Malaysia is facing many crises – politically, socially, economically. But our greatest struggle is in the spiritual area. Religion in Malaysia is in a state of decline.
As organised religion grows and as religious authorities exert themselves in greater measure, the more they reveal how far they are from God.
More harm is now being done by religious authorities who, in the guise of representing God, focus on minute aspects of life rather than the major issues of loving God, helping the poor, supporting those who are struggling, extending mercy to others.
The average person is made to follow dogmatic religious rules rather than assisted to find God for ourselves.
It is presumptuous for anyone to claim they can represent God or speak for Him or even defend Him. Who are we to assume to represent the will and desires of the Almighty?
But many seem to know Him intimately and speak for Him all the time, and at great length. Even presuming to be able to defend Him; the folly of man knows no bounds.
While we may not know the will of God for others, we however can speak about and recognise the marks of a Godly man or woman, someone who is deeply spiritual.
For example, when I went to meet Mother Theresa in 1978 I recognised immediately I was in the presence of a person who knew and loved God very deeply. Her character, demeanour and actions spoke loudly of this. She was gentle, attentive, kind, accepting, showed much love and grace and spent much energy and time supporting the poor and outcast.
So perhaps it is time to remind ourselves about the attributes of a religious person. We believe that some of the markers or traits of a deeply spiritual person are the following:
- One who is kind, forgiving, compassionate and keen to extend mercy and grace to others.
- A person who recognises that a relationship with God is a private and deeply personal matter, and cannot be regulated or imposed upon by others.
- One who respects the belief systems of others, even if they differ from our own.
- One who allows freedom of expression and of choice to others, not impose their beliefs and personal choices upon others.
- One who is willing to accept criticism and is prepared to engage in a two way dialogue peacefully and rationally, not insist on a one way monologue which claims my way is the only way.
- One who is prepared to admit ‘I do not know’ rather than claim to know everything about who God Is and Is Not.
- One who knows that our actions are as important, if not more important, than our words.
- A deeply spiritual person will be less bothered with dressing style or appearance, but be focused on development of character and making sure that life expressions are consistent with belief in God.
- One who seeks to create and build all that is good, true and beautiful, to bring healing and wholeness to a broken world. Not one who seeks to destroy anything that does not agree with one’s own world view.
- One who is more concerned about God’s opinion of ourselves rather than other people’s opinions of us.
It is a shame that some of our religious leaders and institutions show so little true spirituality.
They are more interested in building religious buildings, than helping the poor.
More interested in external compliance to their interpretations of scripture, than expressing the love of God in their lives. More concerned with punishment, than extending mercy and grace.
If the founders of all the major religions were alive today, or if they returned, they would be appalled at how far the so-called followers and current religious leaders have strayed.
We firmly believe that religion is a private matter and no one should interfere in what and who we believe in as long as that does not harm anyone else.
Religion has no place in government and legislation. To enforce any religion is not from God, as He gives us free choice.
Finding God is a life-long journey that each of us will have to travel on our own.
It is time to read our own scriptures for ourselves to look for God, and not depend on religious leaders to tell us what truth is.
A time to return to a meaningful life that focuses on supporting the poor and vulnerable and distance ourselves from the politics of religion.
A time to breathe life back into our beloved nation and offer our youth truth and reality and God.
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh
Datin Dr Lim Swee-Im
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.