New faiths

I haven't posted much lately, but I have still been learning. This past weekend I participated in a series of interfaith events which brought me my first experiences with Baha'i and Sikism. I also incidentally read about Manicheaism after someone name dropped it in an article. 

Sikhism emerged at the borders of Islam and Hinduism and did a good job of synthesizing the better qualities of each and sought (similar to what MLK Jr. and Ghandi would later do) to reform the broken societies in which they existed. I wrote a while ago about how I saw Jesus as a reformer of a broken system of Judaism more than anything else. The purpose was not the elaborate system of food, prayers or scripture, but simply a desire to love your neighbor as yourself. Martin Luther did the same thing 1500 years later as he broke away from the Catholic church. 

It appears throughout history, that new religions have risen out of a desire to transform local culture and promote the "better angels of our nature." After centuries miracles and other supernatural tales are often added - often added and in a desire to compete with the equally lofty claims of other faiths. Repeatedly, subsequent leaders often add rigid rules about food, clothing and other rituals also seem to emerge - even when the original leaders disavowed the need for these rules. These additional practices seem more like perversions (and misplaced faith and purpose) and are generally unrelated to the central messages of most faiths. I guess that isn't a new revelation, but I was surprised to see the similar patterns elsewhere around the world.