The Disconnect

I came across an interesting statement made by in London by Sir Wilfred Lawson at the last Congress of Universal Peace in 1890:

I am surprised at the way religion is carried on in this country. You send a boy to Sunday school, and you tell him: ‘Dear boy, you must love your enemies. If another boy strikes you, you mustn’t hit him back, but try to reform him by loving him.’ Well. The boy stays in Sunday school till he is fourteen or fifteen, and then his friends send him into the army. What has he to do in the army? He certainly won’t love his enemy; quite the contrary, if he can only get at him, he will run him through with his bayonet. That is the nature of all religious teaching in this country. I do not think that that is a very god way of carrying out the precepts of religion. I think if it is a good thing for a boy to love his enemy, it is good for a grown-up man.

This picture seems drawn from the world today. As in Lawson’s day, we pride ourselves on our alleged “progress,” but when you strip away the thin veneer of material developments and advances in our struggle against the environment, you see that our animal nature continues to have ascendancy over our soul.

Science, the new infallible religion, excuses man’s abuses under the pretext that he is the product of evolutionary forces and is therefore better than he’s ever been. Just as a religious zealot wags his finger at those he judges to be heathens, that is, those who hold beliefs outside of his creed, dogmatic acolytes of science wave away the possibility of a higher state of being and consequently, of living.

What have we come to? Or perhaps the more useful question is, “What haven’t we come to?” And why haven’t we? In my observation, the larger part of religious men don’t really seem to believe in the doctrine of loving their enemies, for starters. The Christian church has spent the last 2,000 years urging people to join the fight against the devil and his earthly representatives, so why would the individual members of the Church see life any differently?

Everyone knows that it is hard to sell a product that you don’t believe in. Children, if I can extrapolate my own experience onto the population of my peers, are good at telling the difference between the transference of genuine, deep-rooted feeling and a snow job. Put these two facts together and it is easy to understand why we have the longstanding disconnect which runs through economic, political and international life: the hypocrisy to which Lawson was alluding.

Repair this disconnect and you create the conditions through which a new world would soon be born.

6 thoughts on “The Disconnect

  • The do as I say not as I do approach to parenting will never succeed in raising a more enlightened generation. Children learn what they live. I listen to people rail about how wars fought in the name of certain religions are in fact against the very tenets of them. I’d say the whole world is tarred with that brush. Some cultures in their quest to be certain the newer generation will pick up their cause teach hate and violence as the answer from the beginning. The disconnected methods are no more advanced. Poignant post and its obviousness makes it more so.

  • Indeed – and well said. The space free of prejudice and short-circuits has to exist in us first before we can ever hope to have a world ‘in perfect harmony.’ These contradictions are the big elephants and 800 lb gorillas that not many people are willing to notice and talk about, much less DO something about that is meaningful, for what has to naturally occur is a challenge to authority by virtue of making these crooked paths straight. We all by instinct want to fit in, but there’s no fit when you start realizing the extent of the hole we are digging ourselves into. The stakes are way too high in my opinion to continue to forsake these glaring inconsistencies.

    My great passion in life is to forge this new balance. I’ve chosen my field where to help in this endeavor as we all must, and I pray that I remain faithful and dedicated as the days roll on. I know however that genuine service to others keeps me pure, so these prayers of mine just don’t go out willy nilly and only in an emotional hope; checks and balances are present for my daily review to keep me honest and on track.

    Great stuff here

  • Your words provide the transference of that genuine deep rooted feeling that connects us to the reality of ourselves. Here is the place to live from. It is a place of rest and wholeness. Thank you for your healing words today.

  • Why do you generalize as you do? I have meet and spoken in depth to many people that claim they are “Christians” and their beliefs and characters vary drastically. To lump all “Christians” together and make a judgement is as wrong as saying all Hindus or all Muslims or all Mexicans are this or that. Beyond that, what/who really is a “Christian”? That term was only used a few times in the Bible and it was used in a derogatory manner and never used by Jesus’ followers as a way to identify themselves. They called themselves “disciples”. For someone that generally sees the best in people and situations, I don’t understand this perspective.

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