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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday 25 May 2016

God's Starship

There is a beautiful hadith sharrif saying "when my servant fixes what's between Me and him, I will fix everything between him and the rest of creation."

An observant Muslim friend of mine and I have an ongoing discussion about religion, traditions and why a God would have need of veneration.

I maintain that the rituals and practices of religions - everything from cleansing rituals to the giving of thanks to the following of commandments - are of clear benefit to humans.   

You clean before you eat so as not to get sick.  The giving of thanks is the earliest form of CBT; days of rest are mandated holidays where people can charge their batteries.  Commandments and such are like any law - designed for the good of the commons.  A driver may talk on his phone while driving and ignore a stop sign and kill a pedestrian, oops - if they aren't mindful.  And we do tend to be mindful of consequence.

It's not always easy for parents to explain the complex, long-term benefit (or harm-reduction) of some activities; ultimately, the best parents lead by example and nurture a relationship whereby the child, or the pupil, exchanges compliance for recognition.  The beneficial act is given to make the parent or teacher proud before it is recognized how that the act helps the learner grow into their own.

For their part, the parent, the teacher or the leader is the true servant, giving of themselves to an individual for something greater than themselves.

Moon shots bring people together - they are magnetic attractors, the visionaries behind them stones in the soup.  The best ones recognize that the leader and the vision are all really about just one thing - bringing people together on common ground, and providing them a direction.

God doesn't need homage.  Allah doesn't need a starship.  

Humans do, though - both as vessel for the journey and home for a community.

Therein lies the secret.

Sunlight fell upon the wall; the wall received a borrowed splendor. Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one? Seek out the source which shines forever. 
- Rumi