By Jerry Alatalo
alking about and revealing one’s spiritual beliefs is something not many politicians and not many people in general have an inclination to do. Perhaps this is due to the abstract nature of human beliefs or faith, or the lack thereof. Certain spiritual teachings suggest that attempting to “convert” others to one’s way of perceiving is an infringement upon those others, because every person must walk their spiritual path in their own unique way, to develop in their own way.
Three historical icons, Mother Theresa, Mohandes Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are among many other men and women historical figures whose spirituality, in the variety of uniquely developed expressions of deeply held perceptions and beliefs, changed human societies in some manner for the better. In the case of King and Gandhi, each paid the ultimate price, losing their very lives from assassination, for speaking on their deeply held convictions – for King at a far earlier age: 39.
Many others suffered the same tragic fate for speaking and acting based on some form or other of worldviews held in common by all religious traditions. Men and women throughout history, suffering death as the effect of spiritual cause, carried on through words and actions knowing full well that doing so put their very lives at grave risk. Perhaps there is the most profound, indescribable spiritual truth in the words, “greater love hath no man, but to give up one’s life for his friends”.
Is it possible that – despite world religions’ critical voices pushing against one another, at times accusing the other of being “wrong” and that “ours is the only, right way” – all religious traditions, where each could be perceived as one facet of the diamond that is ultimate truth – ultimate reality, represent the “right way” and are in fact part of the one “true” religion?
The French philosopher Voltaire (1694-1778) may have put his finger on it:
“All the philosophers of the world who had a religion have said in all ages: ‘There is a God; and one must be just’. That, then is the universal religion established in all ages and throughout mankind. The point in which they all agree is therefore true, and the systems through which they differ therefore false”.
It would be good if presidential candidates could agree to substitute one or more of their debates with discussions focused on personal philosophy and/or spirituality. Such an initiative would probably be welcomed by voters for the greater understanding of each candidate’s personal character, influences and worldview elucidated then received, and equally beneficial for voters in giving a fuller awareness of what motivates or guides each seeker of public office, and how each arrived at the place where their unique form of guidance became irrevocably part of their being.
It’s possible, even certain, that in both the world of politics and outside of it, greater levels of spiritual content in discussions among people would increase understanding, coöperation, generosity, shared vision, compassion, love, peace, happiness and joy.
Perhaps reaching that greater, higher level requires not that many words at all.
(Thank you to Freeman M at YouTube)