Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Have We Failed Religion, or Has Religion Failed Us?

So, how long have we had religion, anyway?

How many thousands of years?

While many of us can make a case for how religion has touched many personal lives, what has it done to improve society as a whole? Aren't we still dealing with the same problems we've always had (at least for the last 6,000 years)? Greed? Still there. Envy? Still there. Hatred? Still there. Inequity? Still there. Violence? Still there. War? Still there.

It's apparent to me that religion has not only not led us away from these behaviors, but has actually influenced us into them ... and has even encouraged and justified such behaviors, by living-color, larger than life examples.

We do not experience unity, as a result of religion, but separation. We don't feel secured by love, but driven by fear.

But the true message of God is not shame, exclusivity, intolerance, separation and fear. The real message of God is joy, unity, freedom, acceptance ... and UNconditional love.

For those who think that love is weak ... they haven't yet experienced that love. It IS overwhelming...!

When you observe people who adhere to religion - are they people at peace? Do they manifest joy, kindness, gentleness, self-control, love? Or are they angry, intolerant, judgmental, rigid, and even abusive and fighting (or supportive of fighting)? What language do they use? Is it inclusive, or exclusive?

Why is it that religion has failed to bring about any significant change on planet earth? It's not for lack of effort! Is it perhaps due to a lack of understanding? And perhaps for a lack of growth/change?

I find it fascinating that there has not been a significantly new idea in religion in hundreds, and even thousands, of years (& really, if they got it right hundreds/thousands of years ago, where's the evidence of transformation?).

In fact, those who bring up new ideas are the recipients of labels: heretic, anathema, blasphemer, deceiver, anti-christ, infidel, new-ager. Once upon a time, and not that long ago (& still ongoing in some places), such new-thinkers were killed.

Our religious institutions, and the leaders therein, simply cannot seem to acknowledge that there may be some aspect of life that they do not know ... and are unaware that the knowing of that something could change everything.

Have you noticed that the religions that insist that they possess all the answers, actually don't provide any?

Have you noticed how so many religions seem to be crumbling from within, even as so many are joining a mass exodus?

I see that we each have a choice ... we can cling to what we think we know, to the black and white words, and the literal interpretations/applications ... (and receive more of what we've always gotten) ... OR, we can dare to explore a new spirituality ... one that doesn't trash everything about the old, but which seeks to explore what's true in the religion, and also what's true outside of the religion.

If you go for the latter, are you now willing to be a force, a reSource, in your own unique way, wherever you are planted or beckoned, to be an agent of change? Can you let everything you do, say and even think, be an act of self-definition? Can you show the world who you are? Even if they reject what they hear you defining?

I'm pretty convinced that we can't change the world by changing the world. :)

I'm seeing that it begins at Home. With the self. Change the inner world, and the outer world is affected. As we go through our lives, changed from the inside, everything we touch is transformed. Think of ripples on a pond ... we never know how one gesture, one smile, one word, even to a complete stranger, can set off a flow of beautiful transformation ...

If not now, when?

If not you, who?

Maybe we could start with "humility theology" ... it would be a theology that would own up to not having all the answers ... it would be a theology willing to continue asking questions, and to even question the answers ...

Shalom, Dena


MysticBrit said...

Maybe we need to redefine 'religion'. Or maybe we need to stop 'defining' anything, but just let everything be what it is, without fear. And then work on whatever needs working on, with all our focussed energy.

And maybe it's human language that fails us, because we try to use it to 'cage' in thought and concepts what is in its very nature Free. We use it for that for which it was never designed.

Just maybe, ya know:)

Anonymous said...

This is THE BEST blog I've read it quite a while.
You nailed it!

"I'm pretty convinced that we can't change the world by changing the world...
"If not now, when?
"If not you, who?"

Beautiful Dena.
Insightful, challenging, inspiring.
A friend shared a line from the Bible with me once and I think you deserve it passed on:

"Your zeal provokes the majority".

That's you.
Keep at it!
Be Who You Are.
Introduce the "rest of us" to the Truth within ourselves by simply being yourself.
I love you, dear friend!
Thank you for this.

MysticBrit said...

Also, what Tim said:)

You rock!

Dena said...

Tim, Harry ... you honor me (BTW, you two really oughta become friends!).

I don't know who/how else to be...?

Pretty amazing, & even overwhelming, this Oneness thingy? Discovering our connections ... exploring the reality beyond the surface ... and letting that make the physical/illusional reality become all the MORE infused with meaning ... meaning that defies convention, theology, rules, and boundaries.

Einstein said, "the physical realm is an illusion - a very persistent illusion."

I want to honor the physical realm, & fully revel in it, for we're IN it ... matter matters. It's all teeming with life ... even rocks are Spirit-permeated. Even the rocks cry out!


Chris Ledgerwood said...

Great post!

chris said...

Great Post!

MysticBrit said...

How can Truth ever stop flowing, Dena? You just godda Be What You Are!

I think Einstein is one of the greatest prophets this 'persistent illusion' has ever brought us. But what he saw is within every one of us!

This 'Oneness thingy' jus' keeps gettin' better, growin' stronger. (Karen Carpenter knew a thing or two, too!;))