Soul can use to give each of us Hope!

I rate this one as a Must-Watch!!!

Spiritual Quote:

“The mystery of this phenomenon, the cause thereof is this, that mankind has been created from one single origin, has branched off from one family. Thus in reality all mankind represents one family. God has not created any difference. He has created all as one that thus this family might live in perfect happiness and well-being.

“Regarding reciprocity and cooperation: each member of the body politic should live in the utmost comfort and welfare because each individual member of humanity is a member of the body politic and if one member of the members be in distress or be afflicted with some disease all the other members must necessarily suffer. For example, a member of the human organism is the eye. If the eye should be affected that affliction would affect the whole nervous system. Hence, if a member of the body politic becomes afflicted, in reality, from the standpoint of sympathetic connection, all will share that affliction since this (one afflicted) is a member of the group of members, a part of the whole. Is it possible for one member or part to be in distress and the other members to be at ease? It is impossible! Hence God has desired that in the body politic of humanity each one shall enjoy perfect welfare and comfort.

“Although the body politic is one family yet because of lack of harmonious relations some members are comfortable and some in direst misery, some members are satisfied and some are hungry, some members are clothed in most costly garments and some families are in need of food and shelter. Why? Because this family lacks the necessary reciprocity and symmetry. This household is not well arranged. This household is not living under a perfect law. All the laws which are legislated do not ensure happiness. They do not provide comfort.

“Therefore a law must be given to this family by means of which all the members of this family will enjoy equal well-being and happiness.
Is it possible for one member of a family to be subjected to the utmost misery and to abject poverty and for the rest of the family to be comfortable? It is impossible unless those members of the family be senseless, atrophied, inhospitable, unkind. Then they would say, ‘Though these members do belong to our family—let them alone. Let us look after ourselves. Let them die. So long as I am comfortable, I am honored, I am happy—this my brother— let him die. If he be in misery let him remain in misery, so long as I am comfortable. If he is hungry let him remain so; I am satisfied. If he is without clothes, so long as I am clothed, let him remain as he is. If he is shelterless, homeless, so long as I have a home, let him remain in the wilderness’.

“Such utter indifference in the human family is due to lack of control, to lack of a working law, to lack of kindness in its midst. If kindness had been shown to the members of this family surely all the members thereof would have enjoyed comfort and happiness.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Foundations of World Unity

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Subscribe Free
in a reader or your email

For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at
amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

Why should You care?

cyrus_the_greatWhy should you care that seven innocent people are languishing in prison in Iran with no access to legal counsel?

Well, even if they were guilty, the lack of access to their lawyer—Shirin Ebadi—is criminal. The image on the left is of Cyrus the Great. The following is from Wikipedia :

On December 10, 2003, in her acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi evoked Cyrus, saying:
“I am an Iranian, a descendant of Cyrus the Great. This emperor proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2,500 years ago that he ‘would not reign over the people if they did not wish it.’ He promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all. The Charter of Cyrus the Great should be studied in the history of human rights.”

Why should you care if the prime reason for these people’s incarceration is that they hold a belief in the Bahá’í Faith?

Well, jailing someone for their beliefs is an attempt to induce mind control through force.

Nader Saiedi has written a scholarly yet scathing article called Forgetting They Are Human. In that article (which goes into great depth on the psychology of the people who would use force to control thoughts), he says:

“It is now thirty years that the Islamic regime has been engaged in a brutal, systematic and organized persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. This religious sadism, however, has recently been much more intensified. The Islamic Republic forces elementary school teachers to publicly humiliate the Baha’i children, and with utter inhumanity to insult their religion. This is one of the manifestations of their brand of ‘Islamic Justice’ whose like is rarely seen even among the most despotic and racist contemporary regimes of the world. The reactionaries, led in this ‘holy war’ against these children by the leaders of the Hojjatiyeh Association [a secret anti-Baha’i society], have opened up new chapters in the annals of courage and humanity. These brave warriors are not content with just harassing children, instead they systematically attack the organized lines of Baha’i corpses in cemeteries, and after bravely defeating the dead, burn their remaining bodies.”

Why should you care about this if you don’t live in Iran?

Well, there’s that concept gaining increasing acceptance—the one that stresses our common humanity—that holds us to the high standard of protecting any  human who is dealt with unjustly.

Why should you care, even if you wished they weren’t being treated badly, when you might feel it to be impossible for you to do anything to protect them?

Because you can  do something to protect them…

You can pray for them.

If you don’t believe in prayer, have the courtesy and maturity to respect those who do believe in it.

From an open letter entitled, We Are Ashamed, from a group of more than 200 prominent academics, writers, artists, journalists and Iranian activists throughout the world to the Baha’i community come these words:

“In the name of goodness and beauty, and in the name of humanity and liberty!

“As Iranian human beings, we are ashamed for what has been perpetrated upon the Bahá’ís in the last century and a half in Iran.
We firmly believe that every Iranian, ‘without distinction of any kind, such as, race, color, sex, language, religion, politics or other opinions’, and also without regard to ethnic background, ‘social origin, property, birth or other status’, is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, from the very inception of the Bahá’í Faith, the followers of this religion in Iran have been deprived of many provisions of human rights solely on account of their religious convictions.”

Why should you care about these Bahá’ís if you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or member of any other Faith?

Well, true religion upholds justice and instills unity.

Spiritual Quote:

“All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness of God and the unity of mankind. They have taught that men should love and mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of humanity. The fundamental truth of the Manifestations is peace. This underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another. Consider the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is the primary foundation of them all. Read the Gospel and the other holy books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. Therefore unity is the essential truth of religion and when so understood embraces all the virtues of the human world. Praise be to God! this knowledge has been spread, eyes have been opened and ears have become attentive. Therefore we must endeavor to promulgate and practice the religion of God which has been founded by all the prophets. And the religion of God is absolute love and unity.
Abdu’l-Bahá: Bahá’í World Faith

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Subscribe Free
in a reader or your email

For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at
amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com