Monday, August 13, 2007

Why Do I Need Religion ?

There have been posts in this blog about the relationship between spirituality and religion.

We've also explored the idea that the actions and beliefs of human beings are not necessarily the best guide to what religion really Is.

Because so many folks have tossed religion out, it's become fashionable to claim that an individual, with their own power, can raise themselves to the heights of virtuous behavior.

Ever looked in one of these people's closets ... ?

Today's quote from Reality explains it much better than I can:

"There are some who imagine that an innate sense of human dignity will prevent man from committing evil actions and insure his spiritual and material perfection. That is, that an individual who is characterized with natural intelligence, high resolve, and a driving zeal, will, without any consideration for the severe punishments consequent on evil acts, or for the great rewards of righteousness, instinctively refrain from inflicting harm on his fellow men and will hunger and thirst to do good. And yet, if we ponder the lessons of history it will become evident that this very sense of honor and dignity is itself one of the bounties deriving from the instructions of the Prophets of God. We also observe in infants the signs of aggression and lawlessness, and that if a child is deprived of a teacher’s instructions his undesirable qualities increase from one moment to the next. It is therefore clear that the emergence of this natural sense of human dignity and honor is the result of education.

"Secondly, even if we grant for the sake of the argument that instinctive intelligence and an innate moral quality would prevent wrongdoing, it is obvious that individuals so characterized are as rare as the philosopher’s stone. An assumption of this sort cannot be validated by mere words, it must be supported by the facts. Let us see what power in creation impels the masses toward righteous aims and deeds!

"Aside from this, if that rare individual who does exemplify such a faculty should also become an embodiment of the fear of God, it is certain that his strivings toward righteousness would be strongly reinforced."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 97-98

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