Sunday, June 17, 2012

THE THREAT OF OUR 'RIGHT' RELIGIONS AND POLITICAL ISMS ..november 5, 2009, edited June 17, 2012

Religious Wars In France Sixteenth Century
Emotions stirred by the Ft. Hood murders, the relentless Middle East conflict,  many religious Americans falsely and  negatively identifying President Obama with Islam, and the extremes of major political parties claiming a 'religious like' superiority over the other; all point to extreme dangers inherent in the interrelated  worlds of  religion and politics.  The dominant thing that prevents large segments of  these faiths and political isms  finding sincere human respect and appreciation for each other is that ancient 'revelations of the sacred' also became associated, by their followers, with this claim: 'My religion is the 'one and only' true religion.' This religious dynamic, which in our day also shows itself as egocentric national or political pride, has driven many of the most serious wars in human history and in our globalized age threatens human survival. Carl Jung pointed out a century ago that in the modern day what before were only religious 'one and only' ideologies, now show themselves as conflicting political  ideologies. America seems caught up now is such dangerous political extremes. Encouragingly many individuals in these faiths, and parallel political ideologies,  have found ways beyond such  ancient tribal type claims and thus are able to  receive and appreciate each other. But where to a larger extent  that 'one and only ' belief has not been attended to, faced down by each religion and political party; genuine appreciation  and civility remains an impossible abyss to maneuver.

The resulting 'looking down on' , demonizing and sometimes despising each others  faith or political position is likely today the single most serious threat to humanity's survival. The major world faiths are very real, genuine and are anchored in the same ultimate source of all that is, that which all call God. But along with this legitimacy has come the unfounded destructive claim that each is the 'one and only' true religion. This 'trick of religious origins' played on us, and also in its modern form of political isms and parties,  must be transcended within each opposing group  if that faith or political group  is to help solve present human conflicts rather than continuing to be a primary cause of it.
This points to the present singular need of each religious faith and political ideology  to experience a leap in the collective self consciousness of its own very real 'shadow side.' Achieving such spiritual consciousness requires great individual and community courage which I pray  each faith has the potential of providing its followers. Legitimate religions, more than modern political parties, contain the imagery, symbol and story within them  for such transcendence.  So it is more likely that healthy religious influence can help transform dangerous  political egotism than the other way around.

 I see how the Christian story has within it  what is needed to transcend this 'only right one ' shadow.  No doubt the other Religious Faiths  have that potential  as well. As the largest and most  politically powerful Western religion, Christianity has a major role to play  if religions and  political ideologies are  to reduce their threat to Humanity. The question remains if the religions can manage this heroic spiritual feat  and transition in time? Jim

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