I have conversations with friends who are not religious or particularly spiritual (although I believe we all have a religion—it's how we live our lives—but that's another story). It's valuable to get out of my comfort zone and have my beliefs tested by those with completely different viewpoints. Getting out of my comfort zone helps me become more apparent in what I believe, and in how to articulate those beliefs effectively.
Recently, I spoke with a lifelong friend I've known since junior high school whose intelligence and insights I respect. He has a healthy skepticism of religion. According to him, people have used religion to justify attacking and marginalizing entire groups of people. It has fueled polarization and divisiveness in politics and has contributed to the idea there is something inherently wrong with people from birth. As a result, they have internalized such beliefs and abused themselves due to an imagined sense of unworthiness. He pointed to studies where kids committed suicide rather than come out to their religious community as gay.
Of course, there is no God like that. A religion based on that kind of God is a projection from humanity’s misguided notion of itself. Such a God does not exist. God is love. And we are here to express the qualities of love in our lives.
However, the conversation did bring to my awareness how much power and influence religion has. It can affect all of us every day regardless of our own beliefs. It leaks into politics, health policy, and violence around the world. It seeps into education, political decisions, and passed laws.
It reminded me of the value of the Ancient Wisdom Teachings of which Spiritual Life Center is a part. We're not here to convert others to believe as we believe. Instead, we are here to be models of possibilities of what it means to travel positive paths of spiritual living, affirm that we are wondrously made, and are born original blessings of a Divine loving presence.
As I thought more about my friend's perspective on some religions, I realized it's not about religions changing, but everyone transforming their consciousness. It changes as we transform our lives and weave them into the fabric of the world. We must change if we want to see our world show up differently.
As we grow, expand, and activate our true nature and being, we become the forerunners in the very society in which we live.
This is what the world is calling us to be.
Peace and Blessings,