Although not published on this day, I happen to be writing this post on Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement. I’m not Jewish, but I do believe that not only do different religions have some things in common, but “other than your own” religions provide principles that are important in helping a person live a spiritual life.
On Yom Kippur Jews use prayer to be retrospective on their own life, and then seek forgiveness for their wrong doings against God. By looking within at they have been and how they can be better, Jews use three steps of repentance: recognize, acknowledge, and resolve.
We live in age of town hall cranks, self-serving politicians, reality-show television, smack talk, obnoxious talk-show hosts and their listeners who help proclaim the spews of evil and ridicule of others to dominate our society of greed and self-promotion and interest. Therefore it seems that all of us could use self-reflection to develop civility, ethics, compassion, and an outlook of pulling others through the difficulties of life.
I’m not a Trekkie, but I’ve seen my share of Star Trek episodes and movies. The scene that sticks in my mind is the initial Vulcan assessment of Earth humans because they were appalled at our behaviors, cultural divides, use of fighting, and many other humanisms, which seemed uncivilized and barbaric to them.
Although some think of Vulcans as emotionless, I believe that it is more accurate to say that they work to suppress their emotions through self-control in order to use reason and logic in their problem solving and decision making. I often wonder if Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry thought of Vulcans as what humans could be.
And then there’s Philippians 2:1-4 from Christianity:
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
I can’t forget Tim Valentine whose blog I often read. Tim often writes about race because he truly believes that race should be irrelevant in human encounters. Although Tim realizes that society has made positive strides, to him advances are too slow as he wants people to treat each with civility and respect–regardless of race, religion, political labels, nationality, heritage, or whatever segments society uses to divide people.
So there it is, a religion embracing self-reflection for living a better life through care and compassion, another religion expressing love and compassion over selfishness, a fictional society stressing logic and reason to seeking meaningful solutions, and one person trying to not only practice what he preaches, but also promote for the good of all through respect for all. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if these principles were commonly practiced?