Trying to find common ground in varied religious beliefsFriends of mine who see this title will think I have finally lost my mind — speaking of religion.
By: Bernie Hughes, Superior Telegram
Friends of mine who see this title will think I have finally lost my mind — speaking of religion. Now, they will know I’m completely off the beam although they have suspected something for years. Having tackled politics is explosive enough, they’ll think, but specific religions shouldn’t be touched with a 10-foot pole. Discussing religion is safe only within those many specific belief groups themselves where the setting, the subject and the members are homogeneous in thought and talk.
They will remind me of the old quote, “Fools walk in where angels fear to tread.” My theory is that, religion, in the broader sense, is safe enough to talk about, but of course the problem is, can it be kept in the broader sense? I’m going to try. We know that many different religions exist and that their specific beliefs are sacrosanct. My hope is that I’ve found something that they all agree on. Theoretically at least.
What has bothered me most about specific religious groups is their unquestionable specifics. Each of their individual paths is the only one when thinking of their kingdom come. All other religions are losers. Wars are fought, genocides occur regularly and almost spontaneously around the globe.
Could there be a uniting belief— a uniting principle? If proposed would that belief be accepted. I believe that is the Golden Rule, and I list the following to support my thesis:
Buddhism — Hurt not others with that which pains yourself. (Udana-varga 5.18)
Christianity — All things whatsoever ye would that man should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (St. Matt. 7:12)
Confucianism — Is there any one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout one’s whole life: Surely the maxim of loving-kindness is such. (Analects 15.23)
Hebraism — What is hurtful to yourself do not to your fellow man. That is the whole of Torah and the remainder is but commentary. Go learn it. (Talmud)
Hinduism — This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to thee, would cause thee pain. (Mahabharata 5.1517)
Islam — No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. (Traditions)
Jainism — In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should all regard all creatures as we regard our own self, and should therefore refrain from inflicting upon others such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves
Sikhism — As those deemest thyself, so deem others. Then shall thou become a partner in heaven. (Kabir)
Taoiam — Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain; and regard your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. (T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ten)
I believe these are uniting principles — at least in theory. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all become true believers and start by reducing our military budgets and resisting war hype?
Those of us lucky enough to have traveled out of our country have found that people all around the world are just like us. They’d like to live sedate lives. They don’t mind working hard, but they certainly don’t want to hurt other people.
Government, on the other hand, sense greed in other governments and they, as the good guys, want control. They tell their people what should be done to protect them and which leader that we helped install in another country has become a bad person and needs to be removed.
If this Golden Rule could be the number one principle of all religions, and if true believers believed and enacted accordingly, wouldn’t this be a wonderful world?
Humor in religion? I’ll try that too.
Americans are a religious people. You can tell that they believe in God by the way they drive their automobiles.
A Sunday golfer is a person who is more interested in a hole-in-one than the Holy One.
If absence does make the heart grow fonder, than a lot of folks sure do love the church.
We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the same sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D., is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at Bernie1@cpinternet.com.
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