in order to be relevant for all men, cannot purposely align
with or endorse any religion. Agnostics, atheists and humanists
can all be welcomed and honored for sharing a mutual quest for truth.
That being said, Chivalry-Now
is capable of playing an especially supportive role for the religious
mind, especially in regards to morality.
Every religious tradition rightfully
concerns itself with moral issues. This is evident in a variety
of scriptures, writings and stories about saints and holy people.
But the basic nature of religion
is concerned with more than just morality. Its primary concern is
to establish a mode of relationship between believers and the divine.
Morality is part of that, of course, but the religious perspective
usually focuses on establishing and maintaining that relationship.
Because of this, God often becomes the reason for moral behavior,
and leading an exemplary life.
When this happens, some of the validity
of moral ideas, true and valid in themselves, is not only glossed
over, but even replaced. The validity is there, make no mistake
about it. It merely gets lost when held against the God/believer
Religions tell us that a pure heart
is pleasing to God, who considers sin an abomination that is worthy
of hell. Sin separates us from the divine. It is the task of religion
to repair that connection. How? Some traditions describe heavenly
reward for the righteous (i.e.; people of faith), and hellfire for
just about everyone else. Those that believe in reincarnation speak
about karma, or nirvana, and the struggle to attain higher consciousness.
these traditions recognize the full value of moral action, but their
means to reconnect with the divine tend to supersede that value
in the minds of many believers.
comes down to this: shall I act rightly toward my neighbor because
it is right to do so? Or because it pleases God and may help me
avoid eternal punishment? Which of these choices is more genuinely
tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves (which answers that
question unequivocally, unhampered by threats), or for doing good
things on behalf of God, rather than our neighbor's need. It is
easy to find ourselves thinking more about ourselves and the possibility
of eternal rewarded. Moral acts without moral intent implicitly
disregards the authenticity of the act.
my neighbor in order to win points with God is decidedly different
than doing it out of love, kindness or respect. The impetus does
not come from our hearts, but from fear, from selfishness. Where
there is fear, good, clean morality usually recedes.
example: We are told to forgive so that we may be forgiven. Theologically,
this makes perfect sense, but to most people the threat is implicit.
Do we forgive others out of fear, because God demands it? Is real
forgiveness even possible under such conditions?
scriptural mandate, quoted as is, puts us in a bind. The moral dynamics
of forgiveness break down when they are not genuine, a willing act
of compassion toward the offending party. To repair this situation,
we have to come to grips with forgiveness for what it is, a moral
dynamic. That means freeing it from the restraints of reward and
punishment. How else can it be real and not just forced behavior?
can help with this. It concerns itself with moral action in and
of itself. It can serve as a supplemental approach to just about
any religious tradition to help explain the reasonableness of moral
to relate with the infinite is naturally overwhelming for our finite
minds. Chivalry-Now presents moral explanations that are
down to earth, examining values for what they are in and of themselves.
This is not surprising, considering the impact that religion had
on chivalry's earlier development. The code's moral and spiritual
aspects merged with a warrior tradition that was simple, realistic
and applicable to everyday life.
does not challenge the completeness of any religious tradition.
It merely provides a different perspective that illustrates their
moral teachings on a very human level. This can only enrich the
spiritual experience of the believer, while offering bridges of
connection between us all.