Tuesday, May 10, 2005

When Differences Melt Away

I am lucky to have colleagues at work, one Muslim and one Christian, who I am able to discuss matters of faith and spirituality with. Once the differences separating us melt away there are two fundamental beliefs that we all hold in common:

1) G-d alone runs and controls the world.

2) At the end of our life we will have to give an accounting for our actions and how we made use of our time.

I have noticed that one of the main things separating "religious" people from "non-religious" people is how a person deals with control.

A truly "religious" person understands that it is only G-d who controls the world. The "religious" person comes to realize that while he can control himself by restraining his base inclinations, he cannot control factors external to himself. He understands that he can control how he relates to the world but not how the world relates to him.

A "non-religious" person, however, believes that he can, in fact, control things external to himself. And try he does. He tries to control the myriad of things in his life that ultimately lead him to frustration, anxiety, and anger.

Although it is certainly a generalization, one can determine a person's "religiosity" by observing how he deals with control.

--

Rabbi Nechunya ben Hakanah said, whoever accepts upon himself the yoke of Torah, the yoke of government and the yoke of worldly cares will be removed from him. Whoever casts off from himself the yoke of Torah, the yoke of government and the yoke of worldly cares are imposed upon him.

(Pirkei Avos 3:6)

5 Comments:

At May 10, 2005 at 11:49:00 AM EDT, Blogger Pilot Mom said...

I agree with your statements listed in your post. And, for me, it is so freeing to let go of the 'control.' And, you are indeed blessed to be able to discuss matters of faith with your two colleagues. Excellent post providing great food for thought. Thanks! :)

 
At May 10, 2005 at 12:02:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thank you - I appreciate your kind words Pilot Mom.

 
At May 10, 2005 at 1:13:00 PM EDT, Blogger Tamara said...

Thank you for the post, it gave me something to think about especially a great way to hold a mirror up to myself and ask, "which way do I control or allow control in my life".

 
At May 10, 2005 at 2:07:00 PM EDT, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

It's interesting how you sometimes have more in common with religious persons of a different faith than with non-religious persons of your own.

 
At May 11, 2005 at 12:26:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the Halacha permit one to discuss religious issues with people of other religins? I suggest that you ask an orthodox Rabbi.

 

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