A couple of days ago, I was talking to a friend with very different spiritual beliefs to my own. She was asking about how to deal with a child in the class she taught with vastly different beliefs. Just yesterday, I had a chat with Tat about our various paths. This morning, I heard a talk about evolution and where we are in the passage of dramatic change, in terms of spirituality, in the world. Just the other day, I saw a cartoon on how science and religion are finally agreeing - the end is nigh *spoken in an appropriately doom-'n-gloom tone* Needless to say, I can't find the cartoon now.
Among my friends, I have Buddhists, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Christians, Wiccans, Atheists, Agnostics, Scientists... and a host of other spiritual and non-spiritual beliefs besides.
I spend a lot of time between students either reading, listening to recordings and music or just thinking. Sometimes I think too much and my mind just wanders aimlessly. Other times...
I got to thinking about my friends and their beliefs. I thought back to when acts of terrorism became the norm in the media and how my peace-loving, fun Muslim friends were treated. I thought of the misguided verbal attacks I've read on the Mormons and Witnesses, how many Christians are criticized for their beliefs, and so on.
Why? Why don't humans accept that someone else believes differently?
What is the true religion? Is there one? Do you believe your spiritual choice is the 'true' or 'right' one? Of course you do! We all do.
So let's play "What if..."
What if there's a higher power that made everyone different? What if that was intentional... to give variety and to stop us dying of boredom because we're all clone-beliefs? What if each segment of society or even individual was given a belief system that the higher power (I'm deliberately not giving him/her/it a name here) knew would be acceptable in terms of the individual or group's culture and life experience? What if they're all right? What if there is no one belief that is right?
Let's take an example... 'Enlightened' Christians travelled to the ends of the earth to convert the natives. Those natives already had a belief system that served them well, one that existed before the Christians came along. Who got to choose which was the right one? (Apologies to Christians and natives who were selected randomly purely because they were the first to come to mind.) That is without the division within the belief systems - each belief system has orthodox and unorthodox or radical and each of those branches off into yet more divisions.
Years back, I was looking into various religious beliefs and found it fascinating that vastly contrasting religions had similar root stories, a great flood being just one example. Is it so inconceivable that we're actually all the same and no one can really know 100% for sure that his chosen path is the only right one? Aside from a deep faith and heart-felt belief, that is.