Religion




Perhaps you are not ready for this news. And it is not news: it is as old as can be. That there is only one God. And perhaps you will claim that your God is God; and that other people's God is not. But there is only one God.

The importance of the differences in the religions depend on what you see as important.

As I see that the overriding message in the Abrahamic religions is that there is only one God who created, sustains and Loves us, and that we are to accept this Love which purifies us, giving us True Life that even resurrects us, and gives us the strength to Love God and others. And as I see all prayers, theological "understandings" of God and of all the prophets, and customs, rituals, traditions, religious laws and rules just tools to help us move towards the Love of God, I see no significant difference between any of the Abrahamic religions. The message is Love, the rest is tribal.

Religion fails when it's people make it's tribal loves more important than the Love of God. This is blasphemy, this is idolatry, this is associating things with God.

This is addressed firstly to those who believe in God, the God of Abraham, and after that, but by no means less important, to those who believe in something else or say they believe in nothing.

Firstly for those who believe in the God of Abraham.

Religion is a tool given to us to help us know God. It is the knowing and being with God that is important. Life with God is eternal. But religion is not eternal, it is just the tool to use now.

Be aware that we can use our religious traditions to make us think we are doing God's will when all we are really doing is wriggling out of God's command to Love. What is prayer if it bears no fruit? It is not prayer, it is self-indulgence. What is religion if it does not bear God's fruit, it is not good, it is self-indulgence.

And what is good? God is good. And what is God. God is Love and Truth.

If someone insults our religion it is their loss, not ours. If someone insults Love and Truth and acts with Hate and Lies then their work is with Satan and God will put them right. But it is not up to us to put them right coercively.

Our religion prompts us to Love and Truth. If we are insulted our religion should prompt us to react with Love and Truth. But so often people of religion react with Hate and Lies and then call this God’s will. It is not God’s will, it is Satan’s will.

If we are being attacked and persecuted (which means people are coming to attack us with weapons because we believe in Love and Truth) then we can defend ourselves or emigrate. The Quran mentions cowards who do not fight. But the Prophet says that if the people stop attacking us and sincerely make peace and refrain from attacking, we should accept peace and not fight them.

But persecution by being attacked with weapons does not mean, and is not the same thing as, being insulted or people mocking our religion. That is not persecution, that is simply being mocked or insulted. People do this to us but they still want peace with us and do want to attack us or make it difficult for us to practice our religion. Being mocked and insulted should not make it harder to practice our religion, The Prophet clearly tells us how to behave when people mock the religion of those who put their faith in God, “The servants of the Merciful are those who walk the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace.” ”

And, “Many of the People of the Book wish to turn you back into unbelievers after you have believed, out of envy on their part, after the Truth has become clear to them. But pardon and overlook, until Allah brings His command. Allah has power over all things.”

And, “Do not insult those they call upon besides Allah, lest they insult Allah out of hostility and ignorance. We made attractive to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them of what they used to do.”

And, “And among them are those who insult the Prophet, and say, “He is all ears.” Say, “He listens for your own good. He believes in Allah, and trusts the believers, and is mercy for those of you who believe.” Those who insult the Messenger of Allah will have a painful penalty.” It is Allah who will provide a painful penalty for those who choose Hate over Love, it is not you. To those who insult the Prophet, you are to reply, “He listens for your own good. He believes in Allah, and trusts the believers, and is mercy for those of you who believe.”

And “do not obey the blasphemers and the hypocrites, and ignore their insults, and rely on Allah. Allah is a sufficient protector.”

Never in the Quran does it say people should provide punishment to unbelievers who insult the Truth, be it the Prophet or the religion he gave the Arab speaking people. It always says that God will do this. And this is important because it is only Allah that truly knows our hearts.

No, we who have been called by God have been invited to act better than this as the Prophet says, “O you who believe! No people shall ridicule other people, for they may be better than they. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than they. Nor shall you slander one another, nor shall you insult one another with names. Evil is the return to wickedness after having attained faith. Whoever does not repent - these are the wrongdoers.”

