A parable is a short story with a moral teaching. A nursery rhyme is a song usually sang by a mother to a child with a moral teaching. A fable is a short story with a moral teaching. We teach these morals through our faith and through the Word–be it spoken or written. But these moral teachings have no weight in our world unless we follow through with the words that have been uttered or written.
These words mean nothing till we make a commitment with our actions, with our conduct and with our way of life.
All religions I know of speak of Universal Love. And yet, religious institutions have become symbols; not only of love and faith, but also of hate, prejudice and bigotry.
Today I went to church and the priest said, “We pray for the ones who have become alienated from the church due to the conduct of some in our community.” Those words reverberated in my mind long after they had been uttered. So many leave their faith behind to seek a new faith–only to have their new faith let them down once again.
To me, however, it seems there is no escape. There is no door in the world that will free us from sin, misconduct, misdeeds or misdemeanours. When those who have ‘transgressed’ are chastised or called to account for their conduct; they deny it blatantly and vehemently, as though their very denial made it so. Or worse, they admit their wrongdoings only to feel free to do it once again.
But as evidence was gathered and facts came to light–a very different story emerged.
So many I speak to in my generation do not have a faith that they adhere to. What adherence to a faith means and represents to many in my generation is following a set of laws that vary greatly to secular laws. I live in a generation where inclusivity and diversity are the buzzwords of the day; and the very ethos of, “You are ‘less’ than me,” no longer resonates with them.
We are going through a phase where we are releasing the hurt and the harm that has been caused by people who preach moral teachings they do not follow.
The heart of these teachings–and not the law of these teachings–is universal love and compassion. It is not prejudice, bigotry, hatred; or even fear. But as leaders strive to create solidarity among their adherents, they create walls–walls that have only crushed those who stood on the inside; as the numbers on the outside increased and increased.
When too many people walk away, there will be nowhere left for them go.
I grew up in a community of many faiths. We all learnt to love one another. But as the grip of tradition’s stronghold tightens, the gulf grows between those who would like to stick to their traditions and those who would like to walk away from them. The relationship that fractures here is the one that a soul has with their Maker. We wonder, how can the Creator let this happen? There are doubts, so many doubts. The validity of all that we stood upon trembles.
And yet, these institutions continue to thrive; despite their acts of contrition. They continue to call forth followers–perhaps even misguided and vulnerable souls–to follow their creed and their canons.
When do we turn to God? Is it because we received a book, happened to walk into a temple or church one day, or because we feel repentant and need someplace to lay down our sins?
For me, none of the above apply. But for many, that is what religion has become. An escape. A retreat. A snooze from their day-to-day life and responsibilities. That is never what it was supposed to be. It was never supposed to be a way to escape.
The Universal Love I spoke about earlier is also a fallacy. We are all trying our best, I think. But sometimes the love we give is not even accepted; let alone reciprocated. So what is the real role of religious institutions? Do they provide us with a roadmap to get to God?
You can answer that question for yourself.
For me, the Road to God had no road. I wasn’t even looking for it. I wasn’t even trying to be ‘a good person’ or anything like that. I’d heard so many different variations of so many different faiths that it left me; not only confused–but even agnostic. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t understand. None of it made sense to me. From far-fetched miracles that cannot be backed up by science; to renderings that made no historical sense; and even strange sightings that went against all logic.
The historians and the scientists were more believable. And for the most part, I still find them more believable. But as new discoveries come to light (regarding both the past and the future), we have to create new beliefs within ourselves about what the world is and how it works.
My journey studying ancient Mesopotamian history and mythologies from all over the world led me to find more similarities as opposed to differences. The details are all different, but the agenda is the same. Gain power. Tell people who they can marry and who they can’t. Tell them what they can eat and what they can’t. Tell them what they can and cannot do. All the while, across the border; what is forbidden here is permitted there. So those people over ‘there’ must be the evil ‘enemy’.
But the real wound comes to light when we see the people who have been forced into marriages they never wanted to be a part of. People who were gay married to straight people; because it was considered their duty to get married and have kids. Couples who can’t stand each other pretending to be married for the sake of societal norms. Perhaps these rules were created to protect us; so why then, did they crush us?
Because they didn’t work. Because they don’t work.
The images and renderings I’ve seen of God are all equally confounding. Let’s not get into a debate here. Even if he or she isn’t represented pictorially in image form, I still consider ‘words’ to be a representation of the phenomena. For instance, you can write my name or you can ‘see’ my picture. It’s still me you’re referring to.
Okay, so I still haven’t told you about the Road to God. I think it wasn’t me who was looking for Him, but rather Him who was looking for me. I wasn’t easy to find, mind you. I travel a lot. But somehow He found me.
So that’s how I found God. Or should I say, how He found me.