Last Week's Topic - Learn to be Still
Our house is not the most religious of homes. I do not identify with any sort of organized religion and my husband is a devout agnostic. When the kids were visiting, we allowed and supported their decision to attend church, even if we did not attend. The view we held (and hold for ourselves and our child) was if this was something they felt they needed, so be it.
Karl Marx is often paraphrased as saying: "Religion is...the opiate of the masses". He is correct, though not in the way people often portray his statement. Religions and religious beliefs are necessary for the human spirit. As Marx also said in his much paraphrased quote, religion is "the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation." We need to believe in something larger than ourselves, something more powerful than us, to give our lives meaning. The alternative, a life where there is nothing beyond our life, nothing "in charge" of our destiny, no all powerful being(s) to guide or protect us, is rather terrifying.
My beliefs tie in to the idea of energy. How do you explain life and humanity without exploring the energy that runs through us? And, as any science class will tell you, energy cannot just disappear, it must go somewhere. It makes sense that as we die, the energy is returned to the world around us. It is found in the growing things and the animals that surround us, so our dead are not truly gone nor are they on another plane, they are here with us and surround us. Their energy fuels the gardens and trees and they are connected to everything.
As Malcolm X said: "You need to believe in something, or you'll fall for anything." Some sort of religious connection is necessary to give our lives some purpose. But you also have to balance that belief with not taking it too seriously. As we know, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Look at the crusades, where thousands fought and died in the name of God. For more modern examples, look at the war in Iraq or the Westboro Baptist Church. Intolerance runs rampant once you take religious belief too seriously. It causes you to dismiss the validity and hope that other religions can offer, and worse, it closes you off to the peace that other religions can bring. Closing yourself off to those possibilities will not bring peace and only serve to further separate you from your spiritual self. Accept and acknowledge that your religion, while the right one for your spiritual center, cannot apply to all people.
Next week's topic: Duality and Religion