“The tendency to turn human judgement into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.” – George Harkness
I was in the 10th grade when the September 11th attacks took place. I was on my way to World History class where we were learning about The Crusades. When I entered the classroom I heard a reporter on the television, “Oh great!” I thought. “We’re watching a movie, NAP TIME!” I ran over to my desk to place my book bag on the floor, I looked up and saw an airplane crash into the side of the World Trade Center. For the days that followed I learned that the attack was caused by terrorists declaring war in the name of Allah and they were ready and willing to do more damage.
In the second semester of the year that I attended college I took an Intro to Communications class and really enjoyed it (on the days that I decided to go). For a group assignment we were split into groups of five and were given a country to research and deliver an oral presentation. The group was to give each person a sub-topic that would describe the culture of the given province.
My group was given India and I was to research the religions that were practiced. I was truly overwhelmed with mixed emotions. On one hand, I was given an opportunity to learn something new and to talk about it. On the other, I had to present without any biases or judgement. As I began to research, I discovered that the three major religions were all striving for “peace”. This took me aback because growing up in a Christian American home I had come to think that anything else outside of the name of Jesus was rebellion and anarchy.I remember going to church and denouncing anyone that worshiped anyone but Jesus Christ.
As I delved deeper into my research I realized that each religion had more things in common than they differentiated on. Just like Christianity- Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism encourages peace and love through prayer and self-examination by submitting one’s self to the higher Divine Power. This finding caused me to ponder the reason for war in the world; so many wars have began in the name of God and the right religion.
“We’re all a part of the same One God” -Russell Simmons
That assignment awakened a thirst of spiritual knowledge for me and for the past couple of years I have found myself pinching a few practices of each religion and incorporating it into my daily quiet time.The more I learned of each religion, there were less reservations I held towards them. I have benefited from taking two 15-minutes breaks to be still and would like to practice Yoga in the near future. I have not gotten up to praying five times a day, but I do make a conscious decision to do so at least three. I have gleaned so much from all religions that I have gained a healthy respect for them all.
Religion forces us to fight for what’s right and destroy anything that is wrong while spirituality encourages us to see the Divine in all. With religion, we tend to focus on what we believe instead of the things that we should know that are essential to have to be a positive force in our society. When we release religion and embrace spirituality, we begin to realize that our Creator is the Father of many. Like a good Father he wants all of His children to be healthy, productive and happy.
*Images found on http://www.google.com