I Remember Now – Religions of the world and Oneness. Really? – Tim Tengblad – Post 5
You write about Oneness and I love it. But how can there ever be Oneness with so many religions in the world?
Thank you for this important question! It’s ironic that the religious traditions of the world have created so much division. I say ironic because the word religion actually comes from two Latin words, Re and Ligios, which means to bind or connect. Ligios is the root of our English word ligament. What do ligaments do? They connect everything around them and cause muscles, tissue, etc. to function as one unit. Religion literally lives up to its name when it connects and binds together.
But in human history religion has been the opposite of a connecting or binding force. Humans have instead (in their own minds) turned the most unifying force in the Universe (the Divine, the One or Oneness) into one of the most divisive forces on the planet.
Religions have mostly brought together those who believe the same things, observe the same religious practices, or come from the same ethnicity. With some beautiful exceptions, most of the time you’ve got people gathered together who all look the same, talk the same, and generally think the same. Hence creating only more tribalism. This is actually how most church denominations and subdivisions within them got their start. Ethnicity and culture were key forces. Germans formed churches with Germans. Swedes and Norwegians all met with their tribe.
Think of religion or religious communities as circles. You’ve got people who are in the circle and people who are outside the circle. Those inside the circle tend to think they are “right” and everyone else outside their circle is “wrong.” Religion can also create mistrust in “the other” through misunderstanding or ignorance.
One of the many reasons I believe that Jesus never intended to start a new religion or a Church is because doing so goes against the very core of Oneness that he taught and lived. As I mentioned earlier, the word for God in the language Jesus spoke (Aramaic) is Allaha (The One, or Oneness). He knew well what humans do with a religion. They use it to create more separation.
Humans have seemingly always observed some form of religion. In order for humans to evolve beyond religion, enough of a critical mass would need to mature into living from our common inherent Oneness with the One.
I don’t have all the answers to your question, but I do know of an experience I created that I believe points the way towards a world of greater Oneness.
Two years before I retired in 2017 after 35 years as a Lutheran pastor, I organized a gathering I called An Evening of Peace. I invited people from a Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, Hindu, and a Unity faith community to come together at our church.
I invited each community to focus on one thing and one thing only, Love. I gave each community 15-20 minutes to show everyone how Love was expressed in their particular tradition. People articulated this singular focus in whatever way they chose through the scriptures, music, spoken word and art of their tradition. We gathered together afterwards for a social time.
The energy in that space was so beautiful! People found healing and they left with hope. It went so well that I did it again the following year, this time adding an invitation to a Hmong school across the street from our church. The children from that school came and sang songs of love and kindness.
I know this may seem overly simplistic. I know the issues creating all the divisions brought into the world through religion are complex, have millenniums of history behind them, and come with deep emotional attachments. But if we are ever in the space of thinking that only a focus on Love is too simplistic, we better take a long look at ourselves.
What if we would simply BE? Simply BE together with those who are different from us in the space and energy of Divine Love? I saw this work its magic during both of those evenings. What if we just did that and see where that would naturally lead us?
What if we just DID acts of love, kindness, and compassion together with those who differ from us religously or politically? What if we just put aside the bickering and finger pointing, and just DID Love together?
I don’t know what would happen over time, but I would trust Love’s wisdom every time.