Saturday, November 14, 2009

My faith journey

The comments on my last blog (thanks, faithful followers!) lead me to say that I am on a faith journey, but I cannot see around the corner, so to speak, to any particular destination. I have surrendered the results to a higher power than myself. I do not seek a particular outcome other than spiritual growth. It's nice to set goals for your life, but this is a path that I am walking, one step at a time. I believe in this case, the journey is more important than the outcome.

I think that the practice of Christianity is so distorted from what Jesus intended. As one of my Buddhist podcasts stated recently, Christianity in practice today is all about what you believe and have faith in; whereas Buddhism is about actions, how you live your life, no mandatory belief system attached. Ouch! The truth hurts.

I think Jesus intended his followers to be like Buddhists, to live and act out of compassion for others. He was not heavy on dogma. I've mentioned before that he had two laws that encompassed everything, and they were all about love. Love, and love, and everything else takes care of itself.

Humans are capable of distorting anything, and some people seem to have an overriding need to distort everything. (This is a way of defining evil, I think.) So even if there were no religion -- Imagine, John Lennon said -- there would be plenty of other ways for human beings to rationalize hurting and destroying one another. For one thing, there's politics and political systems that distribute resources so unevenly that conflict is guaranteed. People who are wealthy hoard their wealth; this would happen with or without religion.

So I don't think that denying the great truths that are in religions will take away the pain and suffering people cause one another. When pain and suffering result from anyone who says they are practicing one of the major religions, it is a complete perversion of that religion, whether it is Muslim or Christian or something else.

So religion should not be blamed for people acting in hateful ways. The hatred does not come from the religious practice in itself. It comes from someplace else. Where?? Possibly the fragile ego's need to defend itself. That is why all the major religions, I believe, call on us to ditch putting ourselves and our needs above all others. Sort of like a 12-step program -- we all have to end our addiction to ourselves, which we are born with.

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