There is only one Father and we are all going home.
The great religions have a common experience base at their origins. Each are the
outward trappings of an experience of a deep spiritual nature imparted by its founder. The religion itself is an effort to continue, codify, make sense of, relate, retell, communicate and perpetuate that experience. Religion attempts to pass on the revelatory occurrence. This is inspired and inherently important work which the religion does by creating structures we recognize as tradition, ritual, dogma, holy writ, and ceremony.
Since the nature of the founding experience is by definition out of the realm of the lower mind and occurs in the realm of the spirit it is transcendental and of consciousness itself. It is therefore not only unbounded by time but exists within infinitely greater happenings and space than is admitted by the ego’s little views, based as they are upon separative thinking: Spirit knows only unity. These appropriately venerated experiences inspired (in-spirit) persons to share their vision within a particular culture at a particular time. Handed down over generations the experience becomes fixed in the moorings of the culture into which it was given. To the extent that religion has lost sight of the unity of all things and become set, crystallized in its concepts, it no longer serves its original intent and is in need of re-membering.
Religion has also been a major point of ego involvement and often of conflict as crystalized concepts became more important than the founding inspirations. The dark history of war and efforts at dominion by one or another religiously motivated group are testimony to ego-based responses couched as holy writ and come in stark contrast to the original messages from the founding spiritual experiences of most religions of transcendence, love, harmony, service, caring for the Earth, and treating one’s neighbor as oneself.
Like all other human domains and in some ways like no other human domain, the ego’s separative thoughts, agenda of its own specialness, attack, and need for an enemy have used religion as backdrop, platform and scapegoat for every ill man has been able to create. But, the opposite is also true. There are many who have found in their religion inspiration for spiritual growth and have been able to connect with the original spiritual experiences of the founding messenger and performed great and loving service to mankind while learning the lessons of transcending the ego.
So, what is the importance of religion? Its existence and ubiquitous nature across all cultures is testimony to a vital link for humanity. A great potential exists for religion to find its common ground and become a global healing force and presence at a time when one is imperative for humankind’s future. This may be more possible than might at first impression be believed for the origins and the potential meeting ground of all religions is inherently the same. In spirit itself is the crossroads of religion. It was in spiritual communion, elevated from lower mind, that the profoundly impactful spiritual experience of each religion’s initial messenger of Light came about. It is there then where writ, dogma, and ritual can be transcended. It is at a point of focus on spiritual realms and meanings that religion can be healed and become the healer.
This is the great promise of religion as we move into the new time. To accomplish this awakening is well within the capacity of all religions. Homogeneity is not called for. The beautiful trappings of each culture are sacred and help those of that culture to relate to unfoldings of the new through understandings of the old. What is needed is a return to the roots of their spiritual origins and a re-membering relative to the greater whole which will enable each religion to make beautiful contributions to a new understanding of the unity of all things.
Beyond ecumenical dialogue and interfaith tolerance, religion is now challenged to build a new community based upon a true acceptance, respect, and celebration of the common core of knowing from spirit and the diversity of each religion’s culture of content. The great promise is the potential for religion to grasp and to serve its sacred place and to turn the acid test of brotherhood into planet wide reality by demonstrating that love for one another is the reality from which flows all other understandings.