The Church exists to connect people at the level of their hunger for a new world.
Why not let people differ about their answers to the great mysteries of the Universe? Let each seek one’s own way to the highest, to one’s own sense of supreme loyalty in life, one’s ideal of life. Let each philosophy, each world-view bring forth its truth and beauty to a larger perspective, that people may grow in vision, stature and dedication. The religions of humanity should be a unifying force, for all the great religions reveal a basic unity in ethics. Whether it be Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism or Confucianism, all grow out of a sense of the sacredness of human life. This moral sensitivity to the sacredness of human personality — the Commandments not to kill, not to hurt, not to put a stumbling block in the path of the blind, not to neglect the widow or the fatherless, not to exploit the servant or the worker — all this can be found in the Bibles of humanity, in all the sacred books. All teach in substance: ‘Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you.’ There is, then, a basic unity among the great religions in the matter of ethics. True, there are religious philosophies which turn people away from the world, from the here and now, concentrating life-purposes on salvation for one’s self or a mystic union with some supernatural reality. But most of the great religions agree on mercy, justice, love — here on earth. And they agree that the great task is to move people from apathy, from an acceptance of the evils in life, to face the possibilities of the world, to make life sweet for one another instead of bitter. This is the unifying ethical task of all the religions — yes, of all the philosophies of humankind. There is no need to force our own theological points of view upon one another or to insist that the moral life grows out of final, absolute authority.
An appropriate symbol for the process of celebrating life, enduring limits, and resisting injustice … is the beloved community…. The beloved community names the matrix within which life is celebrated, love is worshipped, and partial victories over injustice lay the groundwork for further acts of criticism and courageous defiance. From within the matrix of beloved community, there is a solid basis for social critique and self criticism: the life-giving love constitutive of solidarity with the oppressed and love of oneself.
All religions show the same disparity between belief and practice, and each is safe till it tries to exclude the rest. Test each sect by its best or its worst as you will, by its high-water mark of virtue or its low-water mark of vice. But falsehood begins when you measure the ebb of any other religion against the flood-tide of your own. There is a noble and a base side to every history.
It is time we recognized that belief is not a private matter; it has never been merely private. In fact, beliefs are scarcely more private than actions are, for every belief is a fount of action in potentia.
Religion is a shared quest for the values of the good life, the age-long, groping effect of [humanity] to create the social order in which human powers may flower in joyous fulfillment.
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.
The moral sense reappears today with the same morning newness that has been from of old the fountain of beauty and strength. You say there is no religion now. ‘Tis like saying in rainy weather, There is no sun, when at that moment we are witnessing one of its superlative effects.
The word religion is a word of forced application when used with respect to the worship of God. The root of the word is the Latin verb ligo, to tie or bind. From ligo comes religo, to tie or bind over again, or make more fast–from religo comes substantive religio, which, with the addition of n makes the English substantive religion. The French use the word properly–when a woman enters a convent she is called a noviciat, that is, she is upon trial or probation. When she takes the oath, she called a religieuse, that is, she is tied or bound by that oath to the performance of it. We use the word in the same kind of sense when we say we will religiously perform the promise that we make. But the word, without referring to its etymology, has, in the manner it is used, no definitive meaning, because it does not designate what religion a man is of. There is the religion of the Chinese, of the Tartars, of the Bramins, of the Persians, of the Jews, of the Turks, etc.
You who are journalists, writers, citizens, you have the right and duty to say to those you have elected that they must practice mindfulness, calm and deep listening, and loving speech. This is universal thing, taught by all religions.
This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.