Returning to college in 2002, Bob earned degrees in International and Religious studies from the University of Oregon. Working to become bilingual and also present in Spanish, he writes and speaks on God, religious tolerance, and our tools for abolishing war. His book, God Refined: A Proposal for Peace (http://stores.lulu.com/bobkezer) will be available March 1st. He has one son and lives in Eugene, Oregon.
How can the average person best participate in the effort for a non-violent world? Many people sense that our planet is at a point of crisis — that humanity will see even worse days in the future, and they wish to help. But often the magnitude and complexities of global problems are overwhelming; the person is left helpless. Needed is greater clarity: examination of cause and effect at our most fundamental level of decisions making.
Our history is one seeped in fear, the source of human emotions. Internalized as hate, anger, criticism, intolerance, and judgment, it manifests itself as greed, revenge, selfishness, violence, and unbridled competition. Stemming from ancient concepts of a wrathful God, this animal characteristic of our dual selves frames the institutions defining our world. Fear is the predominate base from which most people decide; our world is the result.
The other side of our nature is love — those divine feelings of empathy, compassion, and selflessness that show themselves as mercy, service, patience, forgiveness, and good will. These are the characteristics of a loving God. They exhibit an evolved state — a higher order of being — for the individual and humanity. This is the baseline level of spiritual attainment from which global peace will have its first true chance.
We know growth cannot be rushed, but it is a requirement if we hope to abolish war. As people ascend into their higher selves, their lives improve. No longer is life a struggle; inner peace reigns and relationships blossom. With humanity, it is the same: the degree of peace anywhere is a direct result of the ratio of fear to love within the people present. On the global scale, this determines our degree of planetary evolution.
This relationship is best viewed as a balance beam scale like that held by the lady of justice. While some decisions carry greater consequences, every one counts — adding to either one side or the other. Modeling God after ourselves limited the degree to which we could evolve. Those who believe that at death they will face punishment from a stern judge are controlled by fear; for most of them, acting out of unconditional love is almost impossible.
Countering this imbalance requires more people making decisions based in love rather than fear. As with the part, so goes the whole; we each have an obligation to participate. Spiritual progression requires intention: a desire to be a better person. This means releasing our fear and trusting that we are members of a universe bound by love. This can only happen for many people if they refine their image of God.
Love is the binding force of all creation: the essence of God. All people with minds capable of doing divine will have a fragment of our Creator within themselves. Only in this way can that finite — us — begin to understand that eternal, infinite, and universal — God. When open to the leading of our divine parent, a process of spiritualization begins. Whether known as our intuition or that quiet voice in our hearts, this contact is real for people of all faiths.
Believing in divine guidance, though, is difficult for many people to accept; our world is littered with the carnage of religious fanatics, all claiming the same. It is essential that we have criteria upon which we can evaluate the degree of divinity in any word, idea, or action. Understanding God as the perfection of eternal truth, divine beauty, and infinite goodness helps; in this way, we can scale our actions by God’s attributes.
We are family unified through the spirit indwelling us; we are expected to care for each other. As we would never tell one of our own children to hurt the others, neither does our divine parent want us to kill one another. The highest order of the Golden Rule is not to love others as we love ourselves, but to love them as our Creator would have us do. In this way, we transcend fear-based limitations, and demonstrate our faith in a loving God.
Eternal life is freely given; it should be received as such — it means we accept God’s will. Then we restart above exactly where we left off down here. Regardless of how bad we were, the tiniest desire for mercy will be answered — our wrongs forgotten. None of us is perfect; we will all require forgiveness. As it is extended to us, so must we reflect it to others — the harm done us, forgotten. This is a choice to be divine: God-like.
If concepts of a wrathful God made in our image have resulted in a world destroyed, then remaking ourselves in the image of a loving Creator may save us. To heal, we must eradicate the disease: fear. Doing so affects our decision making process from its most fundamental level. This personal effort to evolve is our first duty, and the greatest contribution we can make in our world’s bid for peace.
Peace, whether in our homes or on our planet, is a product of choice, an environment conditioned by those present. It cannot be forced, imposed, or expected to flourish before its time. Thinking so confuses the law of cause and effect. Whatever is used to bring about a new social order remains a part of us.
The idea of global peace is so big that many people are unsure how to approach the subject. As only one among almost six and a half billion others, few think they can participate or that their leaders can effect change. But while difficult to discern in the chaos of today’s world, the responsibility for our planet does reside with the individual.
Reducing scale helps: we know the energy in a home reflects the people living there. If everyone has matured to where their lives are dominated by the divine traits of love, such as empathy, patience, compassion, forgiveness, and good will, then peace will prevail. How could it not? Violence is no longer an option.
These people base their decisions in love, not fear. Rather than an endpoint, this maturity becomes our baseline — the minimum level of conduct needed to support our next evolutionary state. Peace flourishing in this environment does not happen from duty, rules, or treaties, but is rather the natural result of a higher order of being.
Should people still grounded in the human constructs of fear, such as hate, anger, revenge, selfishness, and intolerance, enter into this family, the energy in the home becomes tainted; no longer is it all love. Violence now becomes possible; as the ratio of fear to love increases, violence becomes more probable.
Spiritual or ethical progress requires a willingness to grow; it cannot be forced. Attempting to do so fuels anger, violates free choice of will, and negates the attractiveness of love; the cycle is maintained. Feeding upon itself, fear will eventually consume all who allow it to remain in their minds.
While only love generates more than it takes, it must be extended first. People must experience love — both the giving and the receiving — before they will choose it over fear. This is a dynamic process: one of intention. Those who decide to embrace it will bond together in strength; those who do not will fall apart divided.
Moving forward in crisis, the middle ground will shrink. People based in love will strengthen. Their growth, now and later, is endless — they are universal reality. Those remaining embroiled in fear will harden even further, becoming ever more desperate in their attempts to survive. For them, there is no future; they are unreal to the universe.
As each side becomes more defined, those coming of age will better see their options. For them, the choice will be either to continue the legacy of fear, or to embrace the healing effects of love. While many are engulfed by war, few in truth want it. Eventually love will prevail, tipping the scale in our favor and giving peace its first true chance.
But while this is possible, it is not ordained. To abolish war, we must evolve — person by person, until our race finds footing at its next level of consciousness. Procrastination retards progress; action must replace intent. This is our world, we each have responsibility, and every decision counts. How do you choose?