Is This All A Dream?
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 by Frank Shortt
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Having been raised in a lower middle-class family of ten children, we were taught the basic fundamentals of survival. We were also taught to be respectful of each other, other people, and society as a whole, while surviving.

The morals instilled in all my siblings, as well as myself, have stuck with me throughout my life. I have met people of all ethnic and religious groups. Even if we disagreed, as far as the east is from the west, we have respected each other’s right to personal beliefs.  It seems that, for some unknown reason, the whole world is caught up in disrespecting each other.

There being only one book called the Qu’ran, one would think that the principal theme of all Moslems would be a strict adherence to that book. Not so! There are hundreds of sects and sub-sects connected with the belief in Mohammed. Men are slaughtering each other over the interpretation of even one word!

The same holds true in the Christian world! There is one book, the Bible, which each and every Christian supposedly holds dear. Then why are there wars and turmoil over the interpretation of, sometimes, just one word? The Christian religion is fragmented over a thousand ways.  It seems that, even two people, cannot agree on the tenets and precepts of the Bible.

Buddhists are split up into three major sects:

Theravada, (Hinayana) or ‘School of the Elders’. Southeast Asians are the strongest adherents to this sect.

Mahayana, called the ‘Large Vehicle’. China, Japan, and Korea are the adherents to this sect.

Vajrayana, called the ‘Diamond vehicle’. This sect is mostly found in Tibet.

There are sometimes conflicts over the ‘ethics’ of Buddhist teachings and which school of teaching one should adhere to.

It would take many pages to discuss all the major religions in the world and their major differences, the ones listed here are only to give examples of some familiar ones in order to show that all people, even those who say they believe alike, do not always agree. The question is: Do they respect each other’s beliefs?

This all leads to the behavior of those who say they adhere to some major belief. It has become the pastime of most Americans to idolize some person who, they think, has majored in some sport, acting, or religious movement. Young ladies want to dress like their favorite actress, leading to, sometimes, major conflicts within families, especially ones who have a stricter code of ethics. Young men lean toward idolization of some sports hero. Even when these ‘idolized ones’ make bad decisions, they are still looked upon as heroes. This leads to the question: What corrupts a person? The three major corrupters are money, popularity, and the opposite sex, or, as the case may be, same-sex relationships.

It takes much grace to respect someone who has ‘fallen from grace’ in our own eyes, or in any given situation. The persons who are making these wrong decisions do not even think of the impact their decisions will have upon their loved ones. They do not think of the results of subjecting their bodies to a foreign substance. The question is: Who is to blame for all these lapses of personal ethics? Or, were these ‘influential ones’ ever taught any form of ethics? It seems that we need a major course for all citizens of the world in how to be respectful of our own bodies, in the case of actors and sports figures, and also in how to be respectful of other races, creeds, and religions. All major religious leaders had one thing in common; ethics!

Sometimes, when I see the major conflicts in the world, it seems that I am in a bad dream from which there is no awakening. Newscasters are blaring the ‘badness’ of the world 24/7. Is it any wonder that we have become a world of neurotics, overcrowding the psychologist and psychiatry offices? Isn’t there a little good left in the world?