The following essay appears in Tiferet’s Summer 2016 issue. The entire issue is available for immediate download.
Religions come in many shapes and sizes. Some profess a belief in one omnipotent, very masculine God that sees and controls everything and has placed humans separate from and above all species. Others have a tradition of many gods, both male and female, who represent various aspects of human nature and creation. Some religions prefer to be viewed more as philosophies that guide human behavior, and some set forth a set of practices designed to unite human consciousness with the greater forces of this and other dimensions.
Currently, humans seem to be more divided than ever into tribal factions, with each faction believing that it alone represents the truth about all things great and small. Divisions have become broader not just between nations, but also between political parties and cultural groups within those nations and even between warring factions within the same religion. Sometimes the pathway to harmonious co-existence with one another seems clouded with discord and blocked with thorny thickets. In this era of destructive divisiveness at every level, religion has so far seemed incapable of helping us resolve our differences for the global common good. In fact, religion is often cited as the reason for intolerance and conflict. If religion cannot lead us to close the philosophical and tribal gaps, to embrace our higher selves and to treat each other with equal respect and compassion, where can we turn for insights and inspiration?
RENEE MARTIN-NAGLE is currently a PhD researcher with a focus on ensuring that freshwater is shared equitably among nations and with ecosystems. A graduate of the Integrated Kabbalistic Healing School of A Society of Souls and a former member of the board of directors of Omega Institute, she has published numerous articles on global water issues and interspecies equity.