Beliefnet
Reprinted with permission from "The New Revelations" by arrangement with Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

God, please be here. We need help.

I am here.

We need help.

I know.

Right now.

I understand.

The world is on the brink of disaster. And I'm not talking about natural disaster; I'm talking about man-made calamity.

I know. And you're right.

I mean, humans have had disagreements before, and serious ones, but now our divisions and disagreements can lead not simply to wars -- which are bad enough -- but to the end of civilization as we know it.

That is correct. You have assessed the situation correctly.

You understand the severity of the problem; you simply do not understand the nature of the problem. You do not know what is causing it. So you keep trying to solve it at every level except the level at which it exists.


Which is?

The level of belief.

The problem facing the world today is a spiritual problem.

Your ideas about spirituality are killing you.

You keep trying to solve the world's problem as if it were a political problem, or an economic problem, or even a military problem, and it is none of these. It is a spiritual problem. And that is the one problem human beings don't seem to know how to solve.


Then help us.

I am.

How?

In many ways.

Name one.

This book.

This book will help us?

It can.

What do we have to do?

Read it.

And then what?

Heed it.

That's what they all say. "It's in The Book," they say. "Read it and heed it. That's all you have to do." The problem is, they all hold up a different book.

I know.

And every book says something else.

I know.

So now we should "read and heed" this book?

It's not a question of what you should do. It's a question of what you may do if you choose to. It is an invitation, not a requirement.

Why would I want to read this book when I've already been told by True Believers that all the answers are in the other books -- they books that they are telling me to heed?

Because you have not heeded them.

Yes, we have. We believe that we have.

That's why you now need help. You believe that you have, but you have not.

You keep saying that your Holy Book (your cultures have many different ones) is what has given you the authority to treat each other the way you are treating each other, to do what you are doing.

You are able to say that only because you have not really listened to the deeper message of these books. You have read them, but you have not really listened to them.

But we have. We are doing what they say we should be doing!

No. You are doing what YOU say that they say you should be doing.

What does that mean?

It means that the basic message of all the sacred scriptures is the same. What is different is how human beings have been interpreting them.

There is nothing "wrong" with having different interpretations. What may not benefit you, however, is separating yourself over these differences, making each other wrong because of these differences, and killing each other as a result of these differences.

This is what you are now doing.

It is what you have been doing for quite some time. You cannot agree even within a particular group of you, much less between groups, about what a particular book says and what it means, and you use these disagreements as justifications for slaughter.

You argue among yourselves about what the Qur'an says, and about what its words mean. You argue among yourselves about what the Bible says, and about what its words mean. You argue among yourselves about what the Veda says, what the Bhagavad-Gita says, what the Lun-yü says, what the Pali Canon says, whawt the Tao-te Ching says, what the Talmud says, what the Hadith says, what the Book of Mormon says.

And what of the Upanishad, the I Ching, the Adi Granth, the Mahabharata, the Yoga-sutras, the Mathnawi? The Kojiki?


Okay, we get the point.

No, actually, you don't. And that's the point. The point is, there, there are many holy writings and sacred scriptures, and you act as if there is only one.

It is your sacred scripture that is really sacred. All the rest are poor substitutes at best, and blasphemies at worst.

Not only is there only one Sacred Scripture, there is only one way to interpret that Scripture: your way.

This spiritual arrogance is what has caused you your greatest sorrow as a species. You have suffered more -- and caused other people to suffer more -- over your ideas about God than over your ideas about anything else in the human experience.

You have turned the source of the greatest joy into the source of your greatest pain.

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