"Nothing has made for more peace and love than religion, nothing has engendered fiercer hatred than religion. Nothing has made the brotherhood of man more tangible than religion, nothing has bred more enmity between man and man than religion. Nothing has built more charitable institutions , more hospitals for men, and even for animals; nothing has deluged the world with more blood than religion...... "
Beyond all these contradictions however, the basic trend of all religions of the world has been one of continuous growth and also a proliferation of sects. This is a clear indication that while religion has the the greatest hold on man, no one religion has been able to attract and become acceptable to the whole of mankind. The growth of religions and sects and the conflicts between them, do not however, mean that they are contradictory.
"I believe that they are not contradictory, they are supplementary. Each religion, as it were, takes up one part of the great universal truth and spends it's whole force on embodying and typifying that great truth. It is therefore addition , not exclusion. That is the idea. System after system have arisen, each embodying a great idea, and ideals must be added to ideals. And this is the march of humanity. Man never progresses from error to truth. but from truth to truth, from lesser truth to a higher truth....... "
"My idea therefore, is that all these religions are different forces in the economy of God ..... you have seen that each religion is living.. at one time it may be shorn of a good many of it's trappings; at another time, it may be covered by all sorts of trappings; but all the same, the soul is ever there..... The ideal of every religion is never lost, and so every religion is intelligently on the march ..."
The mind of man presents an endless variety of thought and belief. One person holds entirely to rational commonsense; another cannot stand pictures and statues in his place of worship. Yet another looks for artistic beauty, colours, flowers and forms; and yet another wants candles, lights, bells and all the insignia of ritual. And last, but not the least, the philospher stands aside and mocks at all these approaches to religion.
"If ever there is going to be an ideal religion, it must be broad enough and large enough to supply food for all these minds. .. It must supply the strength of philosophy to the philosopher, the devotee's heart to the worshipper; to the ritualist, it will give all that the most marvellous symbolism can convey. ....."
"Our watchword then, will be acceptance, not exclusion. .. I accept all the religions that were in the past, and worship with all of them. I worship God with every one of them, in whatever form they worship Him. I shall go to the mosque of the Mohammedan ; I shall enter the Christian church and kneel before the crucifix; I shall enter the Buddhistic temple where I shall take refuge in the Buddha and in his Law. I shall go to the forest and sit down in meditation with the Hindu who is trying to see the Light.... "
"Not only shall I do all these, but I shall keep my heart open for all that may come in the future. Is God's book finished ? .... It is a mavellous book -- these spiritual revelations of the world. The Bible, the Veda, the Koran, and all other sacred books are but so many pages, and an infinite number of pages remain yet to be unfolded......."