I saw something recently in myself that made me understand why so many throughout the centuries have done terrible things all for the sake of defending their religion.
I was in the middle of a book study with my best friend where the conversation turned to the life of Jesus. My friend made mention during it, that he truly felt that God had sent Himself to Earth and birthed Himself through Mary as Jesus. And that the Christ we see in the Bible through all His living and teaching years was actually God. I, on the other hand, told him that I have felt for some time that Christ was an ascendant spirit who had learned to completely turn His will and life over to God. And through spiritual practices He learned during his teenage years that the Bible doesn’t cover, He became one with God and felt His presence all the time.
So, for what started out as a simple discussion and a difference of opinion, I found my words shifting to ones that were leading my friend and I to defend our beliefs. As I threw out philosophical questions like “If Jesus was actually God, why did He call out to God on the cross and ask why He had forsaken Him?” and “If Jesus truly was God hanging out on Earth, why did Jesus feel so sad in the Garden of Gethsemane?”, I began to witness a change within myself that didn’t feel very spiritual at all. Instead, I felt irritable and wasn’t connecting with my heart anymore. That’s when I immediately stopped my line of questioning and said to my friend that it was pointless to keep going down this path, because ultimately, wasn’t the more important thing that we both loved the beautiful teachings of Christ? He agreed, and immediately the conversation moved back into one where I felt my heart again and the love I have for not only my friend, but also for my Higher Power.
After we had long finished our book study that day, I pondered what had transpired between my best friend and I. Was this how all religious wars began? Did most of them start with a small group of people vehemently defending semantics on what actually took place in the Bible? I can’t say for sure, but I do know how I felt when I travelled down that defensive path during my book study and that part didn’t feel good at all.
So often, I see people of all religions doing the very same thing these days, defending their interpretations of the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, and plenty of other religious books too. But when they do so, it always seems to take them out of their hearts and into their heads, which is the exact opposite direction I believe God wants us all to be going in. Could this be the reason why so many religious wars began and why so many got hurt or killed throughout the centuries, all because people were defending their religious viewpoints?
Regardless of the answer, I have found one positive commonality amongst all the major religions in my studies of them and that’s to be unconditionally loving to each other. Yet somehow, we keep moving away from that in this world and instead, get ourselves involved in defending rules, semantics, practices, and interpretations of religious stuff that happened eons ago.
Thankfully, I was able to catch myself doing this during my book study with my best friend and stopped myself from go any further down that negative path. Thankfully, my love for him and my Higher Power was far more important than trying to prove some religious point that I honestly have no idea whether it was actually true or not. And thankfully, I felt a lot more peace afterward because of it. So, maybe if we all just stop trying to defend our religious and spiritual beliefs and instead start loving each other a lot more, our world might finally come together in a peace that transcends all understanding…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson