The majority of all peoples of the world choose to have a spiritual base from which they make their decisions in life. Be it Jewish, Hindi, Christian, Protestant, Muslim, Methodist, Catholic, Buddhist, there is a plethora of "faith" bases to study and eventually, belong to. Even the lack of faith is a belief in itself.Life seems more empowering when you know there's something far better, finer, more wise and loving than anything human. And we tend to believe in a reward. Something that will make the trials and sorrows of life more valuable. My Mother used to say: "Offer it up." She meant, if anything hurt us, to offer our pain to a suffering soul. The belief in a God simply seems to round out and form a life based in humane and kind acts, forgiveness, mercy, care, love.
It's not the belief in God by any name that ever caused a problem, like war. It's religion. Organized religion proscribes that the many must conform to the beliefs of the few or risk damnation, as defined by their particular faith. And most disturbingly, you must believe that their "one" is the ONLY one.
No single creed has a monopoly on spiritual truths.
The word religion derived from the latin actually means "to bind in fear" or "bound with fright". The old latin base is religio which means "fear of God" and I realize this is part of the dogma in several organized states of worship. On closer examination I realized I was raised - not to fear God - but hell.
Now here we are, free to worship our God in the traditions and rituals of the faith we chose. When someone quotes Biblical scripture I am open and anxious to absorb their opinion. When someone quotes Koran teachings I am just as open to it, same as the Book of Mormon. I feel as open to all spiritual opinions and tenets as I hope others are to mine.When the beauty of faith is dusty with the film of personal prejudice, i.e. "believe or burn" then I know I'm in the presence of an organized, ingrained and very inaccurate representative of purity in faith. Even Satanism doesn't teach eternal suffering.
Recently I was in need of good wishes from any corner, and I came here to you, my Constant Reader, for balm. I don't know if I received Christian prayers, Jewish songs, incantations, chants, whispers in the wind, or the fierce powers of healing on the smoke - what's the difference?? I knew I'd be protected so I was. By using such good and loving wishes I was able to help myself out of despair. My old pain is a useless memory - my gratitude is eternal.
I am here to offer a thought: If you speak of your God with unforgiving blind self-righteousness that you have the only God that matters, if you pray with your personal self in mind, how praying will make YOU stronger in YOUR faith, more assured in YOUR beliefs, this is the ego that will guide your spirit. That is, YOU will be your own spirit. I can't respect that. I'll hear it, try to understand, but can't abide it. I believe my spirit is finer than me, and speaking to my God is not to further a stronger faith but to raise the intentions of my brothers and sisters to that God, for whom sincere selfless prayer is its own end. If however, you offer solace by prayer, meditation or ANY healing means you firmly believe, and do it with the recipient in mind, the person you're offering this for, if you SEE your brother's need reflected in your own need, without looking through him, I believe your life will need no further guide but intuition, for you are already on the gentle, loving and self-less path you seek - no matter its name.