The Question: Should strong relationships be formed with those who have different religious views?
January 11, 2016: “A new video has just been released in which Pope Francis very clearly expresses his belief that all of the major religions are different paths to the same God. He says that while people from various global faiths may be “seeking God or meeting God in different ways” that it is important to keep in mind that “we are all children of God”.
The two moral leaders of our time, Pope Francis and The Dali Lama affirm that all paths lead to God. This echoes what Albert Einstein said seventy-five years ago: “Science and religion both lead to the same truth.”
If you have already made the transition to a One Uni-verse View, that all things are connected and work together according to God’s direction, then this Roundtable Discussion is a slam dunk. YES! Strong relationships should be formed with those who have different religious views. In fact, if you are open to forming strong spiritual relationships with everyone who comes across your path without regard to faith, gender, nationality or color, you will see your soul growing by leaps and bounds.
In my ten years as a Chaplain at the United Nations, this one issue was the central thing I took away when I left New York. While there, I got to meet, know and work with leaders from all the world’s religions. That ten-year period in my life was like a Post Graduate Degree in World Religions, and I am truly grateful that I have that experience to inform my understanding of how things are meant to work.
Today there are 4200 religions in the world and each one has a different name for God, just as many of the readers of this column have different nick-names when they are in different social groups. The names change, but the person is the same. As below, so above.
God does not separate us; we separate ourselves. The truth is that even the most difficult of religious zealots has a heart and a mother and a dream for the future. When we are willing to relate to each other on that level, we can see God through our eyes, our friend’s eyes and God’s eye’s as well and all at once.
Here is something both common and special at the same time. When you drop your defenses, and are willing to not have to be right all the time, and show just a little bit of open curiosity about another’s truth, you will find that people are always willing to explain their religious beliefs to you as well as how their religions work. It makes them feel valued and shows you are valuable too.
Then, something close to magic happens. When this moment of unity occurs with another, our hearts come into coherence and beat in rhythm and we find friendship and the discovery that we are one with another person whose belief experience is totally different than our own. This is called Oneness and it is how you feel every time you hear that old Coca-Cola commercial about how “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony!”
Somewhere in each of our hearts we know that special song, which all of us knew when we were four years old. The grownups told us that was just childish and we forgot that song, for the most part.
But as you read this very sentence, your heart longs to experience, once again, that child in you and his song. He still remembers we are all one, and he knows to hold hands with each other, because it is safer that way.