In our nation’s past and present, the phrase “for religious reasons” has been used by people for many reasons. Some of these reasons are obvious, some dubious and some confusing. In essence, what is being stated is: “I use my beliefs in God to do this/that, or not do this/that.”
The issues I offer here in acting or not acting “for religious reasons” are (1.) Do we want to use our religious beliefs to decide our actions? and (2.) Do our actions really reflect our religious beliefs? These are legitimate questions to examine within ourselves. And they absolutely must be examined deeply, earnestly, honestly and in full light for ourselves.
Why must they be examined this way?
Because the statement “for religious reasons” has been used for many harmful and destructive acts. “For religious reasons” has been used to justify slavery. “For religious reasons” has been used by people to justify segregation. “For religious reasons” has been used by people to justify judging, condemning, lynching, the Spanish Inquisition, burning people at the stake, stoning people, drowning people, and been used by people to demonstrate prejudice and hatred against so many minorities.
Throughout the world’s history, “for religious reasons” has been used to bring about horrendous atrocities, killing and wars. And today in our world, “for religious reasons” is used to justify murder and killing still.
“For religious reasons” does get used by people to justify whatever prejudice or hatred anyone has within their hearts towards any group. Of course, we can take this further and say that if “for religious reasons” weren’t available, “some other reasons” would be used to justify an agenda of prejudice and hatred.
There are many that are willing to hide behind and abuse religion to justify their inner desire to continue the pain and suffering of others. As time passes, more and more, we will see those that espouse “for religious reasons”, and that they are not espousing the love that religions were, and still are, meant to foster. They espouse instead the separation and prejudice that has been in their hearts all along.
So, examine deeply, honestly and earnestly how best to use the statement, “for religious reasons”. It is very easy for us to use our religions beliefs in God to justify not helping those that need help, but whom we’ve judged, and therefore, decide not to help. It’s very easy to act in some way, siting “for religious reasons”, when there is a deeper agenda hiding within us. It takes self-honesty to act from our beliefs in a way that can truly serve and help our world.
Yet, how do we then tell if we, ourselves, are acting righteously with regards to our own beliefs?
Follow what Christ said, when asked how will you know the ones that are followers of Christ, “by demonstration of the fruits of the spirit”. Forgiveness, loving kindness, mercy, patience, understanding, humility, cooperation, faith, charity, unselfishness, joy, etc. – these are the fruits of the spirit. These are the actions of followers of religious beliefs based on God’s love.
Christ’s two commandments were Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. When asked who is our neighbor, He told of the Good Samaritan.
When we use “For religious reasons”, we cannot avoid demonstrating the truth of where we are at. While we may tell ourselves one thing about our statement, others may see what we choose not to see about ourselves.
“Everyone has their own different ideas about how to proceed with spiritual growth… even God.” (The Rainbow Cards, ©, 2013, Jodie Senkyrik)
Thank you, B.B. I’m going to add a few additional points to what you’ve said, if you don’t mind.
First, the scientific understanding we have today, is not the scientific understanding we had 50 years ago or 50 years before that. Look at what we’ve learned through scientific discovery in the last 50 years. Look at what science has discovered in the 50 years before that … and before that… and before that… on into millenniums in the past.
Now, tell me what we’re going to scientifically discover in the next 50 years, and the 50 years after that, and after that and on and on into millenniums into the future. Science cannot tell us what we’ll discover, because it hasn’t been discovered. Using science, there’s no way to identify the next 50 years of scientific discovery much less millenniums beyond that.
To do this we must leap beyond the scientific understanding of today. This is the purpose of spiritual and religious thought. Spiritual and religious thought and it’s tenants cannot be proved or disproved using today’s science. But, inadvertently and on purpose, religion and spiritual thought have given us information about things that we can strive towards – namely motivation to search for ‘the truth’ that is beyond our scientific understanding. In effect, it hasn’t waited for science to catch up and instead seeks to show us where we’re going.
Using science, we can make conjectures coming from what’s being worked on yesterday and today, and projecting forward with common sense and experience telling us – as we seek, so we shall find – as we seek answers and discovery using science, we will find answers and discovery using science.
