Jimmy Carter: losing his religion or finding true religion?

The former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, has written an opinion piece entitled “Losing my religion for equality”. In it he clearly describes how “women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.” He goes on to say that this “discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries”. Not only that it has been used to excuse rape, slavery, violence, forced prostitution and genital mutilation, along with depriving women of control over their own bodies and lives. He acknowledges that the root of this discrimination is deeply embedded in our history and is detrimental to not just women but to the whole of society that permits this to go unabated. He states it is “self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population” and that we “need to challenge these self-serving and out-dated attitudes and practices”.

He is one of a group of Elders, an independent group of global leaders, who recently published a statement saying that:

“The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”

He makes the point that “male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have for their own selfish ends overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ…….and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God.”

Based on these understandings Jimmy Carter has chosen to leave the Southern Baptist Covention after six decades because the leaders of that convention ordained that women must be ‘subservient’ to men and are unable to serve as religious leaders. This was based on their cherry picking of verses in the bible and he could no longer support such tenets and thus the title “losing my religion for equality”.  

However, perhaps Jimmy Carter is not losing his religion but finding true religion?He may be losing the man-made form of religion with its doctrines and dogmas and rules that do not come from God but perhaps he has come to a deeper understanding of what religion is actually about as portrayed in these sentiments. The etymology of the word religion has been disputed but many concur that it comes from re – again,  -ligare, to bind, tie or connect and concerns our choice to rebind, to reconnect with God, our relationship with God. According to Jesus Christ, “the Kingdom of God is inside you” which is entirely consistent with esoteric philosophy that also talks about the relationship with the God that lives inside us, the deepest or innermost part of ourselves that is God, that is Love. 

When we re-connect with this innermost essence of love we know without doubt that all human beings everywhere are equal – there is no questioning, no books or lectures are needed to tell us this, it is not a belief but a known Truth; there is no doubt whatsoever that every human being from the most hardened criminal, rapist, paedophile, murderer, genocide inflicter to those that consistently express the highest value of love in human form, to Jesus Christ himself – are all absolutely equal in essence. Thus it is literally a ‘no-brainer’ that men and women are equal in essence – for it is seeing and knowing with the eyes of the heart and not the isolated mind/brain that allows one to know that this is a fact, that this is a Universal Truth. It is energetically true whether people believe it and accept it or not. It is when we give power to the ideals and beliefs of man-made religion without first reconnecting to the innermost wisdom of love that chaos and discrimination in many forms abounds. It seems to me that rather than losing his religion, Jimmy Carter may have found his true religion, his re-connection to the truth that resides in his own heart where all are known to be equal. 

I commend Jimmy Carter for speaking out so clearly about the evils of his own religion. It is true that man-made religious ideals and beliefs, have been interpreted to suit the self-serving minds of men for centuries and have been the source of great harm, discrimination and abuse to women across the ages and across the globe.

Of course, we as women have had a role to play in this as well.  We have allowed it to occur by staying silent, by acquiescing, by being submissive, subservient and letting men get away with this abuse for aeons. As Jimmy Carter says – “it is time we had the courage to challenge these views” – and that goes for all of us, men and women together. It is not about blaming either gender, we have both contributed to this situation and we both have the capability to call it out for what it is and to do it differently, to live and express from and with love and acceptance of each other, knowing that each is of the divine, expressing uniquely in human form – that we are without doubt all equal but not the same. 

Feel free to share your views or comments below. The views shared here are based on my personal experience and study of religion and esoteric philosophy. This is what true religion is for me but I appreciate others may have different views and understandings. It is for each person to discern for themselves whether what is offered feels true or not. I look forward to hearing what you feel true religion is. 

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  • Reply
    Rebecca Baldwin
    3rd February 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Your line, essentially about how Jesus and an axe-murderer are equal at their essence(!) really got me reflecting on how much responsibility we have to live that essence and how with different choices lives can play out so differently (even though we are all of the same essence at our core).

    Also, I never thought I would be inspired by an article about Jimmy Carter, but there you go, the guy has made a CHOICE to stand up for what he feels and knows to be true here, a choice that can be made by everyone equally — that’s pretty awesome.

    • Reply
      The Soulful Doctor
      3rd February 2013 at 9:41 pm

      Indeed Rebecca – your point is well made. I didn’t expand on it here but have in other posts – that whilst our essence is the same, what makes the difference between the murderer and Jesus is the choice to express and live from that essence. Many people are not even aware it is there and I myself lived in ignorance of it for many years. We can either express from love or that which is not love and we all live the consequences of not just our own choices to do so or not, but everyone’s choices – as everything is interconnected. 

      I agree it is great that someone who has been immersed in the form of Christianity that he has described can waken up to the falsehoods and evils being perpetuated by mis-interpretation and re-interpretation such that he chooses to walk away and to live and set a different example. 

  • Reply
    Gayle Cue
    3rd February 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Dear Eunice, Thank you for commenting on Jimmy Carter’s actions. Your article expands our understanding. Mr Carter’s ‘courageous’ decision not only shines light on the discrimination against women but he leads, by example, showing that we can follow our heart even if it goes against mass consciousness. It can’t be an easy decision at his age to leave beliefs behind that he has adhered to for six decades. I’ve always felt that he was a man of integrity and this decision proves it. Your article then leads us beyond the action by one man to consider, to contemplate what true religion is – for each of us. In appreciation for your willingness to express how you see it and to make us all check in with our hearts as to how it feels for us.

    • Reply
      The Soulful Doctor
      3rd February 2013 at 11:30 pm

      thank you Gayle – I agree with you. Of course the topic of religion and ‘true religion’ is fraught with various opinions, ideals and beliefs, dogma and doctrine. Battles have been fought over people’s differing religious beliefs and I appreciate it can come across as rather arrgoant to speak of ‘true religion’ as if I have all the answers! You are correct that I have found what feels true for me based on personal experience and study and it is without doubt for others to feel what is true for them and whether what is offered resonates or not. Thank you 

  • Reply
    Lee Green
    4th February 2013 at 12:11 am

    hi Eunice,
    I read the Jimmy Carter article in full and was stunned by the clarity and depth of understanding written. It made me aware, which you reiterated how connected we all are with each other and with truth. It is but that choice to connect and stay aware that we as a humanity have forgotten.
    It is fascinating to realise that whatever we have chosen throughout our lives, good or bad, at any moment the choice can be made that aligns us with truth and creates enough of a space that we can express for everyone. To serve completely without any agenda having it’s way.

  • Reply
    20th March 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Hi Eunice
    This is refreshing to hear that a man of politics has been able to let go of his life long beliefs and see how wrong it is to deny the equality of women as his own church did for years.
    It’s not a small thing that he trusted what he felt and then left the church.
    He has done us all a service by being prepared to speak out about the evils of the church.
    For me true religion is based on uniting us all for once and for all. Nothing feels better than people truly unifying and making it about all of us, not just a select few. We are amazingly powerful as humans when we make it about love and brotherhood, however that looks and however that is expressed. There is nothing more lonely than feeling separation to our brothers and also to the deepest aspect of ourselves, the soul. Developing a relationship with our soul is crucial to truly living a love inspired life, and it’s a choice we can all make.

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