The Spirituality of us All
Asia was the birthplace of most of the world’s mainstream religions including Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Lingayatism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastranism, Sanamahism as well as many other beliefs. There’s no denying that without this region and its pioneering spiritual leaders over many thousands of years we would be adrift in a world without values. With rules to live by they have touched nearly every person living now and those whose names are lost in time. I think in the ‘West’ we forget our own Christianity started in the Middle East, with its history rich in trade, in spreading people, their beliefs and goods across the world. We are a better world for these religions on the whole and they should never be mixed up with extremists that take a book and implement every word literally and are prepared to commit acts so contrary to the very belief they believe they are following.
As a Christian I am appalled at the acts committed in the name of my belief, both past and present, the wars that were fought, the Crusades killing tens of thousands, the burning of so called ‘heretic’ Catholics in Elizabethan times, the cruelty that was inflicted was simply inhuman and barbaric. The things man done in the name of Christianity must have shamed God himself.
Unfortunately Christianity is not alone in its viciousness when evil people use beliefs as a mask to hide behind and to justify all they do without a single shred of spirituality within them. The young girl shot in the head because she wanted to go to school, against the beliefs of extremists. The girl that was raped in India, New York’s 9/11, and again the list goes on, all of these done in the name of their God and their ‘book’.
But when you take these ‘books’ and the wisdom they contain, you have to put them into the context of the times when they were written. All these religious beliefs have wonderful writings, guides to living our lives, instructions in spirituality in many instances, but they were written when slavery was the norm, stoning was acceptable for minor offences, in an age where less than 0.0001% or less of populations could read, and most of the stories were passed down for many hundreds of years before they were finally put on parchment. These guides to our lives must be put into the context of our modern day lives where learning regardless of gender is completely accepted, where justice is delivered by usually wise independent judges of the law and not religious people, where the right to self-determination regardless of gender is accepted by the majority of the world’s population. All religious and spiritual beliefs have to be put into the context of science, of historical studies, of archaeology, geology and not forgetting modern media.
We are in a world where attendance in places of worship is shrinking generation by generation but that does not mean I am, for example, a non-believer. I hold Christian values very seriously and believe in the words of Thomas, who to paraphrase said that God is under every rock, in every river, every blade of grass, in every cell of our bodies, the house of God is within each and every one of us, and hell is the absence of God. Powerful words that I take seriously, but I chose to believe that God influenced the creation of the Universe, but it occurred over billions of years, a time frame incomprehensible to those who wrote the world was created in 6 days. I choose to work on the Sabbath if I wish to and wear the clothes I wish to wear, knowing God does not want me stoned for doing so.
Perhaps what is in my mind is that can we not find a way to respect and believe in each other, respect and honour the beliefs of others, promote and grow the spirituality I believe lies within every man, woman and child. Can we not accept that every person has the right to health, the right to education, and the right to love? Was Maslow and his hierarchy so very wrong, can we not find a way to allow religious belief and self-determination to walk hand in hand regardless of gender, regardless of where one lives. I find it near intolerable to believe that in this 21st Century of the Christian calendar promoting the right to healthcare and to education can cost you your life depending on where you are. Why was it necessary to shoot a child because she promoted education? Why was it necessary to shoot and continue to kill Health Workers giving children vaccinations and trying to raise the standard of healthcare in some of the poorest countries?
No matter what the religion, they all have the common themes that can be boiled down to
- Love one another;
- Respect one another;
- Do right not wrong;
- Help one another without the thought of reward for oneself;
- Violence is wrong;
- And last, the strongest message of all, “have faith and live by these rules”;
There is so much suffering in this Country alone. Can we not find fixes to reduce the suffering of young and old alike, are we not one of the richest countries in the world, are we not able to protect, house and care properly for those in our society that need our help, is this not what God would want from us regardless of religion. Then once we have done this can we not turn our attention to other countries and assist them without the fear of violence being unleashed, but also without the threat to the beliefs of such countries. If all we wish to do is help make things better, can this not be accepted for the innocent intents behind such wishes?
I believe this Country has much to show others. We have over the years and centuries become a melting pot of ideas, beliefs, nationalities and religions, nearly all of whom have been accepted without reservation, Mosques, Synagogues, Churches and Chapels of many religions, Temples, Dao guans, Jinjas, Gurdwaras, and even the rare Norseman Hof, all tolerated on one condition:
Can we not now put our differences aside and accept the extremists who use religion to justify their evil acts are not the norm but the exception and most religions, and the writings associated with them, are truly beautiful and pure, even those who worship the seasons and the sun; how more beautiful can a belief system be that honours Mother Nature. We can blend together into one society yet keep and respect the individual beliefs as long as we do no harm. This is the litmus test for all beliefs, for all spirituality, it is all about doing no harm to any other person. As we move into 2013, the Mayan calendar predicting a new era for humanity, so let this be an era of peace, let each and every one of us remember this fundamental foundation on which all religions are forged, and let us always try to do good and not harm, whether religious or not, and may your God bless you and keep you safe.
Smiling Cat Ventures and Innovations Group
Smiling Cat Ventures Ltd (www.smilingcatventures.org)
Innovative Minds At Work Ltd (www.innovativemindsatwork.org)
Moments in Time Ltd (www.momentsinmind.org)
Innovative Business Consultancy Ltd (www.ibcv.org.uk)
Systems of Equality Ltd
Passport to Care Ltd (Social Enterprise – Not For Profit)
Spiritual Inclusion (Social Enterprise – Not For Profit)
Disability In Business Centre (in development)
Additional Information can be found at: