To celebrate my Christmas morning, I rode my bike along the chain of islands on the Venetian Causeway. I stopped afterward at the park, and just laid on the ground, sucking a blade of grass, taking in the earth energy. It felt like I was communing with God. Which of course, I was.
It got me thinking about the real spirit of the holiday. The fundamentalists will say that Jesus is the reason for the season, but not sure I’m really buying that.
There are a lot of posts on Twitter today from people of all faiths wishing a Merry Christmas to their Christian friends. I wish more Christians adopted that kind of acceptance.
Not sure if Pat Robertson has a Twitter account, but if he did, I could imagine this tweet from him: Merry Christmas 2 all my Christian friends. And the rest of U are going 2 rot and burn in Hell with gnashing of teeth!
Reminds me of a conversation I have last week with my friend Theo Androus. He’s writing a new book with a working title, Christ, In Search of a Christian. We were discussing all the exclusion, hate, and intolerance passing as Christianity today. Unfortunately this is prevalent in most faiths.
The fundamentalists have hijacked the message…
This attitude of ‘we have the only way and everyone else is going to get left behind,’ is certainly not the real message of Jesus. Nor is it the real message of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Shinto, Confucianism, Taoism, or other major religions.
Organized religion is filled with doctrines and dogma, and the fundamentalists seem to get sidetracked with all that. But the essence of religion – spirituality – is actually quite simple and basic.
Confucius taught that enlightenment came from perfecting five virtues. He expressed them in one: Reciprocity. Buddha taught enlightenment came from eight virtues. And he reduced these down to one: Compassion.
Tao, or the path, teaches that people are good by nature, and that one should be kind to others simply because. Zoroastrians dedicate their lives to a three-fold path represented by their motto: "Good thoughts, good words, good deeds."
The Jews also believe in the inherent goodness of the world and its inhabitants. They see everyone as creations of God who do not require a savior to save them from original sin. True followers of Shinto desire peace and believe all human life and nature is sacred. The five pillars of Islam would bring anyone closer to peace. Hindus seek salvation in selfless acts and thoughts
And contrary to what some of the TV evangelists would have you believe, Jesus reduced everything to the principle of love. I have to believe if he came back today, he would be shocked, saddened and angry at what is being said and done in his name.
Let’s forget about the dogma, doctrines, and differences, and celebrate the similarities. Reciprocity, compassion, good, peace, love. Those are the real season for the season!