What Are True Spiritual Values?
We all know the answer to that question, really. Deep within us we all know that real and true spiritual values are about peace and love, about charity, generosity, compassion, humility, justice, fairness, good will, mutual respect, understanding, tolerance, forgiveness, and pacifism.
True spiritual values are not necessarily about religion, at least as some people conceive of religion, because they have been led to believe that their religion justifies their quest for personal power, wealth, and domain, rather than counsel them to be relatively selfless and care for all people.
True spiritual values are really about living by the Universal Divine Imperative common to all religions --- Treat others as you would want to be treated if you were them.
It has nothing to do with where you pray, or what name for Divinity you use, or the way you dress.
True spiritual values are about being a loving human being who recognizes all other human beings as brothers and sisters in one family called humanity. And honoring and abiding by real and true spiritual values will ultimately enable the "meek," who are the humble, gentle, peaceful and faithful majority of people in the world, to inherit the earth.
Unfortunately, good, humble, peaceful people cannot inherit the earth as long as arrogantly proud and militant people seek, and even fight and kill, to rule the world.
Fortunately, we have been given a way for the meek to inherit the earth, without fighting, and without being divided by those who fight and compete for power. We are reminded that humble, gentle and wise people do not confront partisans who fight for, win, and abuse political power to serve themselves and their political party and religious sect. Instead, we stand up for truth and advocate justice, fairness, peace, freedom, and equality.
We keep in mind why Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence that:
"Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. Therefore, the people have been more willing to suffer, while abuses and offenses seem bearable, than to free themselves by abolishing the government to which they are accustomed." However, Jefferson continued, "when a long series of abuses of power and offenses are perpetrated by our government, we, the people, have the right and duty to alter and reform it."
That is why it is suggested in the articles titled The 21st Century Declaration of Independence, How the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth and The Future that we need a reformation of government along with a reformation of religion, and the way to do that is elaborately suggested.
The crucial thing about it is that even though we have the right and duty to take power into our own hands when called for, the way to get rid of inept or self-serving or tyrannical, oppressive regimes must now be non-violent. For the "weapons" of the Lord are not carnal or lethal, but they are mighty through God and the Spirit of truth for pulling down even the most powerful military stronghold. And those mighty "weapons" are simply written words of truth, inspired by God and the Spirit of truth.
The truth is that whatever changes moderate politicians may be able to implement would be only temporary, because if we perpetuate this partisan political-economic system, the political pendulum would swing back to the far right again. History would repeat itself as it has so many times before. Yet another proud, militant, "religious" demagogue could rise to power waving the flag, thumping his/her bible, and rattling his/her sword, appealing to the egocentric and ethnocentric worst in us, while claiming to serve God and Country.
That is why a reformation of government and religion is necessary, because it will establish lasting change, great improvement, and lasting peace. And we will save the world only by obeying and abiding by the Universal Divine Imperative, common to all religions.
All great spiritual teachers taught it, in one way or another. Thus Jews are supposed to be taught that we should not do to others what is hurtful to our self. Christians are supposed to be taught to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And Muslims are supposed to be taught that no one is a true believer in Allah until he desires for all others what he desires for himself.
Similarly, Buddhists are taught that we should treat others as we treat our self. Hindus are taught that we should not do unto others anything that, which if it were done to us, would cause us pain. The Taoists are taught that we should regard our neighbor's gain as our own gain, and our neighbor's loss as our own loss. The Baha'i Faith teachers taught that we should ascribe not to any soul that which we would not have ascribed to our self. Followers of Confucius are taught that we should never impose on others what we would not choose for our self. Sikhism teaches that you should be a stranger to no one, that no one should be a stranger to you, and you should be a friend to all. Jainism teaches that we should treat all creatures as we want to be treated. Native Americans believe that we are as much alive as we keep the earth alive. Unitarians affirm and promote respect for the independent web of all existence of which we are a part.
The founders of all other religions have taught the same thing in different ways, because the most essential, eternal truth is the same in any language, and at any time. And the founders of all true religions have also said that the search for the Divine and Holy should be not in the world, but within, and when found it brings forth love that is universal and knows no bounds.
