Article in Stretton Focus, September 2019
The leaders of world religions should be sounding a wake-up call to their own followers, instead of just defending their own beliefs, and trying to convert others to it. The higher purpose of any religion should be to point beyond itself, to some all-embracing reality that might be called God.
I came to this line of thought through reading a quotation of Wendell Berry in The Song of the Earth. This is a book by Jonathan Bate which is so full of what I have been looking for that I shall be reading it continuously!
The quote is this – ‘Nothing exists for its own sake, but for a harmony greater than itself, which includes it’. Religions generally, have fallen short of this ideal. They do want to exist for their own sake, because they are claiming to be ‘right’ when other religions have got it ‘wrong’. And the outcome of this has been the rise of aggressively competitive religions, which to a large extent are responsible for the mess the world is now in.
Religions do have something to offer, but if they don’t point beyond themselves, they create idols which always need defending, often with violence.
Jesus of Nazareth pointed beyond himself, and prayed for the coming of God’s Kingdom here on earth; but the founders of Christianity focussed on Jesus himself, with the Church regarded as his body. Other religions have played a similar game.
It’s more than time (or is it too late?) for religions to wake up to what’s going on; and redirect their vision and energy towards finding God as an All-Embracing Reality.