I am one of those folks who does not consider myself to be religious. I am spiritual and will always be that. Some days I border on atheism. But for the most part, I feel more animistic than anything else. I commune with Nature. Nature, in return, communes with me. There is a deep and profound connection that is felt when the communion occurs. And is that type of connection not what most religious people are seeking in the first place?
Having studied world religions I found that there were more bridges between each religion than there were walls between them. Many of the teachings are identical. Each is stated in a way that the people of that particular region would understand. Each is taught in a language of a particular region as well. But they all have some very profound similarities. The problem is when people only want to see the differences and then insist that their way is the ONLY way. That is when all hell erupts.
I look at it like this. We are not all the same. We, as humans, are not cookie cutter replicas of one another. Yes, we are all equal, but that does not in any way make us all the same. If you are a religious person, would you not agree that your God (or whatever you refer to that as) is All-Knowing? And if you would see that, would you not also see that if that God were to send a message to humans, that God would also know that the same message needed to be conveyed in a multitude of ways, given the vast array of languages and cultures on our planet?
What if Buddha is a re-do of Confucius? What if Allah is a re-do of Yahweh? What if Jesus is a re-do of Allah? And so on… What if they are ALL THE SAME SOURCE, PRESENTED IN A VARIETY OF WAYS?
Well now, doesn’t that put a different spin on things?!
Now, I do recognize that there are also some very distinct differences with each religion. I am not saying that they are cookie cutter in any way. But I do see similarities. As such, it becomes easier to bridge the gap.
Enter the Extremist religions. This now makes it much more difficult to do that bridging, because the dogma of an extremist religion leaves no room whatsoever for anything to be interpreted in a different way or bridged in any way. It creates a deeper duality of “Us vs. Them.” I often wonder, in the midst of all this extremism, if humankind is ever going to evolve beyond that duality? Will we ever find peace on earth?
I encourage you, the reader, to open to the possibility of bridging. I know, I have often called out religion for some of its downfalls. But when we look at the world and see where it is headed, I do think that religion may have a use. It does tend to unify people for a “common good.” This is a good thing to have happen. So if it is already doing that, then why not be open to a unification between various religions? Ecumenism has a place in the world, and not just among Christian faiths. It can be a much broader reach. It is the religious diplomat of the world. If it can manage to do enough bridging, then just maybe the world has a chance at harmony.
Don’t worry, my faithful readers. It is not like you are going to find me attending church anytime soon…unless it is for a wedding or funeral. But you will also NOT find me burning down any churches or temples either! Acts of aggression and hatred annoy me to no end. I hope that one day, even if that day is far after my own passing, humans can learn to just leave everyone else alone and treat each other with dignity and respect. I know…it may be a very long wait. But if we can all keep our eyes on the prize, then perhaps it will happen sooner than later.