In fact, certain "religious" leaders, claiming to be Christians or Muslims or Jews, are self-important, self-righteous, hypocritical, bigoted, intolerant, aggressive, and even militant, to the point of inciting violence and war. They claim to serve God, and even think they are fighting a "holy war," when they actually "work iniquity in the name of the Lord," just as many prophets, including Jesus, said they would.
Therefore, prophecy cannot be fulfilled as long as the relatively few false shepherds and false prophets have the influence and power to cause so much conflict, division, trouble, violence, death and destruction in the world. And they will have that influence and power as long as their spiritually blind flocks continue to support them, do their bidding, and give them power.
Indeed, we now have "the blind leading the blind," as Jesus put it, because many people are divided by partisan political leaders vying for power over each other, and many people are divided by proud, militant right-wing "conservative" religious leaders who divide, alienate and lead their blind flocks far astray and against others.
Some of these hypocrites claim that they are God's "chosen" people, favored by God over all other human beings.
Some claim that they have been "saved" by God and that everyone else is misguided and lost.
Some, who are even more self-righteous and aggressive, claim that you are doomed unless you accept their beliefs as true and fall into lock step with them in their "holy crusade."
Others even claim that they will earn a reward in heaven if they kill whoever their leaders hate and judge as "godless" and "evil." And the most militant and malicious of these hypocritical religious zealots go to the extreme and claim that committing indiscriminate mass murder is justified when waging a "holy war" or "jihad."
Whether these hypocrites call themselves Christians or Jews or Muslims, they are terribly misguided. Most of their values have little or nothing to do with God. In fact, they are actually driven by the self-serving desire to rule the world in the name of "divine right."
They may actually believe they are doing the right thing, but the truth is that instead of serving God, they really serve what Jesus of Nazareth called "Mammon." That is particularly true in America, where the so-called "religious right" is led by political and religious leaders who crave worldly power, wealth and domain, and they fight and kill for it in the name of what they erroneously call "the true religion" and "God's Will."
There are many reasons why this is so, but the main reason is that they simply have the wrong idea about the purpose of their religion. They ignore the truth and have instead convinced themselves and their blind flocks that they are abiding by God's will. They claim that worldly wealth, power and domain are a "reward from God," and that God wants them to prevail over those they judge as "godless enemies." But they simply ignore the fact that Jesus said we should love even our enemies, and they do not understand that our enemies are often a reflection of our self.
Part of the problem is that organized religions and religious sects have traditionally been patriarchal organizations invested with power for the sake of men in power. But, with the fulfillment of prophecy, this will finally change.
A new Reformation will ensure that all the false beliefs and all the false man-made religious doctrines will be recognized as such, and the misguided and false ideas and notions of patriarchal, theocratic, egocentric, ethnocentric, and spiritually blind groups and individuals will also be recognized and ignored. The essential principles and core values of religions, which are based on universal and eternal truths, will be restored and emphasized.
It will be general knowledge that a true servant of God gives money to the poor and the least of our brethren, and promotes the general welfare of all the people.
The wealthiest few are reminded of what they already know but have denied, that they have fallen into temptation, because the love of money is the root of all evil. They unwittingly suffer from self-delusion. They don't know it is best to love one another, care for one another, share with one another, be charitable, and have faith, love, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, pacifism and meekness. And they don’t know that this is in accordance with the core teachings of all religions.
We are reminded that God is not outside of you, and you do not need to ask God to come inside, into your heart. For what we should seek is already within, not without, and that is consistent with what the Avatar and Buddha and Christ and all other true spiritual teachers have taught.
That is why Jesus of Nazareth advised us that we should: "not do as the hypocrites do, who love to pray standing [or kneeling] in synagogues [and churches and mosques] and on street corners, that they may be seen by men." Instead, Jesus said we should "pray in secret to our God who sees in secret." (Matthew 6:56)
Furthermore, he explained why we should not pray as the hypocrites do, saying: "they honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching the commandments of men for doctrines." (Matthew 15:8-9 and Mark 7:6-7)
In other words, such hypocrites who feign religiosity ignore the universal, eternal truths, and they know not God.
They do not understand that real and true spiritual values are based on the very same core universal, eternal truths upon which all religious values are based.
