I would like to present a bit of Peace Pilgrim wisdom today. Peace Pilgrim walked the country for peace from 1953 to 1981 talking to all who would listen about peace in the world. When she walked she wasn’t identified with any religion but her background was with the Quaker community, a pacifist church that I associated with for a while. There my convictions concerning peace were deepened. Here is what she writes about religion:
Religion is not an end in itself. One’s union with God is the ultimate goal. There are so many religions because immature people tend to emphasize trivial differences instead of important likenesses. Differences between faiths lie in creeds and rituals rather than religious principles.
How diverse the many paths seem to be at times, but do they not all come together eventually upon the same mountaintop? Are they not all striving for the same thing?
If you are guided toward faith, use it a stepping stone to God, not as a barrier between yourself and God’s other children or as a tower to hold you aloft from others.
When we attempt to isolate another we only isolate ourselves. We are all God’s children and there are not favorites. God is revealed to all who seek; God speaks to all who will listen. Be still and know God.
I am a deeply religious person, but I belong to no denomination. I follow the spirit of God’s law, not the letter of the law. One can become so attached to the outward symbols and structure of religion that one forgets its original intent – to bring one closer to God. We can only gain access to the Kingdom of God by realizing it dwells within us as well as in all humanity. Know that we are all cells in the ocean of infinity, each contributing to the others’ welfare.
- Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Works in Her Own Words
These are difficult times. I understand the fear that people feel at times, but I am troubled by the use of religion to increase division and hatred. This is not what religion is meant to do. As Peace says, religion should bring us closer to God and to all of God’s creatures. Any religion, in my opinion, that fosters hatred and division is a false religion. I meet people all the time who claim to be Christian yet preach exclusiveness and judgment. I know they are not Christian. Anyone who truly follows Jesus will love others as he did.