But some of you do not want to ignore the insults. Some of you want to be violent and attack those who insult the Prophet or the religion but this is not God’s will. This is Satan’s will. This violent behaviour is no different to football hooliganism. It is passionate, from the heart, arousing and it is also self serving, selfish, ignorant and if it becomes violent it is hatred’s work and does not reflect God’s work. Remember that God has a place for those who act from hate.

To respond with violence to those who insult the Prophet by word or image is not what the Prophet has told us to do.

When a Muslim or Christian or Jew or any other who say they put their faith in the God of Abraham pray, it does not necessarily mean their prayers are good. It is how prayers are said. Just because you say prayers does not mean you are praying.

Remember, “The hypocrites try to deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing off in front of people, and remembering Allah only a little.”

And remember, “Successful are the believers. Those who are humble in their prayers.” so not those who are proud in their prayers.

And remember, “So woe to those who pray. Those who are heedless of their prayers. Those who put on the appearance. And withhold the assistance.”

Doing religious tasks does not mean being good. Why are you doing these tasks? Are you doing them for God or for yourself? What is God? God is Love and Truth.

“And do not allow your oaths in Allah's name to hinder you from virtue, and righteousness, and making peace between people. Allah is Listener and Knower.” Do you understand this? It means virtue, righteousness and making peace between people is more important than your oaths in Allah’s name.

There is so much to say, but it is only because some prefer hate to love, and so they interpret scripture in this way.

Let's get straight to the point. What is God?

God is Love and Truth.

You might say something else, and there are other things to say, but they cannot be contrary to this. And if you say things contrary to God being Love and Truth I believe you have not understood God's revelation to us. God is also indescribable. God is our Creator, Sustainer, and God is to Whom we return. This is not contrary to science. This is beyond the science of humankind and therefore not worth the bother of scientists. They have nothing useful to say about God, but they have a lot of useful things to say about God's creation.

So if God is not known by science how is God known? God is known by faith, revelation. God is known by Love. For this reason knowledge of God is always personal. Why do some have knowledge of God and some don’t? Because God draws to Himself Whom He wills. For this reason there can be no compulsion in religion, and he who says otherwise works with Satan and not God. Do you really want to ignore this?

So God is our Father. But this should not be seen as a male as opposed to female. For God is also our Mother as God is the Creator and Sustainer of all. And remember that God is also indescribable, so let us not be bogged down worrying about pronouns.

And this is where it all goes wrong. We start to worry about other things. And then we forget about God. We can try and avoid God who is Life, Love and Truth by busying ourselves with other things that do not demand that we change our ways.

So don’t worry about pronouns – concern yourself with the Love of God.

Do not worry about the religion you were brought up with, all those different ‘beliefs’ that are part of your religion and not a part of another's – your religion will work if you concern yourself with the Love of God. And as God is Love, let’s just say concern yourself with God. Every action, every decision, put it before God and ask for God’s blessing. If you do this sincerely God will remind you of Truth and will guide your behaviour.

You do not get points for doing religious things. You move closer to God when you Love.

Your actions; are they for you? Are they motivated by anger, revenge, pride, a desire to hurt others? If they are, how can they be of God? Are they hateful or are are they of Love?

Your actions; are they for you? Are they selfish? Are they motivated by gluttony or greed or slothfulness or lust or wrath or envy or pride? If they are, how can they be of God? Are they hateful or are are they of Love?

And here you might argue that God’s Love is punishment and that you are ordained to do it. If so you have made this up to suit your selfishness. God’s punishment is God’s and not yours. And His punishment for us is only our confrontation with Truth and Love. This confrontation is the hell and greatest pain for Liars and Haters. How His Love will burn, but only to burn out Lies and Hate.

All the religions have been given to us to help us turn to God and therefore to get to know God in our lives. But it is not the religion that is the reason for its own importance because the religion will one day pass away. It is getting to know God that is important, being with God, making God our refuge, for this will never fade away. Getting to know God is being touched by Love and Truth so we act with His Love and Truth.

