Unfortunately, the most important use of religion was not discussed in the recent In the name of God issue (NI 370). Each religion provides a teaching and a way to transform people from childish egocentricity to the sage and compassionate embrace of ever greater dimensions of the human spirit.
The raison d’être of each religion is to mature individuals and communities through four evermore inclusive circles of human development from ego-centred body (me) to group-centred mind (us) to humanity-centred soul (all of us) to universal unity-in-diversity spirit (all sentient beings without exception) until there is at-one-ment of all creatures in divine Spirit. Essentially, the purpose of religion is to encourage the gradual change in individuals and communities from blind selfishness to generous selflessness.
Impeding this revolutionary change are powerful forces of smug complacency, proud ignorance and dark regression. Such forces delude most of us, religious and non-religious, individuals and communities. In each religion, open-minded, open-hearted saints tend to be rare; while deluded sinners are many. And that observation also pertains to the religion of humanism.Gerard Bruitzman Hampton East, Australia