Kahlil Gibran, Religion

While I do not subscribe to a religious belief, I do believe that there is religion for the simple faithful, and there is religiosity for those who need constraints within their lives.

Jesus wanted believers with a simple childlike faith. He growled at those who had made religion a matter of form. I suspect Mohammad (may his God grant him peace) also found his God saying something similar.

Kahlil Gibran, a child of the multi-religious Lebanon said;

Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,

And that which is neither deed nor reflection, but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul, even while the hands hew the stone or tend the loom?

Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations?

Who can spread his hours before him, saying, “This for God and this for myself; This for my soul, and this other for my body?”

All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self.

He who wears his morality but as his best garment were better naked.

The wind and the sun will tear no holes in his skin.

And he who defines his conduct by ethics imprisons his song-bird in a cage.

The freest song comes not through bars and wires.

And he to whom worshipping is a window, to open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn.

Your daily life is your temple and your religion.

Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.

Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,

The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight.

For in revery you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your failures.

And take with you all men:

For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.

And if you would know God be not therefore a solver of riddles.

Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.

And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.

You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.

4 Responses

  1. What a beautiful quote, and not one of Gibran’s writings I have read yet. I feel like I need to have this written in calligraphy and posted somewhere in my home, for it is probably the closest of anything that I have come across to explain how I feel about religion and God.

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  2. That is indeed a beautiful quote. I think you’re right on the money about religion, too—there is a simple yet powerful, pervasive, and loving faith; and then there is ritualized, constraining and commanding religosity.

    Fanatics/fundamentalists don’t have much faith (in the first sense of the word)—that’s why they constantly have to assert themselves violently. ;)

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  3. hmh, It is a part of “The Prophet”. I am entranced by Gibran’s power over the English language and read this volume, among others, quite often.

    The Imugi, You put it so very well in your last sentence. It is now stolen :) Expect to see me use it sometime soon.

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  4. Thanks, Ærchie :) Steal away!

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