I just recently learned that the word religion comes from the Latin root that means to bind.
Wouldn't it be great if we could use religion as a way to bind us together rather than separate us.
Lately we have been confronted by so many religious divisions - the ground zero mosque, which isn't really a mosque and isn't really at ground zero, discussions about whether religion plays into the world's slow response to the crisis in Pakistan, our own city's struggles over the building of a Sikh temple, even philosophical divides on the homeschooling boards I frequent.
In the midst of figuring out how to navigate these concepts with my kids I came across this article (linked from this wonderful blog) and read these words, written by UU president Peter Morales.
Religion is much more about what we love than about what we think...The questions we ask one another are so critically important. If you and I ask each other what we believe, we will get into talking about very heady stuff. We will put forth our beliefs and then support them with evidence and argument. All too often we will end up arguing... However, when we ask one another what we truly love, what we truly value, what we care about more than anything else in life, something amazing happens. We don’t argue. We listen. We connect. We discover that we love and want the same things. We care about one another. We want honesty, depth, and intimacy in our relationships. We want enduring friendships.
We also discover that we realize that we are all in this life together. We want to help heal the world. We want compassion, understanding, and justice to guide our actions and our governments. We want to work together, hand in hand, to build a world beyond exploitation and violence.
This year one of my goals is to take my kids to various houses of worship and to introduce them more fully to the worlds' religious traditions. We started this past weekend with a walk through the stations of the cosmos at a nearby religious retreat which is a beautiful spiral timeline that shows the evolution of the universe, the development of the various world religions and the stations of the cross. I loved the quotes selected to illustrate some of the ideas of the world religions and how they followed the same threads. We really are more alike than we are different.
Nonviolence is the supreme religion. One who looks on the creatures of the Earth, big and small, as one's own self, comprehends this immense world.
~ Lord Mahavira