There is a lot of talk of religion going on in our world/country and how it immediately affects our daily lives, whether you are a believer or not. There are agnostics and atheists involved in conversations with people of secular belief systems over how we live our lives and how laws are applied to our businesses, our movement and even how we educate our children.
There are discussions often driven by an elected “leadership” group that has worked to get placed in these positions of power through *convincing* people that they have the voice that represents them. These leaders now act on the behalf of a wide demographic, but I feel (and I don’t think I am alone here) that they are often taking action with the assumptions that everyone (or at least their most wealthy constituent majority) believes the just the way they do. The effort of trying to take the perspective of those that do not live in the same neighborhood, shop at the same stores, have the same schedule challenges, similar paycheck is too far of a stretch to make.
When you get community voices and constituents having dialogue (on FB and Twitter for example) particularly the hot button discussions on issues that touch on subjects that require some amount of ethics and morality, they more often than not involve far less active listening and understanding but instead a much larger amount of digital shouting. Less hearing and more defensive posturing. More of the “my way or the high way” or “that’s the way its always been”. Problem is there are THOUSANDS of ways to believe and billions of voices in our global society/economy. These polarized conversations rooted in systems that only account for a few are not benefiting our ENTIRE community and are ripping us apart.
*****CAN WE PLEASE STOP THIS MADNESS?!?****
ok – moving on..
I think that having no formal belief system is awfully freeing. Being able to support your faith whenever and wherever you choose… Being able to create your own rituals… being able to communicate with others without having to provide proof in terms, symbols, vocabulary of your dogma allows you to stop and engage immediately vs pause to identify the “gang” they are in. You are not seeking out confirmation of your own good choices by gaining a “me too!” effect by others on their beliefs. They can believe what makes them feel whole. If they need a routine or a group to feel like the world is valid/meaningful/not slipping away, so be it! Religion as a method of system/control is a great tool and there are a lot of individuals that need that kind of organized routine that a local church/mosque/shrine/basilica/temple/synagogue can provide. There are just as many people out there that chafe against the rigidity and conformity of a religion that find their system of healthful belief routine in school, work, or doing a skill/craft/art. One size does NOT fit all. (psssssst – it never has – when someone says “its always been that way” they have no idea of the history before their own experience. The one truth is change is constant.)
On the flip side, the freedom from the organization of a formal religion means I have to peek under the hood and understand some other things about myself and my vision of the world. I know am very empathetic and take my ethics and morals very seriously. I have had issues with trying to “make it better” for others and not caring for myself – till I explode and do a stiff 180. I have self medicated to try to numb my feelers and my empathy so I could “fit in” and it just failed miserably. I cannot. I will not. I have tried to stay detached from people. I just can’t. Having any amount of empathy can be horribly weighty, yet I believe it is terribly important and it needs to be cultured in our society. It allows us to feel for others and attempt to imagine the trials of others. You can never know until you have been there, but you can TRY. You can make an effort to LEARN. I know I have a LOT to learn about others still, but every time I get an opportunity to speak with someone outside of my daily bubble, I get very energetic and interested. Engaged. I want to walk in your footsteps. I want to see the world through different lenses. This makes me a little more kind, a little more human, a little more HUMANE.
These two things (lack of a belief system paired with empathy) together sometimes make me burst into tears considering the world around us, yet I would not change it for the world. I feel that I am here for a reason – I may not know why, and I may not ever know – but I am going to plant my footsteps and yell out loud and listen deeply till I can no longer.
Last couple of tidbits found online:
Need a daily dose of something other than your “big three” (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) that are in the news so much these days? Bust out your twitter and follow @Godchecker for a daily deity and get a little learning on the fly. Explore something outside your current system. Find out about other gods and how they were worshiped.
Further reading :
- God, Religion & Morality
- 1/3rd of US belives being a Christian is part of being American
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Religion and Morality
When you step back from the religion you were raised with, to study other belief systems a few major topics always rise to the surface. These doctrines/morals/guidelines/rules tell us how to be humane. This is not the end of the conversation, merely someone else’s observances. I do note the “masculine” language and ask you see it too. “man” and “he” are the vocabulary chosen by the writers in their own form. The best part is that these are principles that are shared across religions. They are ways we have created to guide ourselves regardless of region or language. We are all much more similar than different.
15 Great Principles Shared by All Religions
- The Golden Rule / Law of Reciprocity – The cornerstone of religious understanding. “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” – Christianity
- Honor Thy Father and Mother – Knowing them is the key to knowing ourselves. The day will come when we shall wish we had known them better.
- Speak the Truth – “Sincerity is the way of heaven, and to think how to be sincere is the way of a man.” – Confucius
- It’s More Blessed to Give than to Receive – Generosity, charity and kindness will open an individual to an unbounded reservoir of riches.
- Heaven is Within – “Even as the scent dwells within the flower, so God within thine own heart forever abides.” – Sikhism
- Love Thy Neighbor / Conquer With Love / All You Need is Love – Acts of faith, prayer and deep meditation provide us with the strength that allows love for our fellow man to become an abiding part of our lives. Love is a unifying force.
- Blessed Are the Peacemakers – When people live in the awareness that there is a close kinship between all individuals and nations, peace is the natural result.
- You Reap What You Sow – This is the great mystery of human life. Aware or unaware, all are ruled by this inevitable law of nature.
- Man Does Not Live by Bread Alone – The blessings of life are deeper than what can be appreciated by the senses.
- Do No Harm – If someone tries to hurt another, it means that she is perceiving that person as something separate and foreign from herself.
- Forgiveness – The most beautiful thing a man can do is to forgive wrong. – Judaism
- Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged – This principle is an expression of the underlying truth that mankind is one great family, and that we all spring from a common source.
- Be Slow to Anger – Anger clouds the mind in the very moments that clarity and objectivity are needed most. “He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver; others only hold the reins.” – Buddha
- There is But One God / God is Love – Nature, Being, The Absolute. Whatever name man chooses, there is but one God. All people and all things are of one essence.
- Follow the Spirit of the Scriptures, Not the Words – “Study the words, no doubt, but look behind them to the thought they indicate; And having found it, throw the words away, as chaff when you have sifted out the grain.” – Hinduism
All credit to Jeffrey Moses. For a full list, please visit http://www.onenessonline.com/
With love and pyramid studs – Sundaze
(ps – I would love to hear from you what you feel on this subject)