People are attracted to the powerful because in each of us, there is a child who seeks protection and a sense of belonging. Fundamentalists understand this very well and capitalize on it. By growing more violent, they appear more powerful, which increases their appeal. In this way, they succeed in attracting new recruits into their ranks.
In western countries, fundamentalist Islamists find fertile ground for amassing followers since people have no direction, spirit, or purpose in life. This makes it easy for them to win them over to their ideas. By offering them membership in a powerful club, and even to God, they give them a sense of meaning and purpose and make them feel that their lives have value. This is the case not only in Europe and the United States, but also in Russia, India, and even China.
Where does this lead us? First, it will lead to bloody conflicts. Eventually, it will expose the emptiness behind the promises of radical religious dogmas.
Once fundamentalism exposes its futility, people will find the true meaning of the term religion. In The Writings of the Last Generation, Baal HaSulam writes, “The religious form of all the nations should first obligate its members to bestowal upon each other … as in ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ …This will be the collective religion of all the nations.”
What, you may ask, will become of our traditional religions? Baal HaSulam continues and writes that besides following the tenet of loving others as ourselves, “each nation may follow its own religion and tradition, and one must not interfere in the other.” In other words, as long as we care for one another, each of us will live according to our own way and tradition, and our different ways of life will not disrupt the harmony and union we will have achieved having developed love for one another.
The evolutionary process just described is not just for a few of us; it is the future of humanity. We are all destined to achieve unity and mutual concern by following the law of loving others as ourselves. This is the meaning of the ancient prophecy, “And all the nations shall flow unto it” (Isaiah 2:2).
Abraham the Patriarch, the Babylonian trailblazer who broke the news of our collective unity to humanity, was the first teacher. He taught how to unite on the basis of mercy and kindness. His progeny, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and so on, polished and adapted the method of connection to their times. Moses did the same with his book of laws, which we call Torah, and so did Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai with The Book of Zohar.
Now we, too, must find our way to apply the law of love of others to our time. Especially today, when hatred and self-absorption are corrupting and destroying human civilization, it is time to rise above our petty selves and find a common union that is higher than all of us and unites all of us. Only in that higher realm will we find a way to make our world livable, and our lives with one another pleasant, safe, and with a true sense of belonging.