Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Popping the Balloon of Belief > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Popping the Balloon of Belief

I'm really excited. I just got a bigger soapbox, and I wanted to invite the rest of you to get up here on it with me.

You may remember I was recently talking about how beliefs are at the core of our conflicts, yet those beliefs are built upon less-than-complete information. What is known is not all there is ? there's always something more. Yet we try to explain what we think we know by constructing complex belief systems around them, and fight to defend them against those who believe another way. Our egos are so fragile that we'd rather fight than consider that the foundations of our thought and society might be built upon shifting sands.

Maybe this seems farfetched. But let's look at the Middle East. The interplay of beliefs give us a prime example.

One set involves religion, where ideological descendants of a common ancestor have fought for centuries under the guise of righting a perceived assault upon their God. Each fights to eradicate the other side, and hopefully the differing beliefs they hold. Superimpose upon this age-old fight an internal Muslim war between sects, along with a regional struggle between clerics and secularists, and the complexities grow immense. But that's far from all.

Let's also not forget that most in the area live deprived of what many believe are basic human rights, often repressed by brutal regimes that crush dissent to maintain power and the status quo. All this while their citizens are awakening to an inner call to explore their own potential, fueled by worldwide communications that show what others already enjoy. Many are crying out to end this. Some even resort to terrorism, further complicating the mix.

Now add in geopolitical struggles for money and power which are impacted by the area's crucial location over large deposits of oil. This lifeblood fuels mankind's technological march into the future, and allows us to enjoy a standard of living not even dreamed of in centuries past. Instability of any kind triggers fears our way of life may be impaired or lost altogether.

Whew, it makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

We've given the existing institutions of government and religion a chance, and look what they've done with it. They've showed us the answer is not in diplomacy. And it certainly isn't in war. Or in greater religious fervor. Or in any of the tools at their disposal.

So let me suggest another way. What if everyone asked themselves, "Why do we believe this stuff anyway?" It couldn't hurt to just consider the possibilities.

What if people found a way to connect to God and find meaning without religions that inherently pitted them against each other, whether intended or not? Not to replace one religion with another, but to find an inner spirituality that didn't need the institutions or structure? Where we all knew and felt connected to our source, so that all religions could go quietly into the night?

What if people accepted that others who were different could live among them, and that this diversity both honored and accentuated the best characteristics of each? And that diversity was accepted as a gift to better know themselves, rather than an irritant to be tolerated?

What if there were no struggles to govern among groups or sects because each truly enjoyed the ability to be itself without having to worry about either defending its differences or imposing them on others?

What if governments were not run by either despots or leaders that curried popular favor by castigating opponents and fomenting social discord? Rather, their peoples were guided by an inner force (not an outer one inflamed by religion or politics) that allowed them, and their leaders, to find the seeds of peace within every conflict?

What if people everywhere knew and trusted that their needs would be met as they arose, and that they could explore meaningful pursuits without bumping up against the efforts of others?

This may be a dream, but it is certainly one that is within our reach. You know it as well as I do. But to make it happen, we each have to first hold out a vision of what can be. And then to commit ourselves to make it happen.

Sure, there will be many objections and roadblocks. Religious institutions and governments will fight hard against it. Fear will bring resistance and maybe even greater strife in the short run. Patience and persistent effort will be needed to see it through. But who says the best things come easy?

Isn't it time we stopped leaving the evolution of humanity up to chance, or at least quit pretending it's out of our hands? We're at a point now where people worldwide can share ideas and visions. So why not work toward those that go beyond predatory commerce, politics, and religion? Why not believe that which serves us and our ideals, and promotes the common good, rather than sows the seeds of conflict and destruction?

If this is a world where people go to war over beliefs, isn't belief there's a better way worth fighting for? I sure think so. What about you?

Copyright 2004 by John Dennison. John is a voice for those who do not hear or know they have an inner voice. Author of Whispers in the Silence: Living by the Light of Your Soul, he can be reached at [email protected] or visit him at WhisperZone.org, home for those who know their own way.

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Los Angeles Times

Ghost of Justice Scalia looms as Supreme Court debates religion ...
Los Angeles Times
The ghost of Justice Antonin Scalia often hangs over the Supreme Court, perhaps never more so than as the justices struggle with the case of the Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage. Scalia often spoke of his ...

and more »

Religion News Service

Jack Jenkins to join Religion News Service as national reporter
Religion News Service
Religion News Service is pleased to announce the hire of top-notch religion reporter Jack Jenkins. Jenkins will join the staff in the role of National Reporter effective Jan. 2, 2018. He will cover the Catholic beat and the major religion stories of ...

and more »

eNCA

Politics and religion: faith and the ANC succession race
eNCA
JOHANNESBURG - There is a saying that politics and religion are the two sure things to start an argument with at a dinner party or family gathering, but what to do when the two are inextricably intertwined? As the African National Congress (ANC) heads ...


