Updated: Jul 14, 2019
I have discovered that human beings are beautiful - each person in their own different way. It's my conviction that people are fundamentally good, and I touch that goodness every day. There's no legitimate reason why we can't all be human together peacefully on this planet. I believe in my heart that this is possible. Traveling with an international human rights team, I was a firsthand witness to some of the worst atrocities in our world. And yet I still believe that deep down each of us longs for love and harmony in our relationships with one another and all living things. I believe we all feel this in our heart when we let ourselves go there.
Let's go there.
Religion should not be what divides us. Here are five beliefs to help us change our global discourse, sentiments, and actions about the power of religious, spiritual, and philosophical diversity for good.
1. Every person can fully embrace and follow their religious tradition, spiritual interests, or philosophical views without creating division, destruction, hostility, or hatred.
2. Every person can find a rationale and motivation within their religious tradition, spiritual interests, or philosophical views to be an instrument of goodness, peace, love, and compassion in the world, and affirm the inherent, equal, and unconditional worth of every human being.
3. Every person has the right to follow their own inner guidance in choosing their own religious, spiritual, or philosophical views and practices.
4. Every person can participate in a process of personal growth, self-actualization, and fulfillment of one’s highest beliefs and aspirations, and encourage the same for others.
5. Every person benefits when each of us follows our own unique inspiration for building a world that works for everyone.
God is not a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, or a Buddhist. All of those are human systems which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God. Every person can honor their tradition, walk through their tradition, but humbly accept that their tradition does not define God, but only points one toward God. I have come to believe that the truth that makes us one resides within each of us. It is not so much learned or taught as it is remembered in the deepest recesses of the soul.
In 1928, E. Stanley Jones wrote, “Humanity is fundamentally one. I can no longer think of a man as a mere Hindu or Moslem or Parsee or Christian. He is a brother man facing the same problems and perplexities which I face. The question of our skins being brown, white, yellow, or black makes no difference when we drop down and face life and God. We are one. This distinctly points to the fact that, since we are one, and since we are incurably religious, we should finally be united at the place of religion. There will be a deep sifting of religions to find Religion, but we shall find it, for humanity cannot be separated at the deepest place of life.”