“We should like there to be an element which is timeless, which is not the self, which, we hope, will come and intercede and destroy the self– and which we call God,” (J. Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom, pg. 80.) Throughout the history of humanity the individual has searched for truth, searched for order and meaning in a chaotic world. Humanity has relied on the power of faith, and the belief of salvation to reconcile their sinful nature and reach a spiritual purity to the likeness of their deity. Through time, divided cultures developed divided religions. Can we truly do away with intolerance, extremism, and religious warfare? Can we truly recognize the fabric of existence that weaves us together into a unified, unique people? Or will we forever more struggle under the strain of discrimination and indifference?
For most of the 20th century, religion was viewed in a more traditional nature. In America, Catholic parents raised Catholic children; Baptist parents raised Baptist children etc, no exceptions. However, as the 20th century faded away and the 21st century could be seen just over the horizon, religion in the family began to take a modern open-minded aspect. Now, many parents are more open to what their children believe. I believe this shows that we are continually changing radically in the way we think and the way we view the world. These radical changes are necessary for the evolution and progression of the human race.
As previously mentioned, over time, divided cultures developed divided religions. There are numerous unique religions worldwide. Can we really ever say there is a true, correct religion? I do not believe there ever can be. I believe that there are only correct religions for the cultures that relate to them. There are so many various religions because the human race has so many various cultures. Despite the many differences in religion, there is an overlying similarity to them all: faith, love, and peace. I believe that no matter what the religion of focus the objective of religion remains the same: bring order to chaos.
In every major world religion there are extremists. Extremists are those avid, strict, practitioners whom believe that their religion is the only true religion and that other religions are merely blasphemous. In many cases extremists are violent. They justify their acts of violence in the name of their god/gods. Some examples of extremism (but not limited to) are: the Spanish Inquisition, Roman and Nazi German execution of Jews, Islamic terrorism etc. All of these acts of extremism are the result of misinterpretation of the true meaning and message of religion. The only way to end the conflict that the division of religion creates is to realize that they are all united to serve one purpose. The intention of religion is to bring order; yet, through misuse and extremism there is chaos.
Furthermore, some philosophers such as Jiddu Krishnamurti would argue that the division of belief (and belief itself) creates conflict. Krishnamurti, in his writings and lectures, constantly stressed that where there is division there is conflict, not only in the world, but in the individual as well. “Furthermore, belief invariably divides people: there is the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Christian, the communist, the socialist, the capitalist and so on. Belief, idea, divides; it never brings people together. You may bring a few people together in a group but that group is opposed to another group,” (J. Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom, pg. 206.) Krishnamurti expressed that we must do away with our beliefs, ideals, preconceptions, and prejudices. All of these are instilled upon us by our unique culture and society. Therefore, we have a limited perspective of the world, of truth. One thing he mentions is the art of listening. He explains how we listen through all that is instilled into us. “But unfortunately most of us listen through a screen of resistance. We are screened with prejudices, whether religious or spiritual, psychological or scientific; or with our daily worries, desires, and fears. Therefore, we listen really to our own noise, our own sound, not to what is being said,” (J. Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom, pg. 19).
Conclusively, I believe the future of religion will evolve radically. Religion will break from its traditional binds and mold to the modern world. Conflict as a result of its division will most likely continue, however, we can hope that some will look past its numerous differences and realize the true intentions of spirituality. When needed most, faith will be there. When not needed, it will be met with skepticism. Despite all of this, the individual will continue on its search for truth, meaning, and ultimately discover the world and its complications in the simplest of expressions: LIFE.