This blog post was featured in the Huffington Post on July 19, 2017.
There is a social game that asks the players to decide whom they would most like to have dinner with. They can choose any figure, dead or alive, from any time in history—whoever it is that they find most fascinating.
At Christmas I was thinking that I would choose to have dinner with Jesus Christ.
Why Jesus? What fascinates me about Jesus is how he, in his very short life on earth, has had an impact on billions of people across thousands of years.
The same is true of Moses, Buddha, and Muhammad. Unfortunately, the rules of the game state that I can choose only one person for this dinner, or I would have chosen them all.
What is the secret of these leaders’ continuous appeal?
It appears to me that if they did not exist, they would have to be invented.
Because people need them.
In times of change—and change has been going on for thousands of years and will continue until the end of time—there are problems. There is pain and people seek answers. They look for a means to reduce their pain and to find peace for their soul. That is what the founders of all religious movements have in common. That is what their messages deliver: peace, harmony, love, and salvation. They give answers about the pain and suffering people endure while living.
Essentially these religious leaders all offer a similar message of hope: “If you follow me, you will find peace and you will be granted life after death. You will be happy.”
The need to find resolution to our pain has always caused humanity to search for someone to be our savior. All people experience pain in this phenomenon called life. During times of more change and complexity, we experience more pain, and the more religious, spiritual, or shamanic we become. In different ways, all religions offer a solution to what we cannot endure or explain.
Maybe we have experienced our religious leaders differently than who they were in reality. We experienced them the way we needed them to be, to satisfy our own needs.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes