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Human beings are creatures of instinct, passion, and need. At the most basic evolutionary level, these three drives are what govern our thoughts and actions: when it’s raining, we need shelter; when a predator approaches, we instinctually run or fight; when we are wronged, we passionately seek retribution.
Our natural drives and responses, however, are contrary to the organized, restrained construct of civilization — which is why we have laws. The law keeps civilization civil. It keeps us from killing one another because we are angry, or stealing because we are hungry or jealous. Laws provide a structure that prevents a city or nation from falling into chaos.
Laws also carry a moral charge, judging us either guilty or not guilty. Breaking a law transforms you into a criminal, someone with no regard for the socially accepted moral paradigm. People who break society’s laws are imprisoned; a measure that both protects law abiding citizens and seeks to reform the offender.
But what about spiritual laws?
Every major religious text has a codex of laws by which believers must abide. Transgression of these laws has spiritual ramifications, and depending on the doctrine, can sometimes even mean eternal damnation.
These laws lead some to believe that the way to salvation is by doing good works and abiding by the laws. The problem with this is that it is impossible to live innocently and to do nothing but good works. And just as societal laws judge citizens as guilty in the eyes of society, spiritual laws judge the soul as guilty in the eyes of the universe, leaving us with nothing but a perpetual guilty conscience.
Of course, it is right and good to adhere to spiritual laws. But one living in guilt can never truly transcend matters of the world. Guilt is a burden and a sentence, one that constantly reminds us of our imperfections and failures. If we try to seek spiritual renewal through good works alone, we will time and again fall short of revelation because we are by nature unable to be purely good.
Instead, we should aim to be at one with the universe, and to follow its example. Redemption is found in forgiveness, humility, struggle, and acceptance, not in good works or guilt.
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at accredited online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.(Bold, italicized text is input from One World class participants. Thank you!)