Do religions have to compete?

One of 2 strands of development in my book ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity’ looks at the various paths to God taken by ethno-cultural communities in Australia. The Religious Affairs Editor of ‘The Australian’ newspaper, James Murray, SSC endorsed (pre-publication) Chapter 4 ‘Which Way to the Cosmos’ in ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity’ thus:

“I find the concepts in ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity’ most appealing, coming as they do from an agile mind which has managed to embrace cultures usually seen as competitive, or even enemies. This book should prove a precious contribution to mutual understanding”.

What triggered my interest in the competitive aspects of institutional religions was the contrast between the mutual tolerance displayed by the adherents of a variety of religions in British Malaya, and the strangely bitter sectoral prejudice between Australian Christians (and their shared disdain of other religions) when I arrived in Australia in the late 1940s. I had also noted the futile attempts by so many ordinary people to convert non-Christians Asians to their faith. Worse still, recently I overheard a senior citizen say to another ‘I have the better faith.’ Really?

Obviously, for the leaders of some religious sects, control of the ‘flock’ and the exercise of power is satisfying. While on Earth, they can enjoy the privilege of some influence over governments, seeking to have their theology over-ride all others. To what ultimate end? These guys remind me of the behavior of roosters at the crack of dawn. How long does that dominance last?

As power-hungry religious leaders leave their bodies, do they ever review their lives, in order to assess whether they had enhanced humanity by stressing the core teaching of their Great Teacher during their time on Earth?

The essence of that would be ‘Do unto others as you would have done to you,’ would it not?