Isn't the true purpose of religion to foster universal love and promote the general welfare and prosperity for all, and therefore produce unity, harmony, tranquility, and peace?
Isn't the true purpose of religion to teach the people to love one another, cooperate and collaborate with one another, and work together to achieve common goals for the common good?
The answer, of course, is yes. Absolutely.
Furthermore, the true purpose of religion is not to force people to idolize a person, or to worship a person or thing or place, but to help people understand that the Divinity we should worship is not a person, but the Eternal Divine Light-Energy-Source of our existence, the Universal Consciousness, and the Omnipresent Great Spirit-Parent of all.
The true purpose of religion is not to enable a certain person to rule and play God, or a certain group of people to rule and play gods. Rather, it is to prevent all people from playing God, and help all people recognize how and why all human beings are related as children of God.
Thus, Jews are supposed to be taught that we should not do to others what is hurtful to ourself, Christians are supposed to be taught that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and Muslims are supposed to be taught that no one is a true believer in Allah until he loves for all others what he loves for himself. Likewise, Buddhists are taught that we should treat others as we treat ourself. Hindus are taught that we should not do unto others anything that, which if it were done to us, would cause us pain. Taoists are taught that we should regard our neighbor's gain as our own gain, and our neighbor's loss as our own loss. And, the founders of all true religions have also said that the search for the Divine should be not in the world, but within.
These virtuous teachings and spiritual values are at the very core of all genuine religions. They are compatible and consistent with all the other core universal spiritual values that all enlightened ones taught, about unconditional love, peace, freedom, honesty, humility, tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, charity, and pacifism.
Religion is supposed to help human beings understand how and why abiding by these virtues will bring joy, harmony, and peace. And that is why religion is supposed to help human beings acknowledge the real God, the Omnipresent Great Spirit-Parent which loves us all, which is God by any other name.
In fact, God can also be called the Universal Consciousness, or the Divine Creative Force, or the Eternal Divine Light Energy-Source of our existence, and the very Essence of all life and form.
Religion is supposed to teach us what God is, and that no man has ever been, or will ever be, God. And even the founder of the one religion that insists that God is a man, Jesus of Nazareth, said so. In fact, Jesus said: God "is greater than I." Moreover, he told his disciples that: "You have not heard God's voice, or seen God's shape at any time."
Of course, many of the greatest spiritual teachers, including Jesus, realized they were one with God and humanity, and they taught that we can realize we are one with God and humanity. But none claimed he was "God Himself" because, as Moses wrote, "God is not a man, nor a son of man." As Isaiah wrote, "besides God there is no Savior." And as David wrote, "in a son of man there is no salvation." A son of man is a servant of God the Great Spirit-Parent, which alone is the Holy One and Savior.
The religion Jesus founded is, like all other religions, supposed to teach us that the humble, gentle, loving, peaceful people in the world shall inherit the earth, and that we should treat all other human beings as we would want to be treated if we were them, because that is, after all, the Universal Divine Imperative that all servants of God have realized and tried to teach.
Religions are supposed to help us realize that all human beings are equal joint heirs to their divine inheritance, which is abundant and harmonious life on this earth. And they are supposed to help us have faith that this mortal body is but a temporary temple of the spirit-soul, which will live on in the "after-life." And, some religions teach that when the spirit-soul is fully evolved and ready, having reached a state of pure, universal love for all, it graduates to eternal life in the heavenly realm.
That, in my view, is what religions should teach, so they could serve as spiritual schools that teach us how to live in unified harmony, in peace, and in love with our fellow human beings on this planet.
Unfortunately, the separate-self ego can tempt us to think we should play God. It can tempt us to judge others, to try to control others, and even to try rule over others. At its worst, it can tempt us to exert power over others even if we have to use force to do it.
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