The great Jewish leader, Hillel the Elder, whose teachings influenced Jesus of Nazareth and his father and mother, Joseph and Mary, understood and taught the Golden Rule, which is why Jesus advise that since we reap what we sow, we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
These teachings and values are at the very core of all genuine religions, because all enlightened ones taught that we should aspire to the values of unconditional love, peace, freedom, honesty, humility, tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, charity, and pacifism.
Much of humanity has ignored those values because religious bigots and hypocrites allow themselves to be ruled by their ego rather than follow their heart. Even though they may believe they are true to God and their religion, they actually betray God and their religion, and they make divisive, bigoted claims of religious superiority and authority. They are egocentric, and spiritually blind.
Typically, religious bigots and hypocrites tend to be arrogant, and they presumptuously assume that you do not know God. Some of them think they need to preach to you, and some of them think that they need to convince everyone that their idea of religion is the only correct one. But they ignore the Golden Rule and the Universal Divine Imperative.
After all, they would not want others to assume that they do not know God, and they certainly would not want others to preach to them or tell them their idea of religion is wrong. That is, in fact, presumptuous and even rude and hypocritical, because it ignores the Golden Rule.
They also ignore the reason why Jesus said we should not do as hypocrites do, who pray for the ears of men. That is making an egocentric and vain show of being "holy" and "reverent," when we really should humbly and unpretentiously go within and pray in secret to our God who hears in secret, just as Jesus and all other true spiritual teachers have taught.
In America, religious hypocrites seek and fight for worldly wealth, power and domain in the name of God and the Christ Jesus. But they betray God because they judge and condemn others as evil, and they strive to destroy evil by living by the sword (gun and bomb). And they tend to do it aggressively and offensively, not defensively or as a last resort. They tend to do it not to serve and protect, but to rule and control.
Right-wing religious hypocrites in America falsely claim that the Founding Fathers intended to create a "Christian" Theocracy, and they claim that the U.S. Constitution was not intended to establish a wall of separation between church and state. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Thomas Jefferson, perhaps the greatest Founding Father, wrote: "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and State."
Jefferson also wrote: "Religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions."
Furthermore, Jefferson was certainly not alone. In fact, Jefferson, along with John Adams, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and other founding fathers, spoke out against the religious bigotry of the "Christian" Right of their day, and they were adamant that government be free of theocratic intrusion or imposition of religion into government.
Most of America’s Founding Fathers held fast to spiritual values, but they were generic and universal in their terminology in writing the Constitution, purposely avoiding the use of names used in particular religions, and instead using terms like "Creator" and "Divine Providence." (See the articles on Ignored American History, and Quotes of the Founding Fathers.)
The American "Christian Right" simply ignores the truth, and in that respect they are much like the misguided, rigidly "conservative" Muslim sects. Their attitudes, traditions and values are extremely prudish, strict, limiting, inhibiting, repressive, and even oppressive and persecutory. They are not based on real knowledge and love of God, but on the patriarchal dictates of men who want to play ruler, god and judge, and claim they are doing it in the name of God.
Thomas Jefferson's view was much the same. He wrote: "The returning good sense of our country threatens [the fundamentalist clergy] and they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me, and enough too in their opinion, and this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me. . ."
Jefferson incurred the wrath of the "Christian Right" in his day because he did not hide his disdain for them. He dared to echo the feelings of many of his fellow educated men of faith, as when he wrote: "Whenever preachers, instead of a lesson in religion, put [their congregations] off with a discourse on the construction of government, or the characters or conduct of those administering it, it is a breach of contract."
Clearly, Jefferson felt that preachers should not use their pulpit as a partisan political soap box, especially when their personal beliefs were presented as divine fact. Jefferson stood up to their political grandstanding cloaked in religion, and he exposed their "tyrannical" aggression and imposition. And they hated him for it.
Unfortunately, the current American "Christian Right" has been far more successful, politically. During the last thirty five years they have gained a lot of political control, from local school boards to state legislatures to Congress, and even to the White House twice. That's why their religious bigotry, hypocrisy and error must be exposed.
However, whether the leaders of the "Religious Right" call themselves Christians or Jews or Muslims, they are wrong. They simply ignore the true, universal core values and principles they are supposed to teach and abide by. They should all teach that we should live by the paramount Golden Rule and the Universal Divine Imperative, for only then will we have real equality, peace, harmony, cooperation, collaboration, and prosperity for all.