The Pope in Damascus is correct in calling for more religious understanding. Our world and our survival are threatened by religious prejudice, superstition, superannuated traditions, ceremonies, rituals, dogmas, theology and other man-made barriers to world unity. Children have no prejudices, they learn them from us. Everyone blindly follows the dictates of their mother religion, rather than investigating and using reason and common sense, to determine if a particular belief is acceptable or not.
Most of us have a religion based not on reason nor science, but on geography. Had we been born south of Majorca, we would be now Moslems; to the east, Orthodox Christians; in Spain Catholics; in the UK, Church of England or Presbyterian. Even though we know that the religions of our ancestors led to war, we continue to hand it on down to our own children, perpetuating prejudices down the centuries, and rejecting anything new or different, including foreigners of a different religion. Leaders of religion in all countries are men, which has led to the global oppression of women.
Religion refused to answer questions when seekers sought spiritual enlightenment, so people turned to science for their fulfilment, resulting in today's material me-first society of mass consumerism.
The modern shopping malls have become the cathedrals of the new millenium, where the high-priestess at the till takes your donations today, as were once sold indulgences.
Thus, we still need to believe today, we just do it differently.
Science and religion remain the two most powerful social forces determining our common future. The atom bomb has made war unthinkable, we must therefore solve our problems in the future by consultation, not war.
The Pope's call for greater understanding is not about tolerance. It is about the mutual recognition by believers of all of God's messengers, sent to guide and protect mankind by our Creator. Who can guide us, if not God? Some other politician? Human affairs are so complicated, they cannot be left to man with all his failings and obvious imperfections. The messenger of God for today, Baha'ullah (1817-1892) has revealed a global ethic, based on reason and science, spiritual in essence, which has eliminated barriers to world unity in only 100 years. The Bahai Faith, the most modern of our world's nine monotheistic religions, is unique in not being a sect and not having priests, neither male nor female.
The Bahai Faith has become the second most widespread religion in the world in only fifty years, because it has the solutions to the problems which confront our nuclear society. It teaches that: The Earth is but one country, mankind its citizens. Only with a global perspective can we build a better world. This involves accepting all of God's messengers, sent by God in chronological order, just as children go from class to class and teacher to teacher at school. Mankind has now evolved to its maturity. We cannot remain in the nursery forever! We must progress and renew the covenant and accept each other's religion. The Moslems accept and recognise Jesus. The Pope visited a mosque. Will Christians now accept Mohammed? What harm would that do? The Christians accept Moses. Christianity spread the Old Testament teachings of Moses across the world.
Would it now hurt for the Jews to accept Jesus? Bahais accept all of God's messengers, and thus visit synagogues, cathedrals and mosques, seeing no contradiction nor prejudice, but an on-going divine chain of revelation. This progressive revelation started with Abraham, to Moses, to Jesus, to Mohammed and now has occurred, again, through Baha'ullah. The same one God revealed His message through all His messengers, at chronological intervals of up to one thousand years. The Pope's call for religious understanding from his visit to a mosque call upon us to understand the progressive nature of divine revelation. This is the only way I have yet discovered to unite and heal our stricken and ailing plant. I would like to hear if anyone has any other, non-Utopian practical solution to our survival.
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