Religion is a tool. Do you really think it will be necessary after the Last Day when all we Love is God for ever? Here on this earth we need to daily remind ourselves of God’s Love, and morning and evening have shown to be good times for this. And so religion can be helpful. But this is because here on earth we are weak. But even here on earth if we stay in God we are strong. And let us not pretend that religion is always helpful. The many religious institutions on earth have often done Satan's work; can you really deny this? God is good. God alone is good. And we are good only if we remain in God because of God, but when we turn away from God we are not good. Seeking refuge (only) in God is eternal Life.

This does not mean that religion has no part to play. How else would we hear the scriptures? But it is not hearing the scriptures that bring us to God, for many hear the scriptures and many of those do Satan’s work instead.

What is Satan’s work? Satan’s work is lies, hate, revenge, greed, contempt for God’s creation, ingratitude and all that separates us from Love. All that separates us from Truth. All that separates us from God. And as there is only one God, this also means all that separates us from each other. For we would know our oneness if we all knew our God.

When we see anybody of any culture of any religion praying to the God of Abraham why do we not melt with joy? There is only one God.

In all these cultures, traditions and religions, God has made known that what He wants is mercy, not sacrifice, that the sabbath [i.e. religious law] is made for people and not people for the sabbath. You know the Prophet's words, " Do you consider giving water to pilgrims and maintaining the Sacred Mosque the same as believing in Allah and the Last Day and striving in Allah’s path? They are not equal in Allah’s sight. Allah does not guide the unjust people."

Be aware that we can use our religious traditions to make us think we are doing God's will when all we are doing is wriggling out of God's command to Love. What is prayer if it bears no fruit? It is not prayer, it is self-indulgence. What is religion if it does not bear God's fruit, it is not good, it is self-indulgence. The Prophet also writes in the context of the time he lived,

"Righteousness does not consist of turning your faces towards the East and the West. But righteous is he who believes in Allah, and the Last Day, and the angels, and the Scripture, and the prophets. Who gives money, though dear, to near relatives, and orphans, and the needy, and the homeless, and the beggars, and for the freeing of slaves; those who perform the prayers, and pay the obligatory charity, and fulfil their promise when they promise, and patiently persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and in the time of conflict. These are the sincere; these are the pious."

The Prophet warns us repeatedly not to associate things with God, for God alone is God. And how often are religious customs raised to things just as important as God? Isn't this blasphemy? Some of these traditions have become idols in their own way.

Traditions, customs; are you the one who makes these more important than God's message? Is it right that you associate anything with God? God is above traditions and customs! That we Worship none but God, not traditions; and that we be good to parents, and relatives, and orphans, and the needy; and speak nicely to people; and pray regularly, and give alms. This is God's Will. Where did you pick up that you should hate and kill to preserve your way of doing things, your culture and traditions? And then call this God's will? Your traditions and cultures will all pass away. God's Love will not.

Are not Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed in heaven? Is not God the God of the living? Do you think they fight? Do you think that any of them have hate for each other or for the Jews or for the Christians or for the Muslims or for any human? Do they not have tears of joy for the Love of God? And would they not fall on their knees in tearful happiness together and embrace because of their Love of God? You say there is one God, and this is true, but does this not mean that He is the God of all people whatever their religion or belief or actions? These others might put their faith in fake gods, but God remains their God whether they know this or not. And does not God Love them too? And who knows the hearts of all these people? Do you? No you do not. God knows the hearts of people and God will judge the hearts of people.

Is it not written that those who believe, those who are Jewish, and Christian, and Sabean, any who believe in God and the Last Day, and act righteously will have their reward with their Lord and they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve? Do you say otherwise?

