One of my main issues with any monotheist religion (the main Abrahamic religions which believe in one God (monotheist) are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) has always been their deviations away from the simple foundation of spirituality … Do everything in Faith and Love.
Many followers of these religions don’t even realize that they all follow a similar path to the same God, and have a shared history. The texts of the Torah, the Bible, and the Qur’an share many of the same people and stories, yet they also departed along their own interpretations.
I think that faith is so hard to grasp because it is so simple – and we all express our beliefs and faith in different ways. Each dogma – each set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true – becomes entrenched in its own recorded beliefs. Once written down, it cannot live and breathe.
My personal belief is that there is underlying truth in the scriptures, but they are also written by man, interpreted by man, in the context of a certain time.
Pick any positive word – grace, joy, love, peace, patience, generosity, charity, kindness – and live by that word. If your version of the word hurts another, then you are not living in faith and love.
I don’t believe that true love has to be defined by a marriage contract but it can be defined by a commitment and celebrated. I don’t believe true love can be defined by the sex of your partner, but is defined by your commitment to one another.
I do believe that if your version of love is harmful or exploitive of another, it is not love.
That ambiguity and fluidity are why we try to confine it to rules, rituals and laws.
An example close to my heart is animals.
I don’t believe that animals were put on this Earth for us to have dominion over … unless someone has misinterpreted the true meaning and spirit of “dominion” and it should read “stewardship”. I do believe we can ask animals to work and live alongside us, but we owe them our greatest care and gratitude in return. And those that don’t work or live with us, also deserve our stewardship to protect their lives and homes.
I do believe they are sentient beings, and equally deserving of love, joy and peace as we are.
I love my two dogs completely. I spend many hours in their presence and many hours taking care of them. They are provided with daily walks, hikes and runs in the park. They are taken on outings to the pet store to choose their own toys and to visit friends. They are fed real food, fresh water and provided all the health care they require. They are brushed, bathed, loved, played with and cuddled. They hate having their nails cut but I still do it (out of love) to care for their feet.
They love me back.
Carly – my graceful yet goofy chocolate lab – cuddles as close as she can at night. When I touch her, she makes a happy little sound and shows me which spots to rub. She brings me her toys with puppy-like expectation – soulful eyes, ears perked and tail wagging – in hopes that we will share a game of toss or tug. She jumps up beside me if a noise scares her because she knows I will protect her. She happily jumps in the tub because I give her amazing treats to do so. She remembers this so when I say “You need a bath” she RACES for the tub with a doggie smile. Carly is the kindest, sweetest soul I know – she loves everyone and everything – and is happiest when meeting a friend. She comforts and calms my soul.
Annie – my beautiful northern Husky mix who was found pregnant while just a baby herself – is my heart. She comes to me after every meal to say thank you. As a stray rescue, I have to believe she remembers hunger. She gazes at me with such love and adoration that it’s hard to miss her meaning. A painful experience in my life brought on some huge, ugly tears – and Annie comforted me through each of those moments. No matter where Annie is, if she hears me cry, she comes running. Not once, but every time. As the tears rolled, I could hear Annie jump from the bed and race to me. She would jump up on my lap or beside me, lean her forehead against mine … and cry with me. Then, she would lick my tears away. How gracious she is! She communicates her fears to me because she knows I will do my best to keep her safe from harm. I have taught her a language to manage those fears (of other dogs) and she uses this language to communicate back to me when she is under stress. She shivers and shakes in the tub, but happily follows Carly, because she trusts both her and me.
Rescuing dogs and other animals is very important to me. Every life is worth saving.
I hope – if my dogs could talk – they would say they are happiest with me. They aren’t really free to choose. If they got loose, it would be much like losing a 3-year old child, I think – an exploration rather than an escape – but who am I to decide?
There is ambiguity in the Bible over our relationship with animals, even as food. Are we meant to be vegan, as stated in the Book of Genesis? Or allowed to consume a life as long as we bless it, as said elsewhere in the bible? Who decided? Who interpreted? This is something I have to explore for my own knowledge in a future post.
For today, I will try to do everything in faith and love.
1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.
Science has often written of the calming effect our pets have on us – and I think vice versa as well. Tomorrow I will post some studies that interconnect the good feelings – vibes – between horses and humans.