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A Spiritual Dilemma of Epic Proportion: Reconstructing a New Relationship with the Divine
Given the current state of the world it is clear we face a spiritual problem of epic proportion. If we are going to heal the ills of the world and create equality between peoples we must start to observe our belief structures and question whether or not they are serving society as a whole. If peace and equality is our goal it would bode well to question and make aware any belief structure that blocks us from fulfilling compassion and tolerance between all beings. This is a spiritual dilemma becuase it is a call to our conscience.
Belief shapes how we experience life.
Our belief structures have become so static and exclusive that we have created a world of equal stagnation and separation. We have become intolerant of our differing philosophical and religious views. In our collective stubbornness we remain unaware of how our belief structures underlay the brutality we see within our civilization. All of this becuase we claim that “our way is the right way.”
We are rushing around trying to fix the symptoms, rather than the cause, of our worldwide problems. We are addressing everything but our most basic beliefs. The problems we see within our political and economic systems ultimately arise becuase we do not live by a spiritual ethic that unites all people and sentient beings. It seems to me that it would serve us to understand and refine our individual and collective relationship with God if we are going to transcend our destructive ways.
It was hoped that organized religion would bring people closer to each other, producing a sense of community and integration. But our collective society has experienced exactly the opposite. In some cases organized religion preaches against community integration, claiming that God never intended people of varying races, cultures, and nationalities to intermix, much less marry and procreate. It was hoped that religion would bring our world a greater sense of joy and freedom, but in too many cases it has only restricted the human spirit by presenting long lists of how one should live.
Each respective religion, or most of them, teach that their scripture is infallible. Each religion is incapable of being wrong. Thus the infallibility of differing religious doctrine is what breeds intolerance. This intolerance, which sustains fear and hate, has condoned war, brutality, and the exploitation of fellow humans for thousands of years. Remember of the crusades (1095 – 1291) where an estimated 1 – 5 million people were brutally murdered in the name of Christ? Or how about the Holocaust where 6 million Jews were tortured and killed due to a perverse intolerance. Or the modern hell on Earth that we see today in Palestine and Israel. All of this death and stoic barbarism over the word of God?! No longer can our differences condone any sort of murder.
Creating a New Perspective Requires Understanding Old Ones
We compound our spiritual crisis when we bestow supreme authority of the interpretation of our scriptures to individuals. We elect religious professionals to interpret the “word of god” and in doing so we unconsciously declare that we are not as close to god as a few righteous others. Albeit we are looking for guidance and inspiration, but I suggest that when we are taught to adopt the interpretations from the “more holy among us” we lose a critical sense of intellectual and spiritual autonomy. We become “less than” and further away from God than others. Herein lies one of the central pillars of the power that organized religion has over people.