Do you believe in God, or some other source or power behind the mystery of life and the creation of all that is? I do.
I don’t know why I do. I just do.
Some say there’s a “God gene” in the human genome that predisposes us to this belief that there is more than we know, and that it is attributable to some higher power. If so, some have it, and some don’t.
It is a belief taken for the most part upon faith, though many point to signs, synchronicity and inspiration as evidence to reinforce those beliefs. Nevertheless, for most of us our beliefs stem from something we’ve heard or learned or had forced upon us that we have adopted into our own life paradigm.
Atheists and agnostics have a different view. To each his own, I say. This article is not about them.
Rather, it’s about the rest of us, and how much we attach to those beliefs. So much so in fact that we’re willing to fight over them, and to force others to believe what we believe.
After all, this conflict of beliefs and their imposition on others is behind so much of the turmoil in our world today — a conflict used to motivate and justify the horrendous things we do to each other.
Our conflicts of belief are used to motivate and justify the horrendous things we do to each other.
Radical Islamic terrorism is based upon a spiritual teaching passed along by the Archangel Gabriel to the prophet Mohammed that their religion and social system — Sharia — must be imposed upon others, even by force. Infidels (non-believers) are to be converted, or die.
It’s not so different than the methods used by some sects of Christianity in our past. Think back to the days of the Spanish Inquisition. Or the way Catholicism and the Church were used in concert with an authoritarian Spanish crown to conquer and colonize the “heathens” in the New World.
This isn’t to knock the Spanish. Religions have been forced on defeated peoples throughout history.
Rather, my point is something within makes us susceptible to believing in that which no one can “know” for sure. And worse, it makes us willing to do bad things in their name.
Something within makes us susceptible to believing in that which no one can “know” for sure, and doing bad things in their name.
This tendency certainly isn’t limited to religion. We see it in politics. And business. And in our day-to-day relations with others, especially those we love. For so much of our interaction is about expressing our desires and finding ways to make them come true, regardless of who or what stands in our way.
It doesn’t seem like non-believers have it any better. For they have the “will and desire” tendency as well, and many have traded in their belief in God for a belief in government, especially one that they control and impose upon others. This godlessness is at the heart of Communism, which creates a compliant citizenry ruled over by a select elite determined not by wealth or position or will of the people, but by virtue of their participation in the “party.”
We have met the enemy, and they are us
The problem, then, is not just with our belief in God — or not — it is with our willingness to make others submit to our views, our cultures, and our beliefs. And when they don’t, to find ways to impose them.
When religious teachings reinforce those tendencies, conflict ensues. And that’s what’s going on now.
If we want peace in our world, somehow we have to move beyond the limitations of our beliefs before they destroy others or us. But to do that means we each have to take responsibility for our own beliefs, and especially the thoughts, emotions and actions that come with them.
“If we want peace in our world, we must move beyond the limitations of our beliefs.”
Does that mean opening our doors and forcing society to integrate, such as importing large numbers of refugees whose religions and cultures are not easily assimilated into the West? Probably not, for we see now how tumultuous it can be when some can’t or won’t adapt and then strike out against the lands that took them in.
Those who enacted such policies mean well. But managing the tensions created by these artificially-induced cultural mergers is a harrowing process that is beyond the ability of any leader, party or government. Those that try will surely fall along the way, hoisted on their own pitards of arrogance that they know best.
Rather, people must be allowed to interact naturally and not to advance the political agendas of one group or another. They will still have conflicts, but will be able to deal with them without the added pressure of trying to conform to the “do-gooder oppression” that can result from political and social engineering.
It comes down to a choice
As they do, they will be faced with the choice that all sentient beings much make at one point or another. That choice is whether they will fight to keep and impose their beliefs upon others, or whether they will loosen the hold of those beliefs in order to choose peace.
Choosing peace doesn’t mean rolling over and playing dead, or succumbing to those who would make them adopt another religion.
But it does mean looking at what they believe and questioning whether those beliefs really are serving to create the kind of life and world they want to live in.
Beliefs will be a part of that world. Probably religious beliefs as well, for our God gene will remain.
Consciousness enables us to choose for ourselves what beliefs we will live by.
But consciousness is not yet in a place where we can adopt such beliefs without carrying forward the conflicts of our past. To develop it, what must change is us.
Somehow, someway, we’ve got to get over ourselves and our willingness to do harm to others. And in their stead cultivate a desire to embrace each others’ differences and acknowledge each others’ rights to do and believe what they will.
Peace is the goal. Peace is the only way to get there. It starts with you, and with what you believe.
How will you choose?
God bless you indeed. I am John.