By Neale Donald Walsch.
When the first domino falls, the rest will follow
My Wonderful Companions…
…I am sure that you can see from that one look at our Cultural Story why our world is in the shape that it’s in. I am sure you can see that this Story is neither beneficial nor sustainable.
This, then, is why I propose a global movement to change our Cultural Story; to explore it line-by-line and to re-write it where we believe it serves us to do so.
But now, please understand. I’m not proposing a global conference, or a global convention, or a global congress, which would meet and propose such changes. We’ve already tried those approaches and they have not worked.
The League of Nations did not prove effective. Neither has the United Nations brought an end to the oppression of the masses, the killing of thousands, the suffering of millions. A new Worldwide Congress of Humanity would do no better.
The problems of humanity reside in the one place where most leagues and congresses and senates and legislatures and conferences and political conventions refuse to go: the Realm of Spirituality.
Well, they shouldn’t go there. There should be a separation of Church and State. Religion should have nothing to do with politics, and vice-versa.
What should really have nothing to do with politics is economics. That’s where the danger is. These two should never be allowed to mix.
There should be a law that says that all political decisions made in the halls of legislatures and congresses and senates may have not be based on, or take into account, any economic considerations whatsoever, but be foundationed in one thing and one thing only: What is best for the largest number of people.
There should be another law that bars any contributions of any kind to political candidates or parties by any economic interests (in other words, companies or corporations) or any firm representing any economic interests.
There should be a third law that simply says that corporations are not persons, and shall not be accorded rights equal to those accorded to people. (This law alone would solve much!)
Everyone in the United States is so intense about maintaining a separation between Church and State when the real concern should be about keeping a separation between Corporations and State—because in America (and most of the rest of the Western World, for that matter) economics is the real religion.
People believe that their personal life is threatened at the most basic level if political decisions are made that appear to impinge in even the slightest way upon their economic choices—even when those political decisions are demonstrably for their own good, such as basic government regulation of the health care system, or government moves to guarantee safety in certain manufacturing fields, or regulations that protect consumers in certain food processing, storage, and shipping industries, to use a few simple examples.
Anything that regulates the business community and the economic system is seen as limiting basic America freedom—yet when that economic system itself limits peoples’ choices (such as virtually monopolizing particular areas of commerce—airlines and computer software companies, among others, come to mind—locking out all competition, then setting the rules of the game and refusing to create compatibility between their products and those of others so that people must make a forced buy to get what they want in the so-called Free Marketplace)….when the economic system does that, this is called the Free Enterprise System, and we don’t care how much we are abused by it. This is real freedom!
The economy was meant to be a way for members of a community—including the global community—to help each other (“You do this for me and I’ll do this for you and we’ll share the wealth that comes from sharing our individual gifts”), but it has turned out to be a way that people in the world get hurt. Most people. The majority of people.
A tiny minority of people are served and enriched by the economy, but the majority of people are enslaved and subjugated by it.
Believe it or not, the economy and economics was never meant to control our lives, but control them it does. Even (and perhaps most especially) our political system is tyrannized by it and beholden to it, and so the control of commerce over community is complete. We’ve allowed it to be—and that, as much if not more than the mixing of Church and State, is the real threat to our freedom.
But I digress. I want to talk more about this some more, in the latter part of this conversation, which deals with specific ideas that could fit into our future Cultural Story. For now, getting to your question directly, I want to say that you are right, religion should have nothing to do with politics, just as you say. But…spirituality should.
Remove one, but not the other
The Conversations with God dialogue offers quite a bit of commentary about separation of Church and State. It may indeed be decided in some countries that Church and State must be separate, CWG notes. Based on results, people may determine that religion and politics do not mix. But, says this remarkable dialogue, spirituality is another matter.
Do not imagine that spirituality and politics do not mix, CWG says. Politics are spirituality, demonstrated. Political decisions represent—or at least are supposed to represent—the highest values held by people. And if the living out of our highest values are not what spirituality is all about, then what is it about…?
Conversations with God goes on to observe: “The reason you may decide that Church and State should be separate is that Church means a very specific theological point of view, a particular religious belief. You may have observed that when such particular and specific beliefs inform your politics, you create great controversy, resulting in political strife.”
I have seen this in America on issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and even something as purely scientific and obviously beneficial to humanity as stem cell research. Elsewhere on the planet religion has produced equally contumelious intrusions into the lives of people—the religious and the non-religious—through its mixture with politics.
On the very day of writing this paragraph I happened to read on the Internet that the people of Malta had just then voted to permit divorce in their country. Now there is only one country left in the world, the Philippines, in which divorce is against the law. Not against the law of a church, against the Law of the Land.
The referendum on Malta passed with just over 53% of the population approving. In other words, it almost failed.
How in the world did such a law exist for so long in this country? Four words: The Roman Catholic Church. News reports said that at mass in Catholic churches all over Malta on the day of the referendum a letter was read to all congregants from the Archbishop of Valletta stating that people should vote no in the referendum.
Such religious pressure was a significant part of the No campaign, news reports said, with posters all over the island reading: “Jesus Yes, Divorce No.”
Under the same influence of religion in politics, Ireland only passed its own law legalizing divorce in 1995. There, the move required an amendment to the constitution.
And so it is easy to see how divisiveness—sometimes bitter, vitriolic divisiveness—results when political and religious views mix like this, for the simple and obvious reason that not all people hold the same religious beliefs. Indeed, some people hold no religious beliefs at all.
But we are not talking here about religion. We’re talking about spirituality. The experience of spirituality, Conversations with God says, is universal. Every human being on the planet has felt, at one time or another, a natural impulse for knowing of, and reunion with, the Divine.
