There is so much war and conflict in our world. Every time we turn on the news, there is conflict, death and destruction somewhere. And often time it seems to have some kind of religious connection. One of the headlines over the last week has been the violent protests in parts of the Muslim world in reaction to a Western film about Mohammad.
War and violence stems from Ideological Extremists in every area of human community - extremist religious or secular ideology, extremist political or economic ideology. History shows us examples of extremism from all of these areas.
Extremism is about being closed minded. Extremism is about seeing oneself as different or superior than another. Extremism is about being threatened by that which is different that oneself.
Extremism does not only play itself out on the world stage of politics and war, it plays itself out in families, schools, workplaces and communities with "emotional" violence and abuse towards those who may seem different from "us" or who do not think like "us."
The remedy for all forms of extremism is to seek to become more open minded. "Open Minded" is a spiritual or inner stance, where a person learns to go deeper inside themselves, to become more aware of your own inner issues that need to be acknowledged and healed. In the process of becoming more "at home" within ourselves, not only will we find that we are less threatened by that which is different from us, but we will also become more aware of the One Source of Life that we all share and live out of. We will become more aware that we are in fact One and Equal in God's Divine Life.
It is out of this center, this Holy Place, that each of us, one by one, will become agents of peace and transformation in our world.
Religion, at a deep and mature level, is not the source of war, but the way to peace.