Religion News Service

Can Reform Judaism reform itself?
Religion News Service
So, when was the last time that you worshiped with five thousand Jews at a Shabbat morning service? The answer is: never. The biennial convention for the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ), the Reform movement, which ended yesterday, was the largest in ...

and more »

Religion News Service

What's in the hearts of millennials? You may be surprised.
Religion News Service
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sightings is sponsored by the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Sign up to get Sightings in your inbox twice per week (on Mondays and Thursdays). You can also ...


The Wire

Beyond the Ugly Practices of Organised Religion
The Wire
It is not easy to write about the religion of man, particularly at a time when all sorts of ugly practices are legitimised in the name of faith. However, only at the hour of darkness does the need for the light of being acquires special importance ...


Religion News Service

Have Mormons misunderstood the atonement?
Religion News Service
It's always a privilege to read and hear Terryl and Fiona Givens — and now, we can see them on TV, thanks to a new podcast from the Faith Matters Foundation.* Click below for both parts of it, each about half an hour. In this two-part interview with ...


Religion News Service

The end of Hanukkah
Religion News Service
Or is it a holiday celebrating a victory of the Jewish people against religious oppression? What we often do when we have many options is that we pick all of them. Instead of clarifying, however, this creates confusion and a lack of focus and a ...

and more »

USA TODAY

On election eve, an Alabama Baptist church stands apart
Religion News Service
Church volunteer Lisa Whitman helps Jackie Presley shop in Birmingham's Piggly Wiggly grocery chain. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron. BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) — Four older women — two in wheelchairs, one using a walker and the other a cane — wait on the ...
Some Alabama religious leaders worry faith is sacrificed to politics in Senate raceUSA TODAY

all 6 news articles »

Religion News Service

Influential Southern Baptist layman Paul Pressler subject of sex abuse suit
Religion News Service
Former Judge Paul Pressler, who played a leading role in wresting control of the Southern Baptist Convention from moderates starting in 1979, poses for a photo in his home in Houston on May 30, 2004. (AP Photo /Michael Stravato; caption amended by RNS ...

and more »
Google News

Belonging to Jesus Christ

In the name of Jesus, what shall we do in... Read More

Gods Armorbearer & The Ministry of Details

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles,... Read More

Killing Red Heads

"With regard to the ancient Egyptians we have it on... Read More

Life as Simulator

Recently I met an interesting Gentleman at a Coffee Shop,... Read More

The Emmaus Journal ~ What Kingdom Are You Looking For?

The Emmaus Journal What Kingdom Are You Looking For?The awe... Read More

The Christmas Victory

As the Chritmas season approaches, I figured it's a good... Read More

Do You Have Disciples?

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."... Read More

Resurrection Faith (Part 2)

Christ died. This is a historical fact not to be... Read More

Meaning and Marketing - The Will

You are now inside one of the top theological schools... Read More

The Word: What has it Changed in You Lately?

In Matthew 13 Jesus relates a paprable to His disciples.... Read More

Development of Liberal Theology: An Overview (Part 2)

The American theologian Horace Bushnell also played a vital role... Read More

Building a Church and Church Building Designs

Building a church is a large project that is more... Read More

The Fruit, the Whole Fruit, and Nothing but the Fruit

Once we become a new creature in Christ, we are... Read More

Catholic Voters Need to Rethink Morality

If Catholic doctrine calls for the sanctity of all human... Read More

Evolution Simplified and Factual

The study of evolution puts into perspective our relative insignificant... Read More

Under Siege!

This Article is the result of another hard night of... Read More

Organized Religion is Great for Humanity; Rants from Lance

Organized Religion has served mankind well, by uniting civilization and... Read More

Why Cardinal Ratzinger Chose the Name Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected to the papal throne on... Read More

Vegetarianism

Millions worldwide suffer from malnutrition and the threat of starvation.... Read More

The Freemasonic Order of the Golden Centurion

I think most people who will read this will not... Read More

Why Churches Die: Denying The Gift Of Healing The Sick

Recently a question was posted on a Christian forum asking... Read More

Mystery, not Myth: Jesus Christ is real!

In the children's section of any bookstore, books on the... Read More

All Knowledge and Wisdom Comes Direct From God

These next set of verses are the heart and soul... Read More

Whose Land?

It is interesting that everyone is so hung-up on the... Read More

A Strong Anchor

Stories have been told about the only thing that saved... Read More