To the Editor:
The ultimate goal, or mission if you will, of any religion should be to make an adherent feel comfortable in his or her position in the universe.
Some early forms of religion relied on the sun, moon and stars. This is not so naive a proposition as one might suppose, for without the warmth of the sun and the tides of the moon, we would not now be having this conversation.
Throughout history, geographical realities and cultural considerations resulted in the formation of varied concepts of religion, analogous to the development of different language roots and groupings.
The first century A.D. witnessed the birth and spread of Christianity, an offshoot of Judaism. One of the main tenets of the new religion was that of unconditional love, not only from above, but towards our fellow man.
One salient feature of unconditional love is that, as a matter of free will, it can be refused. Once accepted, however, it continues to flow unabated until it spills over, and must be directed and shared as part of some greater commonality.
The acceptance of unconditional love does not mean that one must submit meekly to those who would do us physical or mortal harm. Unconditional love is not confined within lofty edifices, nor is it contingent upon rigid doctrine, inflexible dogma or oppressive bureaucracy. Holy wars, malevolent crusades, inquisitions and threats of hellfire and eternal damnation are not part of its simple, yet eloquent message. Nor does it seek to exact time and treasure from those least able to afford them. Also, unconditional love assures that although one can remain firm in one’s faith, one need not do so to the exclusion and persecution of those of other faiths.
Having survived over two millenia and many efforts and events designed to disrupt, alter, even destroy it, unconditional love remains not only a viable, but a sane alternative to the challenges of modern life, including collective greed and an all-too-prevalent emphasis on a trinity of “Me, myself and I.” It utters each and every one of us a comfortable place in space and in time. It may be, in fact, one of the last, best hopes of mankind.
‘Tis the season. Let’s try to give at least one person other than ourselves some unconditional love. Who knows? It may be catching.