There is an idea I strongly believed in when I was a believer, and I still hold fast to that idea today. It is an idea that I hope more believers, no matter what god they choose to believe in, will take hold off. And it is a message I would like to once more share with my friends who are believers.
In his book, “Not In God’s Name”, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks argues that religions (almost all religions) need to change their focus. Instead of focusing on converting as many people as possible to think and believe like they do, religions should rather shift their focus to finding ways to make this world a better place. He argues that at the heart of religious extremism and almost all of the most hideous acts done in the name of god, is the fundamental belief that everybody must believe in the same god. A conversion mentality if you will. Although not all believers and all religions can be described as fundamental extremists, one of the primary goals of most religions remain to convert as many as possible to their religion.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks suggests a different focus. He argues that religion should be focused on “How do we make this world a better place?” How does your religion contribute to making this world a better place? How do you, as a believer, make this world a better place? Religions needs to work towards irradiating poverty, eliminating disease, saving our planet, fighting injustice, etc. And not with a hidden agenda to ultimately convert those they help. But, just for the sake of making this world a better place.
The Jews have a term for this… “tikkun olam”. A Jewish concept defined by acts of kindness performed to repair the world. I still hold fast to this idea. Through acts of kindness, we can repair this world. And if my friends who are believers were to change their focus, I would be the first to join hands with them and work along side them. And who knows, maybe then your faith might once again have an impact on my unbelief…