Religion Basics

Religion–The Good–

Religion is credited with stabilizing the world, supporting the order of things, and creating a coherent understanding of the world and the human place within it.

Religion–The Bad–

Too much blood and treasure have been lost from what is often called religious wars.

Religion–Thomas Jefferson–

“Say nothing of my religion,” Jefferson once said. “It is known to myself and my God alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life; if that has been honest and dutiful to society, the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.”

Jefferson Bible From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Jefferson Bible, or The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth as it is formally titled, was an attempt by Thomas Jefferson to glean the teachings of Jesus from the Christian Gospels. Jefferson wished to extract the doctrine of Jesus by removing sections of the New Testament containing supernatural aspects as well as perceived misinterpretations he believed had been added by the Four Evangelists.

Religion–The Spirit–

Spirituality is singular and has  human kinship accompanied by strong ethics associated with it that does not push themselves onto others.  Being religious and being spiritual are not the same thing. To truly believe, one has to walk the path  and not just  talk the path.

Religion–Yogananda– 

The individual that is more aware of their guru’s enduring presence and walks with their guru without forcing themselves on others is nearer to the God-Consciousness. Religion cannot do for us what we fail to do for ourselves.

Religion–Einstein

Einstein’s space-time continuum states that the apparent linearity of events depends on the observer.  And since all experience is interconnected, and if we become aware of this interconnectedness and allow that interconnectedness into our cognitive processes, we can be aware of all events independent of all time.

I am not sure what that means but I like it.  It makes me think of life’s time line less as a straight line and more as a circle.  Life on that circle might begin at any point on that circle meaning that life could begin earlier or later than the prior one.  Metaphysically speaking, what we do now could affect our past as well as our future.

The meaning of being Christian perhaps differs from place to place

There are Christian adherents all over the world but the meaning of being Christian perhaps differs from place to place.  For some it is all about the Crucifixion and for others the emphasis is the Resurrection and it seems like it is what one believes that is most important.  Christians believe questions like “what do we profess”, “what do we think”, “what are our convictions”, are most important.  But for some religions what is most important is what they do.  They don’t ask “what do I believe”.  Instead they ask “what is it that we are doing” and “what are our practices”.

Being Spiritual

I think there is a difference in being religious and being spiritual.  Spirituality is about leading our life, playing our role in life with love and compassion, caring, giving, serving others, helping others, and doing this with sincerity, honesty, tolerance, and patience.

  • It is about monitoring our thoughts and actions to make sure we are coming from truth and deep wisdom of good and love.
  • It is about sharing and forgiving, observing without judgment.
  • It is about self study, introspection, truly looking into our tendencies, patterns, habits and making changes as needed to eliminate negatives, resentment, hatred, hostility, jealousy, revenge.

Spirituality is about loving God, our neighbor, and ourselves with all our heart.  We have proven that mankind can fight religious wars, sphere of influence wars, imperialism wars, pillage wars, oil wars, but we have never fought spiritual wars.

Let’s Find Common Ground Among Religions

All religions have dogma, thousands of words and stories but together they all come down to this:  We shall love the Lord our God, with all our mind, our body, our soul, and our neighbor as ourselves (this quote is from Luke 10:27 but it is found at the core of all religions).  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all claim that there is but a single ultimate power that has created all of reality.

Our souls would live in greater peace and harmony if there were fewer definitions of religion.  Let’s remember that religions are created and modernized from interpretations of spiritual truths and truth suffers constriction whenever interpreted, narrowly or liberally.  The Bible, Koran, Bhagavad-Gita, etc. should not be read and studied as history books or as books of axioms or dogmas.  If we understand the spirit of these books and use this understanding to live our lives accordingly, they will put us on the Path.

We individually must seek spiritual truth from within so as to not be limited from man-made interpretations.  We need to release ourselves from dogma or literal interpretations.  And, we should keep in mind that our leaders including our religious leaders cannot preach too far afield from their congregations’ openness.  Fundamentalists carve their niche when hope is in short supply.

If any of us were to fall into one of life’s crevasses and found ourselves hanging on to a branch knowing that the branch’s roots were coming out of the ground, we would be happy to see a rope thrown for our rescue.  If the rope were only long enough to get us to a ledge where we could rest and be out of immediate danger that would seem perfect.   And yet when we do not recognize immediate danger we tend to discriminate on who might be holding the other end of the rope or not even see the rope.  Whether it is Jesus or Mohammad holding the rope for someone we should be cheering and together fetch a longer rope to pull the fallen person fully out of the crevice.