Unfortunately, for science, it’s also true that what we do not seek, we will not find. I mention this in regard to the behavior among many people to ridicule and dismiss scientific research into non-physical phenomenon like spirituality, paranormal, etc. Instead offering non-scientific based prejudices instead of scientific data.
It is a fact of science that no matter how much a white person studies and learns about the black race, he isn’t a black person and cannot fully know the black experience. And no matter how much a black person studies and learns about the white race, they aren’t white and can never fully know the white experience. We cannot be what we are not and our knowing of the other is limited. Science is not meant to be treated as a religion, even though many have turned it into their religion. Religious thought is not gained through scientific method but many assign it to be “science.”
The day will come that science will discover many things that have heretofore been in the realm of the spiritual and religious. Scientific study has discovered the realm of other universes and other dimensions. It has already discovered that everything that exists, exists as vibration. Atoms are merely vibrational focuses which create certain behaviors, including the behavior that leads humans to experience “matter.” Metaphysically, it is believed that Christ’s ability to heal comes from His being the highest level of vibration of God Consciousness and His touch brought the ill into this higher vibration, changing their physical bodies in the process – like a tuning fork.
But, does scientific discovery of heretofore spiritual aspects mean that there is no God and there never was? Of course not. To say this is what it means is like the guy in the Patent Office in early 1900 saying, “We might as well close the patent office because everything has already been invented.” (That’s actually true – someone did say that.) These things are not the end of discovery or belief in God, they’re the beginning.
Quite literally, we are in the dark ages still with regards to what we think is true and what we have no clue about, if we compared what we know today to what we don’t know yet to be discovered tomorrow.
As humans, we tend to consider the God that we think exists, in terms that we can understand with our mind. We’ve built religions around understandings of the mind. This is usually based on the belief that we CAN understand God with our mind – the part of us that analyzes and comes to rational understandings (based on what we understand up to that moment.) This can only mean that our understanding of God is based on what we understand in our own mind – not God’s mind – our own. So, there are limits to our understanding through both scientific thought and religious thought.
But, even so, where is the heart in this analysis? The heart isn’t a part of the analysis of the practical mind. The heart as we’ve all experienced, seems to laugh at the mind at times, because our hearts many times defy logic and analysis, reasoning and practicality.
Yet, our experience is that the heart is where Love exists. And while there may be a few that say Love is only a chemical reaction in the brain, those same people, don’t tell their children “I only love you because the chemicals in my brain go that way. Take away the chemicals and I won’t love you anymore.” Imagine what would happen inside a child’s heart if we did say that to our children.
I’ve given practical and rational discourse on science and religion. This comes from a mental understanding of the topic. Yet, if we didn’t also have caring and compassion and love and kindness in our hearts, we wouldn’t care what people believed or what conflicts arise from beliefs. The motivation for writing this discourse as well as the motivation for all the searching and believing comes from the heart – the desire to help people understand and possibly feel that we are all in this together.
We are brothers and sisters seeking the same thing – to know ourselves, to love, to learn ultimate truths, to know what is beyond our current knowing and beyond ourselves – to answer the question – “Is scientific understanding all we are or are we more than just analysis in the mind? Are we also Love embodied and as Love embodied, a part of God, the ultimate limitless Love, – a God who possibly exists way beyond our limited scientific understanding which we have today?”
For us to hold to this belief, we must hold to something other than logic and reasoning, we must hold to that which is from the heart – which helps motivate us to open up our minds to possibilities infinite in size and scope. This is so we can answer the question, “Is Love real?”
Imagine if scientific study discovered that Love is real. For science to do this, it must leap beyond the confines of the physical world, because when it does, it will discover much more than just that.
“Imagine a world without science – only religion with no science – a world where science was not pursued or allowed. What kind of world would we have?
Now, imagine a different world – one without Religion – a world only of science, unlimited science with no religion – where religious beliefs were not pursued or allowed. What would that world be like?
Now imagine a world with both science and religion where both were pursued and allowed.” (The Rainbow Cards, ©, 1998-2015, Jodie Senkyrik)