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November 08, 2005

The world’s great religions, chronologically 

Some folks might think this entry is sacrilegous, but it’s an idea that came to mind today. We’ve probably had entrepreneurs offer a collection of books—the , the scriptures, the , the —together. But I feel that if confronted with this series, one would read them individually and, consequently, some would rank one above the other. How come we don’t take the individual chapters, and instead of putting them in to their original volumes, group them all chronologically?
   Assumimg they are all the word of God, as each religion believes them to be, then we would see a natural progression of His earliest teachings to his latest.
   I have friends in each of these major religions. They are not the only religions, but I use them for convenience and because most people can identify them. But they are all my friends. I do not rank one above another. I value my friend as much as my friend. They are both devout. They believe their religion to be based on the word of God. Those who are too die-hard in any one religion will admit the other is right are often prejudiced out of ignorance: they do not know what the other holy books have in them. I certainly qualify on that count. I only have a passing acquaintance of the religions I was not raised with.
   And if there are folks who are opposed, then I ask why? For if you feel your religion is the true one, then surely someone reading this volume will discover that anyway? I’d rather we work our differences by letting individuals make up their minds.
   We have come to a stage in human history where we are more global, more inclusive, anyway. This blog is read by people from all over the world. For those who don’t like exposure to other religious texts, then they are still served by their own. But for those who have an open mind, who might not have even chosen a religion, or even have a historical appreciation for ancient writings, then this seems like a logical collection of texts to do for the 21st century. I am not advocating that any book be replaced. Not at all. Just a different way of compiling it, no different from making them digital or dividing them into separate volumes, which we already do, just not across religions.
   What does this have to do with ? Probably not a lot, but just as there are with global codes of conduct and branding manuals, then why have religions not come together to do this as the outward manifestation of the human brand? After all, one thing all religions, all peoples, share is the for . It might be time to show it.
I want to be good at loving all people, but unless religions help me (or my child) do that I freely admit they don't engender much passion in me. In fact religions -like all identities that compound propagandas scare me a little. Transparency seems to me to be the more critical the more power an identity has over folks. So there are two explorations that I would love to hear confirmation or denial of.

1) The golden rule of reciprocity is I believe common underpinning all major religions as their core belief. This is important to nail down because it suggests you are not living any religion unless you live them all

2) I see a pattern in the most passionate parables I have ever heard religions tell. They picture how people who get beyond their own conflicts can collectively encourage all people to live a greater communal life. Poigantly they were told at times when a civilisation was decaying due to being top heavy with administrators who no longer cared about peoples as long as they retained their own powers. If there is a great religion whose time of oringin evolved out of some other circumstance, I would happily be informed of that. I always love to know what was happening at the time something was born. Today's challenge could be seen as needing not a story of one place's damnation by its self-centred powers that be, but simultaneously all places

Chris, Gravity200 asks whether multicultural networks can boldly go collaboratively beyond religious hatred to the love  
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