How do I deal with the religious conflict in the Middle East?
We would like to further develop the previous message, What is a spiritual response to a world crisis?, beginning with the history of conflict in the area called the Middle East and how it ties in with religion, particularly the three major monotheistic ones: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The story begins with the oldest of the three, Judaism, and the tale, as told in the Old Testament, of Abraham. He was told to take his people to the land that is now Israel, and to begin a new religion that honored the one God. This land was not empty. From the outset we had somebody guided for religious reasons to take over a land that belonged to someone else. This Jewish god demanded obedience; there were severe consequences for breaking his laws. Years later, the story tells us, the Hebrews left and went to Egypt where they became enslaved, then, following generations of captivity, broke free behind Moses’ leadership. Forty years after this, they returned to the “Promised Land” and, again, other people were living there. In the name of god, they fought for and won this land. Over the next 1200 years there was a nearly constant state of war with other religions, mostly not monotheistic, for control of this land.
At times the Jews lost control and were subjugated. This was the case when Jesus was born, with the Romans controlling this land. Jesus was a Jew, we could say a rabbi, and not a Christian. He did not start a religion. But many who were not Jews began to follow some of his ideas, primarily through the influence of Paul. Thus, began the religion called Christianity, which was only loosely based on the words of Jesus. The half of his sayings that were eliminated were partially replaced by the inclusion of Old Testament, or Jewish beliefs. However, the wisdom of Jesus had little to do with the Ten Commandments or the idea of a “chosen people”. Jesus’s message was simply one of unconditional love and of personal divinity, that held everyone as divine. You love your enemy, because in truth you have no enemy. His teaching was at one with my teaching, as he was my teacher. However, historically, Christianity became the wolf in sheep’s clothing. The unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus transformed into a pattern of war and conquest.
Along came Mohammad and Islam, also tracing their roots to Judaism. Jesus was held as a prophet, but not as the son of God. On the one hand they were right; there is nothing special about Jesus over anyone else. What they missed, as did the Jews and the Christians, is that everyone else is as special as Jesus, that we are all sons and daughters of God. So, you had three different groups claiming to have the true knowledge of God, asserting ownership to the heart of their religion, Jerusalem. Over the years there has been a constant conflict over “the Holy Land”. When we talk about this dispute, we are not talking about all Jews, all Christians, and all Muslims. The clash is between those who could be called the fundamentalists of their respective religions. Fundamentalism results when fear is the basis of religious belief, rather than love. They are afraid of God and prostrate themselves before the divine. They do not respect themselves or see that they can find the truth within. Fundamentalists go to the sacred texts and claim them to be direct revelations of the thoughts of God. They try to find in the text the truth of what God wants them to do. They have the fear that the failure to do God’s bidding will bring His judgment down upon them.
Today, Jewish fundamentalism is responsible for many of the policies of the Israeli government and its refusal to provide a home for Islam in the Holy Land. Islamic fundamentalism is responsible for terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. Christian fundamentalism, which has a particularly strong influence on the government of the United States, accepts neither Judaism nor Islam as true religions. Even in Europe are found judgments about Islam and Judaism, seeing the former as intolerant and terroristic, and the latter as controlling international money. That is the situation as it appears to exist today.
I am speaking to you as neither a Jew, a Muslim, nor a Christian, but as a divine child of God, because that is all there is. If you look at these three religions, you will find that the majority of their followers are not fundamentalists. They are trying to find a place of unconditional love and acceptance through the tenets of their religion. They want people to take care of each other. We have just heard the Pope come to the United States with a message to share the wealth, to work to end the vast differences between the haves and the have-nots. This has always been the message of Muhammad, as it has been a tradition within Judaism.
All of this comes back around to and hinges on the teachings of Jesus. Yes, Jesus said to take care of the poor, but his deepest message is the one that is the key to the whole situation in the Middle East. This was to love your enemy, and in fact to see, in truth, that you have no enemy. He was talking about the concept of the “mirror” as I have shared with you on many occasions. What you judge in another is what you judge in yourself. It can be no other way. To bring peace to the Middle East you first find it in your heart to love every single person there unconditionally. Let go of your judgment. Let go of your belief that any child of God could be a victim – not the refugees, not those who are imprisoned or tortured or murdered, not those soldiers who have been physically or emotionally damaged. There are no victims here. The way you care for people is by seeing the divinity in them. When you see their divinity, you cannot see them as a victim. You don’t have to travel to the Middle East to accomplish this peace. At the same time, as you hold on to your judgments, you are feeding the fire there.
Drop all stereotyping. If you notice that you are having thoughts about a person because of their religion, let them go. Let your thoughts be about the individual, rather than the group they represent. Then, look into that individual’s heart and see who he or she is as a unique child of God. If you find that there is a part that you have difficulty loving unconditionally, that is the part of yourself that you judge. Do the work on yourself, not on them. This is how you bring peace to the world. You don’t have to leave your own living room. It is not about arguing with others or convincing them. If you hear prejudicial statements, notice if they upset you. If they do, the healing is to take place within you, not within the other. Use some process to move the energy. It can be the five-step process, Ho’oponopono, A Course in Miracles, or whatever works for you. There is no one way. The belief that there is one way leads to fundamentalism. If you think that your spiritual techniques are superior, you are feeding the flames in the Middle East. It is okay. All on earth is illusion anyway. However, you will not experience your own ascension while holding feelings of superiority or inferiority.
Remember that it isn’t real. In the atrocities that you hear or read about, no souls were injured in the production of that movie. These are all divine, immortal, eternal children of God. There is no damage. The part of you that feels that there was damage is the place to begin your healing. It is the place within you that doubts your own divinity and what Jesus taught when he said, “This and more you shall do”. This and more than what Jesus did. Let the peace begin with you. Know that it is all perfect. It is all as it should be, exactly what you need in order to experience your personal divinity.
God Blesses You,