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Archive for February 22nd, 2015

Religious-textI am embarking on sequences of new posts which examine a number of ideas from books I have recently read. These ideas relate to where our society is heading and what we as individuals might be able to do about that. I will be posting links to related topics as and when I find them as this sequence of posts unfolds. Below is an extract from an article by Greg Hodges on the problems organised religion can pose: it’s the first of two. For the full first post see this link: the second post is at this link.

But do not therefore attribute to the Masters and Prophets the evil deeds of their followers. If the priests, teachers and people, lead lives which are contrary to the religion they profess to follow, is that the fault of Christ or the other Teachers?

Abdu’l-BahaParis Talks, p. 41.

Countless people today feel the importance of spirituality in their lives, but remain uncommitted to any specific faith tradition.

For a great many of them, the reason is the same: they do not believe in organized religion. They don’t necessarily reject the teachings of historical figures like Jesus, the Buddha, or Muhammad–quite the contrary. Instead, they understand that once the spiritual paths those great teachers represent become institutionalized, they start to lose their power to enlighten souls and instead become tools for violence, exploitation, and fame.

It takes a willful ignorance of history to deny that. In fact, much of what humanity remembers about its collective past centers around large-scale, religiously-legitimized violence. This passage from the Baha’i teachings describes the pattern and the problem in a brief but powerful analysis:

…the foundation of all religion is brotherhood, comradeship and friendship to all. But alas, a thousand times alas! Religion, which should serve to promote oneness and love among men, has become an instrument of animosity and hatred. Religion, which was established to build up and gladden hearts, has become a means of darkening the world. All the prophets appeared that oneness of men might be taught. How much suffering these prophets had to endure to unfold this illumination among men. His Holiness Jesus Christ offered His life. He endured the greatest humiliation; His head was crowned with a crown of thorns. He endured all things so that the world might again unite and that He might cement the hearts of men through His love. But today the first duties of religion are neglected. The first duty and the basis of each religion is the love of God. Love has vanished and hate and animosity have taken its place. Instead of these simple principles we now have dogmas and imitations, and because the dogmas and imitations differ we have constantly strife and war. Fanaticism is the only aim. These fanatics are actually thirsty for their brother’s blood, they condemned one another and considered each other unclean.

Abdu’l-BahaStar of the West, Volume 3, p. 156.

So what should we do about organized religion?

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I have embarked on sequences of new posts which examine a number of ideas from books I have recently read. These ideas relate to where our society is heading and what we as individuals might be able to do about that. I decided that I also needed to republish other posts from the past that related in some way to that basic theme. This includes poems such as the one below.
The Quarry v3

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