The word religion doesn’t always produce positive thoughts in the minds of those who hear the word. If I replace the word religion with spirituality, negative connotations often don’t come to mind. True religion should inspire positive thoughts similar to true spirituality. I define true religion as loving others like you want to be love in good and difficult times. For this discussion my definition will include a belief in a Reality beyond us that seeks to inspire such love.
True religion doesn’t insist on any beliefs other than the Law of Love – love others like you want to be loved for a better world.
In a trouble world this means long lasting change can only be achieved when religion seeks to serve and not be served. Most seem to have the same internal compass that helps to discern love from hate. We know religious extremists and terrorists are wrong because a loving God would not demand certain personal beliefs or be ostracized or beheaded. Those not in search for power and control know that true love cannot be forced.
True religion doesn’t claim to be the only religion or path to God. The majority of people born into this world never have heard of the God written about in the Bible. The truth is that the majority of people accept or rebel against a certain religion based on the family born into whether it be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Suggesting a loving God insists one can only come to God through Jesus is to ignore the realities of our world.
True religion doesn’t insist on a set of beliefs found only in a Book not available to the majority of those born into this world. Besides, much of the Bible is subject to interpretations which obviously are not infallible. Scholars who believe in the trustworthiness of the Bible differ in their interpretations on matters concerning their faith. The reality is much of reading the Bible is discerning spiritual truths applicable to our circumstances. Claiming the Bible is inerrant doesn’t do away with that process.
True religion isn’t dogmatic if the rights of others aren’t being violated. True religion focuses on commonalities, not differences.
Discussions to prove than share one’s viewpoint is anti-religion. I may be right, you may be right, we may both be wrong! Many spiritual minded people assume they need to convert their friends to their beliefs in order to be accepted by God. Such beliefs communicate that God doesn’t accept them unless they come to share your personal beliefs. True, religious people don’t seek to convert but to encourage one another as they strive to love others as themselves.
True religion doesn’t have to call itself a name which simply distinguishes outsiders from insiders. Groups with doctrines or creeds suggest one must accept their beliefs eventually to be accepted. It shouldn’t have to be stated but true religion’s only identification are those who strive to encourage one another in loving and caring for others which can be messy and complicated.
True religion seeks to inspire others that unselfish love leads to personal freedom. For those who believe there is a God, we only want others to know God loves and hopes to empower us to reflect such love back to others. I am convinced when we know God the way Jesus knew God, we will sense God’s love and support in good and troubled times and pursue a life that doesn’t lead to regrets while here on earth.
God’s love is the love you always imagine would be true of a loving God. God’s love is the love we deep down desire to show others consistently.