The fences (rules) of the religions of the world are somewhat similar. Have you noticed that?
By definition, the rules of religion are the dogma, doctrine, or set of beliefs taught by a religious entity, whether that be a denomination, or sect. Of course, political parties, institutions of higher education, civic organizations and others can have dogmatic rules of order too, but for purposes of this discussion, I’ll limit my scope to faith oriented groups.
The rules of engagement can be based on written texts, such as the Holy Bible, of which exist a variety of translations and versions, but also taught by example. Before written texts, the rules were passed down through repetitive stories.
If you attend a synagogue, mosque, or church, you by no doubt, know there are many rules you should follow–whether you believe in all of them or not.
Short version: Fences (rules) are restricting. Is it any wonder that we are so divided?
I believe we’ve been restricted (and segregated) for far too long. It is time to think deeper, broader.
When I think of God, I’m referring to LIMITLESS Omniscience. I use the name “God” in this article as it is the most widely known name to represent the Highest Sacred diety, Creator, or Source.
Every religion seems to define God differently. Some, even say that God is the personage of Jesus–and then go about portraying Jesus in different ways. Even with all the variety of beliefs, I stand by the fact that We Are All Connected. And I feel people (with or without faith) have more in common than we realize.
To me, the point is that each of us should be a living testimony of God because we are a fractal of Omniscience. Taking care of our body temple, aligning with our soul, mastering our mind, thoughts, heart, emotions, and impulses. The Kingdom of God is in our own hands. Omniscience looks upon our heart and sees our intentions.
My intention by writing this article is to open the eyes of some, and provide you with a broader understanding of your neighbor. You know, the one you’ve been taught to Love.
Thus, here are the GENERAL RULES (noting if applicable to specific religions) I discovered that can keep followers fenced in (like a herd of sheep) to a particular faith.
Defining God. Speaking of God, who is God? The organization will tell you, in fact, preach to you, about their idea of who and what God is and if there’s only one, or many. Who are WE to attempt to define God? How presumptuous of us mere humans!
Defining Heaven. Everything about what Heaven is and how to get in is taught to you via your religion. There are rules specific to that, which are primarily the rules of the religious organization, because that’s the goal of most organized religions.
Holy Book. Almost every organized religion or faith, has a Holy book, whether it be a Bible, Book of Morman, Doctrine & Covenants, Qur’an, Hadith, Torah (Pentateuch), Tanach, Mishnah, Talmud and Midrash, Upanishads, Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, Tao Te Ching, Sutras, Tripitaka, or other. There are many Holy books, yet most people are only aware of a fraction of these, much less have they bothered to read from any of them. And then, within these books, there are hundreds of various translations.
Remember that pretend phone game most of us learned in elementary school where each would whisper a word in the child’s ear next to you? By the time the word was passed around the circle, the word at the end was totally different than the word spoken in the beginning! It’s kind of like that when it comes to gaining any kind of understanding of God from one version of one book. And books can divide, especially when one group says their book describes the ONLY way to God and Heaven.
Know the “Word of God.” Whatever scripture the religion uses, you’d better read it, know it, memorize it and such, so you’ll not be tempted to go in any other direction. And only read the specific translation the faith deems “true.” Far be it from you to read any other scripture, indeed your religion will likely tell you that any other spiritual type of work is devilish.
Beliefs. Do good things. Follow the commands. And if you don’t, confess your sins to someone else and ask God to forgive you. God forbid you do anything wrong = sin. And saying there’s no God (blasphemy), well, that will land you right in some eternal burning lake of fire. Eeks!
Fellowship. It feels good to congregate with people of like-mind. And they want to keep you thinking the same way. If you think or speak outside of the box, you’ll receive everything from a discouraging look to a stern lecture. Of course each congregation tends to segregate and limit who can attend.
Membership. Following attendance, but with stricter rules, is membership. Once you’ve been attending for awhile you are invited to become a privileged “member.” And once invited, you had better become a member, else, be damned. Once a member, never question your membership or you run the high risk of being booted out, ostracized, banished, or worse. Some faiths go so far as to ever let you see your family again, as is the case with the Amish and Scientologists.
Money. To keep the faith going, build and maintain churches, pay the clergy, and so on, members are highly encouraged to donate 10 percent (or some certain set percentage) of money in tithes to the organization. And unless you serve on the budget committee, you are never to question where the money goes.
Recruit. The religion must grow and keep their numbers up–to keep the money flowing in and the morale up. By keeping morale high, it sets the organization up for boasting that their God is bigger than another organization’s God.
Conversely, though the religion wants to grow, many will limit who can join. This is limiting, restrictive, and such a paradox!
Symbology. Some might call these statues, icons, idols, monuments, totems, or other types of engraved symbols that memorialize and pay tribute to the religion. There are caves, paintings, geometric designs (circles, spirals, wheels, and crosses) roads, hills, alters, man made items (rugs, mats, knives, beads, stained glass), celestial bodies (like the sun, moon, and stars), statues of saints or other revered entities. The list is nearly endless. If you can observe it and draw it, it’s probably associated with some religion.
