IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Religion and Peace, redux…

Here is an excerpt from something I co-authored some years ago (and for which I own the copyright, btw 🙂 ), which makes some distinctions relevant to our (ongoing, no doubt) discussion of religion and peace.

” The issues facing us demand a new set of answers, arising from a new pattern of faith and belief. We feel strongly that those values must be spiritual in nature. We do not believe that everything in the universe, our world, or human nature is fully accessible to positivist science. Many aspects of our inner reality and life, including consciousness itself, remain mysterious, and the age-old quest of the human spirit toward transcendence, toward an ultimate reality, continues unabated. Throughout history, though admittedly for limited periods, various civilizations have demonstrated how spiritual values can engender social progress. At the same time, we would hasten to acknowledge that these same values have just as often been corrupted and manipulated to justify actions which represent their antithesis. This in itself, however, should not prevent an appreciation of the historic association between the emergence of a truly moral social order and widespread commitment to spiritual values.

We prefer the term spiritual to religious, although they are often used interchangeably. To us spirituality transcends the boundaries of traditional religion, suggesting broader human involvement that comes from the inner essence of a person. At the level of the individual, it refers to action borne of a commitment that is not necessarily informed by allegiance to a particular religion. We agree with the definition of spirituality by the Scottish Council of Churches (1977): “Spirituality is an attempt to grow in sensitivity to self, to others, to non-human creations and to God who is within and beyond this totality.” Spirituality is a shift in consciousness that sees the whole of existence contained in the parts, and from the parts the whole is constructed. Spirituality filters out the superficial, the changing, so the essential emerges. The term Holistic expresses another metaphor for the spiritual: holding all directions in simultaneous connection — including both the horizontal and the vertical direction. The horizontal connects one person with another person, with all people, and with all things. Vertically, higher and lower levels of consciousness are joined. The creative organizing force of spirituality has been channeled into Indian, European, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean society in the past through such prophetic figures and visionaries as the Buddha, Krishna, Moses, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Muhammad, Bahá’u’lláh, Saint Teresa, and Rumi; and it has also found expression in the altruistic work of social activists and reformers such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu, Elie Weisel, and many others. ”

Agree, disagree…have some distinctions of your own?


August 14, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I agree with the importance of spirituality and also the distinction from religion. I think religious dogma often kills or imprisons most forms of spirituality.

    Comment by Nathan Andover | August 16, 2008 | Reply

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