We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
I thought that this quote by a guy named Jonathan Swift exemplified what type of stance Holy Idea Tees has on religion and how it plays a part in my life and in my business model.
I grew up under the assumption that all religions and denominations OTHER than Catholicism were the poor recipients of someone else’s skewed version about how we should conduct ourselves in this life in preparation for life after death. These “skewed versions” would have similarities to the Catholic faith yet each one would deviate from the rules and regulations that make you Catholic and suddenly you were now a Lutheran or a Baptist or maybe a Buddhist or ‘gasp’ a Muslim.
I was told to pray for these individuals caught in the web of religious confusion. I mean, clearly these people HAVE to know they were denying the rules, sanctions and regulations laid out for them by the Catholic Church! God’s church! Was I right?
No. I was wrong. Many of us are wrong I’m afraid.
I was never told early on by those who shaped my opinions to look sorrowfully with a furrowed brow over my protestant or anti-Christian brothers and sisters… but it was certainly implied. If you weren’t Catholic then there was a problem. There was a problem because you didn’t follow the rules and… well, you might just be going to Hell.
Unfortunately, religion has many rules.
I’m not saying rules are bad by any means, but the very idea of having rules makes some of us enlist ourselves as the “rule enforcers”. Then, when it comes to life in general, these rules can be interpreted a thousand different ways and then mutated into a thousand different concepts of how to maintain those rules. Try putting two people together of the same denomination or religion and see if their idea of living a holy life is the same. I guarantee it isn’t.
So we’re stuck on this Earth with BILLIONS of other individuals stuck in their own paradigm where they think that you ARE WRONG and THEY ARE RIGHT!
Since everyone is right and no one is wrong (or is it the other way around… I’m not sure), what is the one thing that we can all agree on? What is the one thing we can all share between ourselves, our religions and even with those with a distaste for religion altogether (I’m looking at you atheists and/or agnostics)?
The answer is love.
If Jesus lived today, he’d love the Catholics, the Lutherans, the Baptists the Buddhists and ‘gasp’ even the Muslims. Much in the same way he loved the prostitutes, tax-collectors, thieves and just all around unlikeable people 2000 years ago.
People back then were wrapped up in rules, regulations and subsequent finger-pointing much like we are today. You couldn’t pick seeds from a wheat stalk on a Sunday without being questioned on your belief system. If you touched something dead you might as well cut your arm off because you were screwed. If you were found to be a prostitute you were stoned or worse.
2000 years later there are religious wars being waged everywhere. Sometimes the wars involve entire countries and sometimes the wars involve entire families. Families like mine and families like yours.
How can we learn from the mistakes of the past and fix hatred, death and destruction because people simply do not believe the way other people believe?
We can show love to them.
We can love them for their uniqueness. We can love them for the spirit that dwells inside of them. We can love them for the plain and simple fact that they are not us. They did not grow up like you or I did (if you grew up in a Muslim household you would be Muslim, RIGHT?!). Their DNA strung together in such a way where they ARE NOT YOU! I’m happy about that because I don’t think the world could handle two of me.
If you want to know God (and every religion has a God), whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew or ‘Insert Religious Denomination here’ then learn to love first of all. Jesus said, “God is love” and if this is true then that means we should be closest to God when we are in the act of love because God IS love whether you like it or not.
If we don’t have enough religion to make us love each other, then maybe we just need a little less “religion” and a lot more love.
What are your thoughts?