What do you believe?

I recently engaged in a private dialog with someone who claimed that though Muslims declare Islam “honors women” and is a “religion of peace” that the opposite is true. I decided to share some of my portion of the dialog and open it up to others to share their ideas and beliefs.

I’m sure Muslims have done horrible things in the name of Allah the same way Pope Urban II in 1095 convinced Christians to wage a “holy war against the infidels” starting the crusades.

I believe through my life experience and the teachings I have read so far that God infuses all life and through the prophets Jesus, Muhammad, Bahá’u’lláh, the Buddha, and others sent his message of love to the various human cultures around the world. The political leaders who wrote down and translated the teachings of Jesus & Muhammad wanted to control population more than teach God’s love. Greed and pride twist words into laws that have nothing to do with God.

I believe it is our individual duty to find our personal connection with God through the teachings we are given, but in order to be world citizens we must also learn to find the common ground between the different teachings. I don’t believe we can truly love our neighbors until we stop negating their belief systems and start finding the common ground that brings us back to love.

So, none of us may be “right,” but between us we can find a truth to agree upon that allows us to coexist peacefully.

As far as I can tell from research, Muhammad did not write or use the Koran to control people himself. Much like Jesus he shared the divine revelations he received by preaching “one god” to the common people. His followers wrote down the revelations much like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul did for Jesus.

Then, governments like the Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire used the texts of these prophets to control their population. Much like Judaism divides between Ashkenazi or Sephardi and Orthodox or Reform, Christianity has a split first between Orthodox and Roman Catholics and later between Protestant and Catholic. Islam, the youngest of these religions, already has a split in belief between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. These splits have more to do with government policy and fundamentalist extremism than what the prophet had to say about spirituality. (Read Hama Rules for a bit of journalism from Thomas L. Friedman about how our buddies the secular Syrian government dealt with fundamentalist Muslims in Hama in 1982 and the repercussions of that event.)

I reread a version of the Hopi Prophecy last night and was struck by this quote:

“It is only materialistic people who seek to make shelters. Those who are at peace in their hearts already are in the great shelter of life. There is no shelter for evil. Those who take no part in the making of world division by ideology are ready to resume life in another world, be they Black, White, Red, or Yellow race. They are all one, brothers.”

When we are born into this world we have no control over what laws and spiritual teachings will guide us into maturity, but we do have a choice about whether we will battle our neighbor over which of us worships the “correct” way. No one wants to be told they were raised “wrong” but we have a chance of bridging cultural gaps if we continue to look for and share God’s truths hiding in each of these texts that have been watered down with Man’s greed & desire to control.

For a little further reading, if you’re interested, here’s a link to the basic teachings of a nineteenth century prophet who appeared in the middle east. Baha’u’llah is the first prophet to have written down his own revelations as well as lay out a democratic form of world government that does not include an elite or “divine” clergy, but puts the burden of spiritual and societal development on the believers themselves. He also has quite a bit to say about the oneness of religion validating the prophets who came before him and how each of them has appeared to aid in the evolution of mankind.

I’m curious to know your thoughts and wish peace to all.

2 thoughts on “What do you believe?”

  1. JESUS THE MESSIAH PREACHED:

    THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

    The Beatitudes

    1And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

    3″Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    4Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted.
    5Blessed are the meek,
    For they shall inherit the earth.

    6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    For they shall be filled.
    7Blessed are the merciful,
    For they shall obtain mercy.
    8Blessed are the pure in heart,
    For they shall see God.
    9Blessed are the peacemakers,
    For they shall be called sons of God.
    10Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    11″Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    Believers Are Salt and Light
    13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
    14″You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

    Christ Fulfills the Law
    17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Murder Begins in the Heart
    21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, “Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, “You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
    26Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

    Adultery in the Heart
    27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not commit adultery.’
    28But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

    Marriage Is Sacred and Binding
    31 “Furthermore it has been said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

    Jesus Forbids Oaths
    33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37But let your “Yes’ be “Yes,’ and your “No,’ “No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

    Go the Second Mile
    38 “You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

    Love Your Enemies
    43 “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
    44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

    Matthew 6

    Do Good to Please God
    1″Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

    The Model Prayer
    5″And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
    8″Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9In this manner, therefore, pray:

    Our Father in heaven,
    Hallowed be Your name.
    10Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done
    On earth as it is in heaven.
    11Give us this day our daily bread.
    12And forgive us our debts,
    As we forgive our debtors.
    13And do not lead us into temptation,
    But deliver us from the evil one.
    For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

    14″For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    Fasting to Be Seen Only by God
    16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

    Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
    19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    The Lamp of the Body
    22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

    You Cannot Serve God and Riches
    24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

    Do Not Worry
    25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
    27Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
    28″So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
    31″Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?’ or “What shall we drink?’ or “What shall we wear?’ 32For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

    Matthew 7

    Do Not Judge
    1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
    4Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
    6″Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

    Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking
    7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

    The Narrow Way
    13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

    You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
    15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
    19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

    I Never Knew You
    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    Build on the Rock
    24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
    26″But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
    28And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

  2. Leonardo,

    As you were copying and pasting large sections of text to comment here repeatedly in the middle of the night, did you notice this section in the above post:

    “Matthew 7
    Do Not Judge
    1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
    4Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

    I think you may have missed the point by then trying to post here about condemning people you’ve never met because FOX News and other sources of government misinformation are trying to make you fear the “other” to keep you under their control. Seek truth and together we may teach the oppressors through acts of love how not to oppress.

    My whole point was that the Talmud, Bible, & Koran were created by governments to control population and were not actually written down by the prophets. While there are many truths that translate, each of them (including the Bible) have passages that are twisted to allow for the will of man something this is not of God. Look for the wisdom that runs a common thread through all the texts and there you may find the will of God.

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