As is learned in the study of Comparative Religion, the Avitars (Moses, Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Abraham and others) had amazingly similar philosophies of belief … centered on Right Action as a path: respect others, think positively, be helpful and be compassionate. It is their disciples, especially in the extreme (and the subsequent dogmas) that have made modern religions unnecessarily complex and adversarial.
And, as time unfolds, more and more of the new generations are seeking other paths for their spiritual comfort. In a local bookstore, the New Age section is double the size of the Christianity section. Actually, I cheer for that circumstance, not as a criticism of Christianity but as testimony for the freedom of choice that the organized religions have given (perhaps unwittingly). It also portends that God is still the quest, but not necessarily reached through the dogmas.
Spirituality does not require a church. Goodness does not require a pew. Compassion and Right Action are part of the Spirit. And if that Spirit can be bridled within all of us, then the work of God is being done. That is the utopia that Inter-religious Dialogue can (and should) promise.
Politicians will tell you that geopolitical influence … the territorial imperative … is the causal culprit for today’s ills. Economists swear that if you trace any problem to it’s source, you will find money as the reason for the problem. Those are both half-truths. If you carefully study the emotions involved, you may conclude, as I do, that the major factor in today’s conflicts is the intolerance of the belief system of others.
If you want to read more of this discussion and other topics in “Looking for a Better World,” the first book in a new Trilogy, go to:
Dr. Malkin holds a B.Sc. in Business and a Masters and Ph.D. in Religion. He has made hundreds of visits to schools with a moving and effective motivational presentation, urging teens to do their personal best. His mentoring programs have empowered many, many children. His quest for years has been to teach the power of Right Action, working towards the goal of a better world.