Some fight about if Jesus is God or not. But again this is turning away from the Love of God to concern oneself with things one does not know. Are you this person? What do you know of God and what limitations do you put upon God? Let’s look at what Jesus did. Did he act apart from God's Will? Did not God strengthen Jesus with the Holy Spirit? Did not the Angels say, "O Mary, God gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, well-esteemed in this world and the next, and one of the nearest. He will speak to the people from the crib, and in adulthood, and will be one of the righteous." She said, "My Lord, how can I have a child, when no man has touched me?" He said, "It will be so. God creates whatever He wills. To have anything done, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is." And He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel?" So let us be concerned with what we are told is Jesus’ message, which is the same as the Prophet's, which is to love God and share His Love and Truth via our behaviour, our words and actions.

God is saying continually that we should Love Him and Love our neighbour. What is God? God is Truth and Love. So let us put this before all our customs and traditions which, no matter how old or beautiful they might be in our eyes, are only man's way of remembering God, Whose first command is that we Love each other.

So if any person prays to the God of Abraham, and puts God first in their lives and loves their neighbour, from any culture or tradition, let us kneel or bow with them to God in joy.

As Christians and Muslims let us Love the Jews, God's chosen, because God chose them to first reveal Himself. As Jews, let us love the Christians and Muslims and all who believe in the Abrahamic God, because they have been called to worship the One True God.

Or are you still of those people who will readily find any excuse not to Love, and prefer to separate and then to hate, to find discord, and so to follow Satan who is the trickster?

If you want find hate you will find hate. If you want to find love you will find love.

God's message is Love. If it was not, why would we seek refuge in Him?

“Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.”



Now to those who believe in something else or nothing.

May Truth and Love be with you.

God has not made Himself known to you but to others. And you know that many of those who claim to know God have shown you the most appalling witness to Truth and Love.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam, though proclaiming they have the true insight into Love and Truth have sometimes practised greed, lust, hate, envy, slothfulness, gluttony and wrath throughout the ages.

The pain the various religious institutions have given, like all pain, can be responded to by a desire to forgive and heal, or a desire to hate, grow in resentment and revenge and so get worse. If you have been treated badly, don’t let your response put you in a worse situation.

Forgiveness is as much for your sake as for those you forgive. If you choose not to forgive, you hold hate and inwardly you slowly die. Love can heal this pain and where are you going to get it? Will even those who love us most on earth have enough love for us to heal us? And we will even lose them through death. And how do those who do not have people to love them on earth cope and heal? Do you really think the Healthcare services offer this love? That might be the pathetic claim of Healthcare management who in reality are led by economics and fear. So where is this needed love going to come from. Or do you say it’s not here and that is this as good as it gets?

In a world with so much anxiety, pain, uncertainty, loss of identity, fear, lack of self-respect or worth, and mental illness, we need this Love. Unconditional Love.

Putting the whole notion of God aside, could you put your faith in Truth and Love and gain the strength from this to live this Truth and Love and heal? Could you have faith that Truth and Love actually loves you and knows you as an individual? Or is this to you just as ‘silly’ as having faith in God? But without faith in Love, how are we to have the strength to love?

And you might say that religion has been around for centuries and the religious peoples don’t love like this, an unwavering strong Love. No they don’t because for centuries religious people have put the faith in their religion and not God and a lot are so blind they can’t distinguish the difference. But always there have been some who have put their faith in Love and Truth and their lives have born witness to it.

If faith in God does not make sense to you, think of it as faith in Love and Truth. If religious people's actions are not born from Love and Truth you can tell them that they have turned away from their God. And if they show hate towards you even if you mock and insult them, tell them this is not how their God has said they should behave and that they have no grounds to say God supports them. We, who are believers, are to ignore your mocking and insults and see them as so irrelevant to us that they do not upset us. What should upset us, us who have faith in God, is that you the unbeliever, an unbeliever of Love and Truth, will not have the joy of Love in your heart. It is often said that Islam is militant. It is only militant when others attack Muslims for their faith. And attack does not mean insult or mock, it means attack and take away their means of livelihood. At the time of the Prophet, Muslims were regularly attacked and had their livelihood taken from them. And this is why it is so reflected in the Quran.

As you won't find any scientific proof of God's existence, neither, I believe, will you find the fullness of Love needed to heal individuals and the world unless you put your faith in God.