Reframing Time Honored Beliefs
wrong. Our belief
in these core values is what
allows them to become one of the sources for our guidance.
Belief is what gives power to individual and cultural value assumptions. Various authors, for example, referred to the Jews throughout the Hebrew Bible as Godís chosen people. When such an idea became reinforced in every generation, it became the frame of reference for their cultural identity. Asians, however, have not respected the accuracy of this historical orientation.
Among many Christians there is a strong belief that Jesus entered our world through a woman who never had sexual intercourse, that Jesus was the incarnated form of the Creator, that Jesusí death on a cross granted eternal life to all who believe in his name and that a day would come when every knee shall bow before Jesus who, having risen from death, will come again. Other religions, that offer guidance for the development of humanityís inner world, do not share these beliefs.
How would beliefs unique to each religious community be compromised if a number of the significant beliefs of each community were not deemed as compulsory for all humanity? If diverse populations are to build communities where loving energy patterns are freely shared, those who hold strong beliefs must learn to accommodate those who do not share them. Would divine instructions ever insist that people must remain uncompromising with their dogmatic beliefs even when such rigidity would prohibit the growth of communities living in peace?
Here are some potential challenges to current belief systems: Consider the limited image of our Creator if God loves and favors only the Jews, if belief in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ remains the only path enabling people to be saved, if there is divine insistence on the development of a geo-political Islamic state or if agnostics and atheists are damned for all eternity because their intellectual integrity will not permit them to connect the dots as certain faith communities suggest they must?
If the goal of every religion is to remind the faithful that their true identity as spiritual beings will be refined through their experiences, each faith community can accomplish this through their current structure of beliefs. If the goal of every religion is to encourage the faithful to radiate loving energy at all costs to themselves in every circumstance, each faith community can do that through their various vehicles of religious instruction. Each individual becomes a living example of what it means to be faithful to his or her belief system.
However, if a belief system teaches followers that they must destroy or make subservient all others who will not conform to some divine pattern for human life, such a belief is based on energy patterns that are inconsistent with community. If the belief system claims that each person must hold certain dogmatic beliefs or be lost for all eternity, such an assumption will communicate a spiritual exclusivity that is equally not compatible to the building of community.
The dispensation of Godís loving energy pattern does not depend on specific beliefs. When any religion begins to define God in specific material terms or teach on Godís behalf, that religion will be impaired as it tries to communicate its message to other thoughtful people whose assumptions differ.
Thesimple gospel of knowing how to love your neighbor and enemy is the fruit born from the highly evolved inner world of an individual. Such an orientation can be mass marketed but mastered by only a few. An individual climbs that mountain by the development of highly specialized skills. If that inner world remains undeveloped then carefully crafted beliefs, rituals and ceremonies will ultimately prove useless in helping the faithful to communicate skills of spirit. Such skills can only be mastered by choice after choice of radiating loving energy while existing in the midst of darkness.
God created a physical environment where all of us can grow according to our level of understanding. People who peacefully know how to accept the existence of other belief systems and who cherish and care for each other while living in community are participating in Godís loving energy field. For them, specific beliefs are metaphors designed to explain concepts and ideas that religious teaching cannot adequately articulate.
Those who proclaim that the path to salvation has been given to them are clearly participating in their own energy field. Their belief system communicates a very narrow understanding of loving energy. The world is big enough to include everyone, i.e., those who withdrawal from accepting the existence other valid belief patterns and those who join hands with others regardless of individually preferred beliefs. All belief systems that promote the support of others intellectually, spiritually and emotionally are to be respected in spite of their individual fine print.
The goal of living is not about beinggood and resisting evil. Life is not about abiding by a belief system because it guarantees personal salvation. Our beliefs must nourish our spiritual roots, foster brother and sisterhood, create communities where citizens serve one another and offer opportunities for the cultivation of each individualís inner world in an environment of peace.
Beliefs that do not support this quality of life need to become candidates for reframing. Beliefs that separate, divide, cause fear, inspire guilt and create confusion are communicating their own inadequacy and limitations. Reframing highly dogmatic beliefs for the greater good for all humanity is a step in the direction of making visible Godís Kingdom. Our survival as a species will depend not on religious truths and beliefs, but in the practice of community. Heaven is already here. What is missing is humanityís ability to recognize its presence and live in it with gratitude. God has ordained that each of us has the potential to be a light in darkness. When we are light, Heaven unfolds around us.