"My religion is very simple - my religion is kindness" (Dalai Lama)
Is it time to pick up the pieces and put them together?
Most people have their own idea of what religion is. Not everyone believes in a God as such, or is totally involved in any particular religion, but they almost certainly have ideas about it.
Faith, however, is not something that we can explain or prove to others, for it is to do with ideals and concerns of humanity, yet it does seem to give people hope. Hope for something better than we have already: an overall parent, great teacher or protector: maybe even a reason for all suffering, and perhaps a final answer to what it is all about.
It does seem extraordinary, therefore, that "idealism" in one shape or form has probably caused more wars throughout the ages than any other factor.
God it seems has appeared to humanity in many different ways, and often apparently contradictory in nature.
And yet it is very strange that it is not the things that we don't believe, that actually cause all the trouble.
It is the things that we do believe, that others insist are wrong because they don't fit in with their own ideals. These are the things that seem to bring about wars.
Yet, if we examine a little bit closer, and stop considering how wrong others are, but instead look to how right they could be, we may find a way of fitting everything together in one vast picture, of which our own beliefs are only a part.
This picture, can be likened to a jigsaw puzzle of many different pieces - made up of statements, beliefs, ideals, fact or myth, each interlocking together, side by side to reveal the total whole.
Maybe all of us would benefit by being prepared to examine the many faiths of the world - especially those whose ideas are so greatly different from ours that our ancestors tended to fear them, or to class them as heathens.
The beliefs and ideals of all true religious teachings are equally profound, and it is only by understanding the unique differences and valuable contributions of each of them, that we may at last begin to get a clearer picture of the whole religious jigsaw.
Religions have taught of one God and many Gods: one life and many lives and, through their Holy books, their views have taken many avenues and faces. Yet all of them look steadfastly in the same direction, towards an infinite power, which is superior by far to ourselves: a power that gives us some reason for our existence, for without it, there are many who would find life pointless and without value.
All religions, whether eastern or western, have a common thought and a common vision, and that is belief in the power and sanctity of love.- as perfect and as beautiful as the blossoming of a rose.
And all of them, without exception, from Krishna to Christ: from Moses to Mohammid, can be traced back to a branch of two or maybe even one original source. And that source lies somewhere in the origins of all humanity.
Faith is an individual process: inately personal to each of us - as different and as unified as the colours of the rainbow,and there is as much room in it for the Atheist, Agnostic, Pagan and Occultist, as there is for the Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Jew.
In fact, for many, faith can only develop from having the freedom to question, for it has been said that an unreconciled doubt is like a cancer that erodes, causes conflict and destroys as insiduously as acid.
So, if we are in disagreement about religion, then maybe we should wonder if we will ever be in agreement about the safety of our world. Yet it is surely not too hard for us to see that all views and opinions can indeed be correct, if we can find where their place is within the whole?
The Creator, after all, has no religion, but is the common denominator of them all - whether Its' Face be that of an awesome power of atomic magnitude, or the One Omnipotent Master of all life.
It is perhaps in the diversity of religions that we can see the unity of life, for all beliefs came from somewhere.
They are not accidental, but rooted within us, and surely one was never meant to overshadow the other?
All writings © J.Shell 1981 - 2005 (unless otherwise stated). All rights reserved.