Some have talked themselves out of it. Others have moved even more fully into it. Not a single person has never felt it. For this thing called “spirituality” is the call of Life Itself. It is Life, calling to Life, to experience and create more Life. That impulse resides in every living thing.
Says Conversations with God: “All people participate in it, even if they do not know it, even if they do not call it that. This is because ‘spirituality’ is nothing more than Life Itself.”
One’s spirituality is about one’s deepest personal understandings of, and interactions with, Life and God, whatever those may be. They may be mystical and they may be practical. A person’s experience does not have to be mystical to be spiritual.
Spirituality is not about a particular group’s teachings and doctrines. It is about the values, ethics, and deepest experience of the individual, not the theological dogma of the clump.
The most basic tenet of spirituality is that All Things Are Part of Life. How can anything that appears in Life (physical and non-physical, including understandings, beliefs, and behaviors) not be part of Life?
“You can argue all you want about whether there is a God, and whether all things are part of God, but you cannot argue about whether there is Life, or whether all things are part of Life,” the CWG dialogue wryly observes.
Spirituality is, therefore, Life, and all that Life is.
“The only discussion then left is whether Life and God are the same things. And,” the dialogue informs us, “they are.”
The dialogue says that even an agnostic—even an atheist—would agree that there’s some force in the Universe that is holding it all together. There is also something that started it all. And if there’s something that started it all, there must have been something existing before the Universe as you now know it existed.
The Universe didn’t just burst into being out of thin air. And even if it did, “thin air” is something. Yet even if you say that the Universe burst into being out of Nothing At All, still you must deal with the question of First Cause. What caused Something to arise out of Nothing At All?
In my conversation with God I was told that this First Cause was Life Itself, expressing in physical (that is, visible) form. Some people call this the Big Bang. Whatever you call it, it was life, exploding into physicality.
“No one can disagree with this, because this is obviously ‘what’s so.’ You can, however, argue forever (and you have!) over how to describe this Process; what to call it,” says CWG, which does not equivocate. “This is God,” it says. “This is what you mean, what you have always meant, by the word ‘God.’ God is First Cause. Unmoved Mover. That Which Was before That Which IS…The Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End.”
Connecting the dots
If spirituality is really another word for life, then that which is spiritual is Life Affirming, because life is Life Affirming.
Remember when I said that life is nothing but energy; that it is pure energy that circles back into itself? I observed then that life is a self-fueling, self-sustaining, self-determining, and self-creating process. It depends on itself, relies on itself, looks to itself to tell itself what the next expression of itself shall be. In other words, life is Life Affirming.
This is true universally, it is true globally, it is true nationally, it is true locally, and it is true individually. It is merely a matter of proportion.
And so we see the Universe deciding about itself in this way, our planet deciding about itself in this way, our nation deciding about itself in this way, our own city or community deciding about itself in this way, and our own person deciding about itself in this way. We observe that Life informs Life about Life through the process of Life Itself.
To inject spirituality into our politics, therefore, would be to make all political activities and all political decisions Life Affirming. And indeed, is this not exactly what we are trying to do with our politics?
The only reason we created politics in the first place was to produce a system by which life could be lived harmoniously, freely, happily, and peacefully. In other words, a system by which life itself may be affirmed.
I must admit that I had never thought of it quite that way until I had my conversations with God, but then I saw that this is exactly why humanity created political systems, of course! In the United States the Founding Fathers even said so, explicitly. The U.S. constitution declares that all men are created equal, with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Most governments elsewhere were created for basically the same reason. There may be differences in the form, but never the purpose, of government. Different cultures and societies may spell out differently their ideas, and goals and how to achieve them, but their fundamental desires are nearly identical.
We see, then, that spirituality and politics obviously mix, given that spirituality is about values, and so are politics. The latter is based on the former!
Yet every time a country’s government has been used to enforce a particular religious point of view, the result has been oppression of all those within that country who do not adopt that religious view. And often, by the way, war with people outside of that country.
I agree. I see this, too. I see some nations forcing religious doctrine into peoples’ lives through draconian civil laws, resulting, for instance, in the flogging of women in public who are seen sitting in a public place next to men who are not husbands or blood relatives; or men having their shops closed because they have not grown a beard.
It is why most people in most nations around the world have told themselves that spirituality is the realm of the individual and should have nothing to do with collective governance—even though they want their collective governance to reflect the highest values of the individual. It’s a Catch 22.
So creating a New Cultural Story that would simply replace old limiting beliefs and ancient ethno-specific behavioral rules with revised limiting beliefs and new draconian behavioral rules would do nothing to help the world.
What is needed is a brand new set of beliefs, utterly different from the old, and capable of being embraced by the whole of humanity, not only by certain religious groups.
POINTS I HOPE YOU WILL REMEMBER…
* Religion should be kept out of politics, but not spirituality.
* Life informs life about life through the process of life itself.
* Our New Cultural Story cannot simply replace old limiting beliefs and ancient ethno-specific behavioral rules with revised limiting beliefs and new draconian behavioral rules.
ACTION I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE…
* Write a letter to your legislators urging them to remove business and commerce from politics. Join a global movement to do so.
* Work in your community to inject for spiritual values into the political decisions being made there. Become politically active, rather than passive, so that it isn’t others to whom these decisions are left, but you.
9 Nov 2015.
© Neale Donald Walsch.
The Storm Before the Calm: Book 1 in the Conversations with Humanity Series – by Neale Donald Walsch. Paperback published 1 October 2011, Emnin Books, Oregon, USA; ISBN-13: 978-1401936921