Piety is the key to settling all differences. Piety enables us to focus the prism of our differences into our one similarity - the humanity in all of us. We have the same needs, the same longings, the same yearnings. We need food, shelter and water to exist; we need safe socio-political and economic infrastructures to thrive. We want to be successful in our endeavors. We long to be cared for and to be attended to as a dignified individual. We long to be loved unconditionally. We yearn for our better half, a healthy ecology for our children and our children's children, and we all wish to leave a noble legacy that will echo through the ages.
Family. Community. A world of communities in harmony. I do believe that only an awesome fear of a goodly God can bring our tethering world into an axis of calm. The humility which makes piety coherent dissolves all our negativities into our optimisms, our ideals into fruitful harvests, our finitude to our infinitude. We are able to appreciate each other As We Are. For example, I observed something in Ari that is all his own, which has nothing to do with his religion, just his essential God-given attribute. He has a sweet and generous disposition. He always was that, very passionate and abundant in giving. It comes through in his demeanor unfeigned and it enhances his religiosity. He makes his devotion to his religion persuasive. His piety facilitates his becoming into God's Intent for him. His religion does not take away from the God-given substrate from which he evolves. It would be a travesty to his God if he abandoned the good that he was born with in an attempt to comply with the requirements of his religion.
Piety, this unconditional devotedness to God is marked by humility by definition and by necessity. Humility is the core value of piety, its vis-a-tergo (force-from behind), its mojo. When violence results from piety it is not piety. When we cannot bring out the best in those whom we meet or within the limits of any given set of circumstances - this is not piety. Many scoff at pious people because of the common understanding that piety is fanatical, shackling, fossilizing and as such causes agitation instead of calm. That is NOT piety. True piety is the actualizing of life in the fullness of God's expectations of that life - a life that is vibrant, nurturing and productive. A pious person is a person who lives responsibly and peaceably, conducts business fairly, contributes to the good of his community, never hesitates to take the higher ground in matters major and minor, and respects the divine in everyone. A pious person is never one who uses his religious constraints as a crutch to avoid his duties and responsibilities to the larger society. Piety is a style of living that includes one and all in its ever-widening circle; a style of living that is patient when resources are long in coming and refuses to compromise ideals in the meantime; a style of living that is ready to share even the most attenuated of gifts; a style of living that is wealthy with gratitude no matter how that life is put through its paces; a style of living where one finds true joy in the achievements of others and of course in one's own; a style of living where one does not hesitate to take peers along on the path to success; a style of living that upholds and fights for justice, compassion and mercy as a matter of faith. Piety rocks - it is cool, energizing, freeing, wholesome, noble and transformative when lived within the breadth and height and depth of its divine imperatives. And the sine qua non of piety is humility.