Spiritual guides emphasize unity and oneness in their “messages” to mankind, yet religion has become the most divisive thing on earth. During my years of involvement in the Muslim community I came to realize that unity had come to mean uniformity. We were unified only if we were the same—dressed the same, ate the same food, went to the same places, listened to and spoke the same words (in whatever language–different languages being unavoidable), taught our children the same things, read the same books, and so on. It was all about having the same identity. Only then could we think of ourselves as unified and following the Holy Scriptures. How did this happen in a world where everything and everyone is different? How did “unity” become “sameness?” The spiritual guides revered in our “houses of worship” were born at different times in different places, wore different clothes, ate different foods, spoke different languages using different metaphors, expressions, etc. If they were all advising everyone to be just the same as them in order to achieve oneness or unity, what a mess that would have created…has created now that their teachings are being interpreted in exactly that way. Over time I began using the word connectedness instead of unity because it gives a clearer picture of what the prophets and saints were referring to. Everything in this world is connected in some way. What goes around comes around.
Our spiritual leaders were different as were their methods of teaching and ways of communicating. If we teach that there is only one way, all other ways are off, and refuse to acknowledge or talk about them, it becomes impossible to reconcile all the different points of view that will continue to exist even if only one religion prevails or none at all. If no reconciliation, then no peace, no unity, no oneness. Only purposeless action and reaction remain, all our talk becomes meaningless and irrelevant, and we collectively become “people unclear on the concept.”