CREDOS : Religion and war — II

Ken Wilber

Again, it seems as if there are almost two different kinds of religion, one of which brutally divides, and one of which unites (or can unite). How do we tell them apart, and how might we begin to switch allegiance from the former to the latter? If you believe in God and yet don’t have an answer to that question, you are inadvertently contributing to the wars of tomorrow, yes? And it won’t quite do to say that the world would be peaceful if all accepted my personal saviour or my path to Spirit. Surely that is the cause, not the cure, of the problem, yes?

I didn’t spell out, or really indicate what an “integral approach” to spirituality would include in my earlier columns. Many readers naturally assumed that this was simply another version of “universalism”—the belief that there are certain truths contained in all the world’s religions. But the integral approach emphatically does not make that suggestion. Other readers maintained that I was offering a version of the “perennial philosophy” espoused by Aldous Huxley or Huston Smith. Does the integral approach believe that all religions are saying essentially the same thing from a different perspective? No, almost the opposite.

Yet the integral approach does claim to be able to “unite,” in some sense, the world’s great spiritual traditions, which is what has caused much of the interest in this approach. If humanity is ever to cease its swarming hostilities and be united in one family, without squashing the significant and important differences among us, then something like an integral approach seems the only way. Until that time, religions will continue to brutally divide humanity. —