When a person of faith speaks about compassion, justice, diversity, civility, empathy, care of the disadvantaged, and does so with a smile, listen to them. They might be giving you something valuable to think about.
When a person of faith speaks to you about their religious beliefs, or tells you how you “should” live your life, or assures you that they possess absolute truth and knows exactly what God wants from you, it would probably be a good idea to check the batteries in your bulls**t detector and walk away.
While you’re walking away, note that these persons seldom smile if you disagree with them. In the words of humorist Dave Barry, “People who want to share their religious views with you, almost never want you to share yours with them.”
Unfortunately, many of the politicians in this current national election are in the second category I’ve listed above. They mean well, but I’m concerned they are taking us down a dangerous road.
They are running for public office on the assumption that when their religious beliefs, the religious beliefs of their 2000 year old religion, are inserted into the national laws and public policy of our 21st century culture, the problems that face our nation will somehow disappear.
It would be great if the solution were that simple. Unfortunately it’s not.
Faith beliefs in themselves are not the problem. The problem is they only represent the faith beliefs of one particular religion and the cultural and moral worldviews of a religious culture over 2000 years old. Our nation is a 21st century culture comprised of citizens from many different faith beliefs and cultural backgrounds.
I would agree that the challenges facing our nation and our world are indeed moral issues that need our national attention, but they are not religiously based moral issues. They simply reflect the lack of character and moral courage of our nation’s electorate, and our politicians, to embrace with honesty the painful reality that we have been living far beyond our means for decades.
We are now facing the inevitable consequences of this collective denial of reality and our overwhelming lack of moral courage. We have allowed greed and personal comfort to pass the consequences of our denial, and our moral bankruptcy, onto future generations; the generation of our children.
Unfortunately, our politicians are attempting to blame the consequences of our decades long collective denial to face reality on scapegoat issues such as abortion, the rights of women, immigrants, gay marriage, care for the poor and disadvantaged, health care, and of course members of the opposing political party.
To state the problem simply, we are still unwilling to face reality. We have not yet awakened.
We all have household budgets. A balanced budget is not rocket science. When the debt gets too high we have to earn more income and we have to cut back on our standard of living. On a national level we have to cut spending and raise taxes.
It’s that simple.
Everyone impacted by the family budget has to wake up to the reality that there is a “family” problem and accept the simple reality that everyone in the family will be impacted. Everyone is going to feel the pain.
The national and global issues that we need to address, including challenges to the viability and survivability of our human species, will be solved only when we have the wisdom and courage to awaken our individual and collective consciousness, and embrace the uncomfortable reality that denial is no longer a viable option.
We have created the problems that face us, and we are responsible for solving them. But using the same level of consciousness to solve them that we used to create them is not going to lead us to the creative solutions we so badly need.
As conscious human beings, we were born out of mystery and we will return to that mystery.
Unfortunately, in between those two realities the development of the human mind is at the mercy of the human ego.
From birth on, our human developmental journey takes us through the reality distorting beliefs of early childhood. The belief for example that we can get what we want if we scream loud enough, or the best way to navigate the world is through the use of black-and-white, all-or-nothing dualistic thinking. I’m right, you’re wrong.
And this self-focused primitive ego narcissism of childhood will continue to control our lives until we find the courage to become self-aware and begin the challenging task of awakening and transforming our consciousness; individually and collectively.
All authentic, compassionate, unconditionally loving spiritual growth is directly dependent on our ability to awaken our consciousness through intentional self-awareness. Until we do this work, our character, our behaviors, and the energy we unconsciously send into the world will tend to be ego driven; judgmental, controlling, and self-serving.
In other words, the challenges that face us personally and globally have not been created by a lack of religious morality but rather by our unwillingness to evolve and mature our human consciousness.
The issues and problems that face us are rooted in our human ego’s unwillingness to change our reality distorting beliefs when we encounter new information that challenges those old beliefs. When reality challenges beliefs that give us our self-identity, instead of being open to change, our ego hardens our beliefs and rejects or ignores the new information.
We do this in science by denying the evidence of global warming and the insights of evolution.
We do this in our personal relationships when we deny the unconscious shadows of our dark nature. Our denial harms those close to us when we unconsciously project those things we don’t like about ourselves onto others. Especially our fears, our self judgment, and our pain.
The current draconian attacks on women and woman rights, our prejudice toward gays and other minorities, our attitudes toward immigrants and immigration reform, and our unwillingness to address the growing gap between the rich and the poor, nationally and globally, are all good examples of projection and our deep-seated refusal to awaken our consciousness and embrace reality.
Rather than change our existing beliefs, biases, and prejudices, we would rather pass onto future generations the long-term consequences that come from ignoring the reality of these challenges.
This is especially true when it comes to conservative religious beliefs. Resigning Senator Olympia Snowe who is leaving Congress because of the regressive nature of the current political environment said “It feels as if we are going back to another era”.
Healthy religious teachings are about compassion, selflessness, humility, and self-transformation; awakening our consciousness to the beams in our own eye, not the specks in the eyes of others.
Stated simply, when a religiously conservative politician or political party claims to possess the absolute truth on any subject, they are peddling a dangerous ignorance called “absolute certainty”; the religious imperialism of a minority projecting their “holy” criticism and judgment onto the majority.
They are inviting us to follow them down a dangerous yellow brick road; a road devoid of compassion and care for all of the members of our national family.
Like or not, the future is coming.
Let’s hope we have the moral fiber, character, and courage to awaken our consciousness so we can begin creating a future in which our grandchildren can thrive.
Let me know your thoughts below.
Don’t forget, you can now purchase my Adult Spiritual Development book as a paperback on Amazon. Check it out here.