Real Religion

From the beginning, humans, in attempting to cope with their feelings of fear and inadequacy, have turned to a multitude of supernatural beings - gods - to help fill their needs.

As the humans evolved, their gods changed too -- in form, in personality, in power, even in numbers. This evolving concept of the gods brought on the development of codes of conduct and forms of adoration and supplication, sometimes molded by humans to achieve their own personal or political aims. The term "religion" today usually refers to belief in the existence of a god or gods accompanied by adherence to pertinent codes, rituals and affirmations. But religion can also mean a system of beliefs, practices and ethical values for living - in short, a philosophy of life.

A great theologian once observed, "Religion is not something separate and apart from ordinary life. It is life - life of every kind, viewed from the standpoint of meaning and purpose; life lived in the fuller awareness of its human quality and spiritual significance." And, also from A. Powell Davies, "true religion says that there is nothing to be feared from anything whatever that comes from anywhere at all into an honest mind. The one thing to fear is the mind's dishonesty."

One's religion can be a way of life - a never-completed quest for truth; an emphasis on the good rather than the evil in the human potential; an effort to help rather than to hurt; a continuing awareness of the beauty, the mystery, the still unanswered questions in this wonderful world; yes, even taking the time to marvel at the wonder in the eye of a child as she watches a moonflower slowly open its petals at twilight and release its perfume; a living of life to the fullest, while striving, always, to be honest with oneself, down to the deepest reaches of the mind and heart.

That, my friends, is real religion.


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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative