Is Religion Really All About Chores ?
However, cleaning house and paying bills and going to work every day are not the chores I'm talking about for this article. I mean: the spiritual housekeeping, the character development, the duty to our fellow human beings on the planet.
For Bahá'ís, the purpose of life is to prepare spiritually for eternity, to spend time and effort on building virtues to make a better world.
"...the purpose of religion is the acquisition of praiseworthy virtues, betterment of morals, spiritual development of mankind, the real life and divine bestowals. All the prophets have been the promoters of these principles; none of them has been the promoter of corruption, vice or evil. They have summoned mankind to all good. They have united people in the love of God, invited them to the religions of the unity of mankind and exhorted them to amity and agreement." - 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 15Frankly, I find that much harder to do than washing dishes or cleaning the toilet. It looks to me like mankind in general feels the same way. If you look at the history of religious movements, every one starts out with clear and difficult goals--to be good, even when it requires some sacrifice. Maybe especially when it requires sacrifice.
Sacrifice is hard, whether we're talking fatted calves or personal glory, feeding the poor, or giving workers a living wage. Over time, religious laws seem get reinterpreted--modified to ease the burden of such chores--sometime even to the point of reversing the original intent!
Until God speaks again and renews the rules. That makes His Chosen Ones extremely unpopular, of course. Jesus was not the only Mouthpiece of God to be persecuted for promoting uncomfortable truths.
The teachings of the Bahá'í Faith are about renewal of the Word--and about a return to the meaning and purpose of this life. They are not new, but perhaps not comfortably familiar, either, since they are definitely not compatible with a great deal of popular culture. Improving personal character not being the watchword of modern society. "In its affirmation of the validity of the great religions of the past, [it]...reiterates those eternal truths enunciated by all the Divine Messengers: the unity of God, love of one's neighbour, and the moral purpose of earthly life. At the same time it removes those elements of past religious codes that now constitute obstacles to the emerging unification of the world and the reconstruction of human society." - Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Book of Laws), p. 2
It is clear that this religion is not the easy road to travel. There are chores to be done, but its believers are not busy telling others how to behave. They have no time to be judging if they are occupied with their own personal spiritual development. When successful, that growth can change the world, however, little by little, day by day.
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