If a scientist finds that something they long thought was true is not supported by evidence, they investigate and change their thinking accordingly. If a person finds that their spiritual beliefs go against what others believe, they are more likely to try to prove themselves right and squash the conflicting ideas.
Some might think that this is because spirituality cannot be proven, only believed in and experienced. A clash of doctrines cannot be settled through investigation or exploration like a scientific argument can. Therefore correctness has to be established through dominance.
I think the difference stems from the fact that modern spirituality is so focused on a belief that there is one true doctrine, one true path, and all others are blasphemy. This is not a universal belief, of course, but one of great importance to the major religions of the world. That belief is not helped by a lack of system by which spiritual truths can be unquestionably established, of course. When a person believes they are right and then finds that their fellow worshipers have started to follow a different idea, the first reaction seems not to be a realignment with the group but a forceful reestablishment of their beliefs, no matter the consequence.
As we splinter into more and more paths, more and more traditions, disagreements driving people off the paths followed by the majority, one would think it would become harder and harder to claim possession of absolute truth. If each of us had our own personal religion, it would be much harder to claim such knowledge. And, frankly, I think that’s for the best.
I just wonder how many more times the established belief systems of the world must be split and splintered into ever smaller factions before we stop being able to wage large scale wars over it. How small do our groups have to get before they are no longer so influential as to sway elections and control politics?
How much do we have to disagree before we stop worrying about how much we disagree?