Is Islam a threat to spirituality? I am very disturbed by the intolerance and dogmatism that I witness among fundamentalists.
God is playing all the roles on the stage of history. All creation and every one of us are manifestations of God’s consciousness. The great drama of life has for its purpose the simple fact that it is simply that: a great drama. The purpose of God’s creation is to offer humans the opportunity and choice to reawaken to our soul’s remembrance. We can wander from God for what might as well be seen as an eternity (though it is not).
Just as all humans are in different stages of remembrance (of holiness, of the three gunas: tamas, rajas, and sattwa), so religions descend from various states of consciousness especially according to that of their respective founders and according to the needs and application of those who embrace that religion.
The problem isn’t so much religion as people! Yes, in an outward sense, it is obvious that a great conflict between Islam and other religions (Christianity and Hinduism, esp) is in motion and has been for perhaps a thousand years. Between 1200 AD and 1600 AD the Islamic nations almost conquered Europe and the last siege of Vienna was supposed to have been (it failed) a steppingstone to continue on to Rome to establish the Caliphate at the very heart of Christianity.
Yet have not all religions contained large elements of persecution, ignorance, and slaughter? The relatively recent massacres at time of Indian independence are just one of countless examples. The persecution and massacre of Jews by Christians is yet another example. Christian crusaders engaged in just as much slaughter as their Muslim opponents.
The conflicts are also primarily cultural: the existing conflict between Islam and the West is not really so much religious as cultural. The precepts of the Koran can be lived in peace or lived in conflict according to the interpretation and consciousness of its followers. There have been great saints in Islam too. People are people everywhere and souls are souls for eternity.
Nonetheless, I venture to say that the backwardness of ALL religious fundamentalists (whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist) must also be confronted and uplifted. Hopefully and mostly by exchange of consciousness, but also through the material means of education, travel and technology, and the admixture of people living together in all the nations of the earth.
The narrowness of dogmatism is at war with the expansive vision of a new age (Dwapara Yuga). And in this, too, a great conflict is underway. It may be more outwardly obvious in the political and cultural clashes between east and west but it takes place in people’s hearts and minds; in cities and communities around the world.
There are wonderful and enlightened and peaceful Muslims just as there are in every other religion and every other nation. There are also those who are angry, bitter, dogmatic, and violent. This is the nature of human consciousness at this time in history and it is not the sole domain of any religion.
So, “Lift up your eyes unto the hills from which cometh the Lord!” See the world and history from the God’s eye view that we are ALL ONE: “Tat twam asi” say the Hindu scriptures. The drama of life must play itself out endlessly so that one by one individual souls awaken to the trick, the illusion of dwaita (duality), that this God’s great lila and you and I must play our part with integrity, devotion, and God-mindedness.
Do not hate; hate brings you into the league of hateful hearts wherever they reside and with whatever clothes they wear and prayers they might chant. The greatest teaching is this: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul and strength; and, love thy neighbor as thy (very) Self.
Joy and blessings to you,
Seattle WA USA