“Should you believe in a higher power or not? I say yes. But I don’t believe in a higher power that is owned by any one religion or one that shows a preference to gender or color. I don’t believe in a him or her, a he or she, or the God claimed by a specific religion. I believe in a higher power that we have to answer to. My higher power has something to do with the inexplicable, massiveness, mystery, and beauty of the universe. The higher power I believe in does not discriminate and does not tolerate discrimination. The higher power I believe in has left it up to us to figure out how to navigate all the complexities that get in the way of us understanding that the only things that truly matter are compassion and love. We get the gift of life; we have to figure out how to make it better.”
The above was written by actor and legendary Dyke Van Dyke in his recent book “Keep Moving.” I love it that he has respect for everyone’s beliefs, no matter how much they differ, and yet he is comfortable in what he believes for himself. This is basically what I also believe. No one knows what God looks like or what form he/she/it takes. No one has ever seen the face of God. We only have our beliefs and experiences as to the God we believe in.
Several years ago, actor Sean Penn was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and she asked him if he believed in God. His response was, “I’m okay with the mystery of it all.” He was at peace with his beliefs and it also didn’t matter what others believed.
Every religion has its own beliefs as to whom or what God is and none of them are right or wrong. They’re just right for that religion and for whoever chooses to believe in that religion. Even people within those religions have various beliefs.
Yet so many people fight and argue over who is right or wrong and think that their particular beliefs are the only right way of believing. Why can’t we respect and honor whatever anyone else believes? When we’re secure in our beliefs we don’t need to fight and argue, nor do we need to try to force our beliefs on anyone else.
I love the diversity of all the various religions and whatever anyone believes. I even share other religion’s beliefs because I’m secure enough in my own beliefs that I can also learn from other religions and the people who practice them. It is then that I can understand, have more love for others, and know our total oneness.
Ram Dass said, “As we grow in our consciousness, there will be more compassion and more love, and then the barriers between people, between religions, between nations will begin to fall. Yes, we have to beat down the separateness.”
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 6, 2017.