Rituals. Or not. Being quiet, making certain sounds, singing, dancing, smudging, standing, sitting, or kneeling at prescribed times and places and with a certain goal in mind (to either reach or please God, or the essence of our soul). Placing hands together in prayer pose, kneeling on one or both knees, or using prayer beads (Catholics), or prayer rugs or mats (Muslims). And of course, the rituals of blessings, baptisms, and confessing one to another or to a priest (someone who’s supposed to be living a righteous life).
Prayer. Some sort of memorized prayers, or rites and methods are often taught. Along with the previous ritual involved in praying, whether it be how to pray, when to pray (at a certain time of day or night), kneeling, standing, or lying flat on the ground. In the Islamic religion prayers are directional–always toward Mecca.
Thoughts. Speaking of prayer, we are not only taught to pray, but what words make up a good prayer. We are always asking for something. Usually for ourselves more than for others, but of course, praying for a better situation for others is supposed to be the best prayers, as what we ask God to do for others, God will also do for us.
Meditation. Most Western religions do not allow meditation, either in church or outside of it. (Unity based organizations allow and encourage meditation.) Sometimes an organization will use the term meditation, but it’s use is defined by meditating on a particular scripture passage (Christian) or mantra (Hinduism). We wouldn’t want you falling into a deep mental abyss.
Clothing. Every organized religions loves to set a standard dress code, whether by written rule or by peer pressure. Each member promotes the standard to visitors begin to conform over time. Naturally, (cough) God deserves to see us in our best attire. And for the ladies, modest attire–typically a dress that covers most of the body. Some prescribe head coverings.
Buildings. The members typically always meet in a building, whether it be a church, synagogue, temple, spiritual center, ashram, or other. This almost always involves meeting in a building that someone will need to pay for, and maintain, which leads members to believe that donations and tithes must be given without question.
Security. Lock it up. Protect it. Only go to the religious building when it’s open. And be on time. The building is there for groups, not for individuals or families to take shelter during a crisis. Their insurance rates would go up. This is perhaps one of the most ludicrous reasons for NOT believing that worshippers need an assembly building in which to meet. Talk about FAITH! Oh, ye of little faith! Do you not remember that EVERYTHING belongs to God?
Defend it. Similar to Security, Membership, and Recruitment, followers of various religions typically feel the need to defend the belief. Why? Will the dogma of the faith fall apart without people ready and willing to sacrifice all to defend it?
Timing. This rule goes hand in hand with rituals and having to go into buildings. Don’t go in or out, stay seated until you are directed to stand or kneel, and exit at the end of the service in an orderly fashion.
Children. This could also come under the heading of Behavior. Don’t allow your children to be disruptive during any assembly meeting. Children must obey their parents and guardians.
Joy. Don’t smile too much, or be too happy. Serving God is serious business. Someone might think you’re up to something if you’re always joyful.
Curiousity. Don’t bother asking any tough spiritual questions. And never talk down, back to, or get uppity with any member of the clergy.
Adherence. Be sure to follow all of the rules to the best of your ability, never mind what the preacher, priest, or other leader is doing (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain). All religions teach some sort of “right action.”
Needs. Look how far down the list we find “needs.” Is it any wonder so many of us have a hard time when it comes to “receiving”?
When you need help (for a health, spiritual, family, relationship, or financial matter) call the clergy.
Do you do that? If not, why not?
Don’t you believe that they’ll be there for you? Isn’t that one of their primary duties, beside getting to know who God is, studying, and healing people? The clergy is supposed to be there for you in your time of need. They exist in these roles to pray with you, instruct, and guide you in right action. They’re supposed to visit with you in your home if need be. They’re even supposed to offer you monetary support when you need it (though it’s likely they won’t pay your bills).
Did I miss anything?
I’d like this to be an open dialogue, so please comment of any rules I missed, or rules you feel you should follow that I haven’t mentioned.
NOTE: I credit my beloved mother with the phrase, “fences of religion.” How can that be? Well, I woke up early the morning of Oct. 25th, 2018, after a dream I’d had of my mother (who’s part of the Grand Beyond). In the dream, mom inspired me (and has prodded me a few times since) to write this blog article. We’re all part of Omniscience, believe it or not. Omniscience isn’t a belief to me, it’s a knowing. And the more I connect and align to the essence of my soul, the more I feel the “realness” of that knowing. OM
Tear down the fences and love one another right now. ❤️🦋🌀
We Are All Connected. OM
Many blessings to you in ALL ways.
Check out this original song (click the title to play it): Dogma. It’s one of my favorites, written by my husband and performed and recorded in a Nashville, TN studio. If you like it, you can download it (it’s Track 1) from this link: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/chevyfordb26
A bit about me:
An Amazon bestselling author of two co-authored books: “Transform Your Life Book 2 Inspirational Stories and Expert Advice” and “Energy of Receiving”, available on Amazon.
Plus, the brand new book that’s been in the making for 13 years, Take It Upon Yourself to Live a Wholly Vibrant Life, is now available for online sale and distribution (PDF format).
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Information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe.
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