“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” (A. Lincoln)
Those were the words of wisdom from today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write that Lincoln was not a member of any organized religion, but he certainly did a lot more good in this world than many of his era that were church goers. Religion is sometimes defined as the practice of one’s faith, what one believes in. One would be hard presses to find a better example than Abe Lincoln of someone who practiced what they believed in.
So, the question, “What’s your religion”, really boils down to what do you believe and do you practice what you believe? Churches tend to build complex sets of rules and rituals for the practice of beliefs, turning them into dogma which cannot be challenged. Disagreements over that dogma has lead to the splintering of churches or religions, not matter what beliefs they were originally based upon. That is why we have so many different faiths and denominations and sects within faiths. At their core, most are defined by a belief in a supreme being (God in whatever name is used). Once you get past that simple core belief, one begins to encounter the hand of man in the accepted practices of worshiping that God. Let the dogma begin. Most practitioners of religion eventually find a set of dogma that they can accept and settle into one of these groups, secure in their knowledge that they are practicing the one, true religion, while all others are doomed.
At least the religion that Abe Lincoln professed has very simple and straightforward rules – do good and feel good about it or do bad and feel bad about it. Jesus put it that we should love others as He has loved us and do unto others as we would have them do to us. I suspect that you would end up doing good if you accepted that as your religion. Leave the dogma stuff to the people who are more concerned about perpetuating their institutions than about the faith that underpins their religions.
Perhaps you can reinforce your religion by saying a little prayer each morning asking God to help you practice what Jesus preached – love one another. Another of Jack’s posts came to mind as I am writing this. As much of a reach as it may be to see the connection here that quote from Emily Post was this –
“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”
If you are sensitively aware of the feelings and needs of others and do something to help (do good) you have good religion, no matter what church (Sect/group/denomination/etc.) you worship in. Just keep the faith and all else will take care of itself.
What is your religion?