The role of religion.
Someone recently posed the question to me, “If everyone believed the same thing, would there be world peace?” An incredibly idealistic position at most, as the rendering of an entire race with the belief of the same thing is near impossible. What I finally replied was that everyone didn’t have to believe the same thing; rather, everyone should try to believe whatever they believe, out of place of love.
Many people blame religion for divisions in society and the world, and with good reason too. Islamaphobia is rife and tolerance for other religions wanes as the major wars of the 21st century are religious in cause. Religion has been questioned since the rise of Science as a belief system; and Atheism could be argued as the fastest growing religion world wide. Indeed, although the Oxford English Dictionary stipulates first that Religion is ‘The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods’, the second entry states religion, and thereby atheism, is ‘A particular system of faith and worship.’
Would there be world peace if everyone was an Atheist? Probably not. Even if we are harmonious in our opinions on whether or not there is a God, you can bet we’d find differences in our belief’s about race, gender and Justice.
Would we be better off with religion?
Rewind the last few centuries, to a time when the public devoutly believed in God. Someone could die and their sister or mother would know with an iron surety that they would one day join them in heaven; their beloved was not forever lost to them. We needed god. We needed a place to go. Just being here was not enough.
Then science came. It showed us how resourceful man could be, how intelligent, how potent. By discovering everything about the world and answering things it proved to us our own worth. Religion gradually was replaced. Religion- the bringer of comfort to those in need- suddenly, no one in need anymore. Science and technology discovered for us our ego.
We became a lofty race. We did not need the gods, for we became our own gods. We worshipped, and still worship, ourselves. Kings were once accused of heresy if denouncing God, and they ruled second only to God; now our celebrities are revered far greater than a god, if we were to believe one even existed. Henry VIII, who famously challenged God, suffered from incredible narcissism and held himself in the highest esteem. A man only of such ego could challenge god. Is this who we have become? Mini Henry VIIIs? Who demand the world and give themselves back?
God once could forgive a person unquestionably if he repented. Nowadays we seek forgiveness from each other. A great thing if we could learn to shelve our pride and petty grievances in order to forgive and forget.
Religion has indeed sparked many wars throughout history, and terrible things were done in the name of religion. However, without religion to believe in, won’t people choose a different belief system to fight for? If some of us have lost religion then as a belief, we each still believe in something, whether it is Justice, Freedom, or Equal Rights.
These are all positive belief systems, but each have extremists that tend to cross wires with others, just like religious extremists, resulting in pain and suffering. Dangerous religious beliefs have produced terrorist bombers, dangerous justice beliefs have produced murderers who took the law into their own hands and dangerous race beliefs have produced Hitler and groups such as the KKK.
Perhaps there should be a set belief then. Perhaps we should blame certain religions, certain races and certain countries for injustice in the world. Or perhaps we should recognise that belief in anything requires a freedom to choose it.
I think belief in something is healthy. I think belief in something from a place of love is necessary.
Beliefs don’t get people killed, but the attitude with which people believe can. The place in the soul in which a belief is nurtured can render it harmonious or disastrous.
I believe that by spreading love and compassion, beliefs can be changed for the better and strengthened. I believe that by loving unconditionally we change people’s mind-sets and perceptions of the world. I believe that by nurturing the world, from a place of love within the body, our beliefs will synchronise to make the world a peaceful place; whatever they are, together.
And so forcing the entire world to believe the same thing would not bring about world peace. Within that belief system people would get fearful of the belief not being carried out correctly and fractures would appear. What will bring about world peace however, is a spa day for the soul at an individual level. And then, no matter what the belief, action can be taken from a place of love and respect, and the good inherent in any belief, will shine through.