Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Religion of SELF

Another tragedy. Another why.

As I perused social media last night, I saw many different reactions to yet another terrorist attack in the UK.
There was heartbreak, anger, questions of why and there was blame.

Blame went in several directions. Blame is always many layered. It can never be laid at the feet of one person or idea.

I had already seen ugliness earlier in the day. It did not end up in murder, but it threatened to. A very intelligent person I follow shared the bevy of hate mail he'd received while away. Much of the hate included threats of harm to him and his family.
I was sickened by all of it. And I observed: violence begins in the heart.

Several people shared that religion is the problem. I am going to both agree and disagree, and I hope my reasoning will serve the greater good.

To lay blame of violence at the feet of religion is easy. It is true, religion has caused massive violence throughout history. But religion is also responsible for so much good in the world. How can it produce both violence and good?

I believe how we walk in this world is a layer of the problem. It was unnerving yesterday for me to see so many people so opposed to someone else's ideology, that they threatened harm. These people were not attacking based on religion. They attacked because they were "right" and he was "wrong". They shared all the violence in the heart with their words. Not in the name of religion. I posit, they share in the name of self.

I think our religion has become self. We worship our rightness. We worship our needs and wants and what we think we deserve.
 I think some people of faith ferret that out. People of all different faith systems use their faith to chisel away at the self that would consume anything or anyone in its path and allow their selves to be molded in such a way that produces love and beauty for the whole world. I believe that people of no faith, atheists and agnostics can and do the same.

And then there is the religion, of all faiths and no faith that would be right at all costs. The religion of extremism. The religion of violence toward all who disagree.

There are so many ways to react to these times that devastate and are devastating.
I do not think there is one right way to react.
I would encourage all of us though, to lay a portion of blame at our own feet. When we acknowledge our own selfish acts of aggression, we can step outside of them.
In so doing, we can become stronger. We can become a united front against the real violence that does threaten everyone. We can create a hopeful future for our children and stand united in love.

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