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November 18, 2016

One of the most difficult areas to get past in human relations is the idea that “my” religion or ideal is Truth and yours isn’t. When someone says to you that your beliefs are all wet compared to his or hers, how does that make you feel? Historically, it has made people feel so bad that they have killed each other. This is not good.If only there was a way where we could sincerely say to those who are not of our faith, “You’re okay, even if you do not believe our way.” Unless we find a way to honestly and openly do that, unless we as a nation find a way to say to other countries that they are okay just as they are developing, (as if we didn’t have our problems as a young nation), then we will be in constant conflict.If, for a moment, we can leave aside threatening and incendiary remarks, such as, “If you don’t become enlightened, you will be reborn into suffering forever,” “Unless you accept Jesus as your savior, you will go to hell,” and “Allah is the only God, accept him or else,” along with all the other claims of various religions (and the numerous branches of the various religions that separate us further, i.e., Catholic and Baptist in the Christian faith), what is there left to talk about?If we have nothing left to talk about, then of course religion can justifiably be termed a vehicle of separation; something that has caused violence in the past and continues to be a destructive force in the present.

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Some might say that their beliefs and principles are more important than any conflict, and that they are ready and willing to die for them. Okay, passion is an important factor, and if their religion or ideal sanctifies conversion by force, then one would be justified in their mind. I posit, however, that in the deep tentacles of all religions lies a universal love for all mankind, regardless of beliefs, and that conversion by force comes from man’s ego.In reality, we usually tolerate beliefs other than our own and generally smile and make nice to people of other faiths. But down deep, if we think that they are misguided and that we should save them, or resent the fact that they can’t see the light and consider them inferior to ourselves, then we are two-faced.Perhaps better than becoming two-faced is having it out with them; arguing about our religions until we are blue in the face, totally exhausted, and ready to strangle each other. At least we would be honest.In my articles, I try to promote principles that apply to all religions regardless of beliefs. I do this in order to advance past narrow opinions and toward more universal love and respect for each other. I’m not always successful.I try to see the end product of what a particular religion produces regarding the type of people that result. Are they only nice in a playacting way, closet bigots, or are they genuinely interested in others well being, regardless of the others beliefs?I can’t say that one way or the other is right or Truth, but I can say, as I look back at history, that one way promotes peace and the other conflict. Again, if conflict is your cup of tea, then I can’t say that you are wrong, but I can say that conflict will create suffering for yourself and others. Also, I can safely, I believe, say that peace promotes ease and joy for yourself and others. Just look at a family in conflict compared to a family in peace. To playact peace is to pretend to be peaceful around your peers but scream at your kids or husband in Wal-Mart! This is also being two-faced.What it all boils down to is whether or not strong beliefs are worth conflict. If you say yes, then your life will be in conflict. You can’t have conflict with those outside of your immediate group without eventually having conflict within your group. It’s never an outside influence that brings up conflict, conflict is already planted in your mind just looking for a target, and when the outside targets aren’t there, the sharks eat themselves.The question is; do you want to change your mind from one of conflict to one of peace? Don’t answer too quickly; many people prefer conflict. Conflict, win or lose, boosts the ego and makes one feel that they are alive. Peace, on the other hand does not increase ego or support the notion of a person separate from everyone else.

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In my articles, I mention ego or self all the time, because ego, not religion or ideals per se, is the central reason for our internal and external conflicts. The idea of “me.”So how can you change your state of mind of conflict? Can you keep your strong beliefs and resolve the conflict in yourself? That would be the best of both worlds.I believe that we can do that, it’s just a matter of calming down an ego that we have created and now must constantly shore up. This creates the fundamental conflict within ourselves, and has nothing to do with religion or religious beliefs, but everything to do with how we get along with ourselves, our group, and fellow human beings.If ever there would be a universal religion, it would work toward resolving this problem of conflict within ourselves. Regardless of what we believe or what books we follow, until we understand ourselves and how we interact with that little person inside our heads, all of our actions and ideas will be skewed.But once we know ourselves and how we operate, we can then believe as we choose, while at the same time understanding and accepting the rest of humanity regardless of their beliefs, because we will know that we are all fundamentally the same.

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