Category Archives: Religion
Watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (yes, I know, old movie) I couldn’t help but think about the encounter between his Muslim friend and the Friar. When the Friar realizes the error in his prejudice toward the “barbarian”, he makes amends. He offers a drink to the Muslim, who cannot accept. He exuberantly explains that he will drink and his new barbarian friend can talk.
It must have been such an amazing conversation. The wisdom that the Muslim carried around from his knowledge of the Qu’ran, and the revelations the Friar would have at the similarity of their religions (Islam having come from Christain / Jewish backgrounds). Conversations like this fascinate me. It must be such an emotionally and mentally fulfilling event, when masters of faith unite and converse peacefully.
I think a movie could be made out of such a topic, if filled properly in the right historical context. Nothing like a sit down Q&A, but a more entertaining conversation between famous master’s; with energy and excitement. I suppose not many others would find this entertaining. I have a great interest in high philosophy and comparative religions. I enjoy reading and listening to others ideals on religion and life, physical and metaphysical.
Everyone has a story, every person is trained differently and thinks different things about what they have been taught. The boundless experiences that come from meeting others who have respect and interest in the world around them fascinates me.
In most Religions there are antagonist deities or demigods that harass and tempt man to do what he is not naturally supposed to do. The key word here is naturally. Man has created many unnatural concepts that reflect as unnatural behavior. Man has even gone so far as to personify this concept and use it as a method of explaining away the “evils” of the world.
This Devil, Fallen Angel, Lucifer, etc. is quoted by many fundamentalists as the source of all human misery. But what are they really saying when they state this? Isn’t to blame the Devil for every bit of ones problems and temptations simply the same as just saying that bad things have happened? Why the need to personify the perceived negativity in one’s life?
The first reason the comes to mind is simple; blame. We cannot blame an abstract concept, just like many find it hard to praise an abstract concept; hence we also have the concept of God. Known as anthropomorphism, giving human traits to that which cannot have them, is a form of imposing frustration upon something other than oneself in order to validate the possibility that events could have been otherwise.
The second reason is more philosophical. In the Bible, the Devil wanted to be as powerful as God, believing him not to be fit to rule. The devil got exactly what he wanted, half of God’s power and dominion. God can only grant that which is in his power to grant, and since he is everything, he could not convert his wholeness into that of the Devil, which was already a part of him. However he could allow him dominion over half of his wholeness, half of infinity. Here we have the beginnings of judgment; Right from wrong, good from evil, God and the Devil. Coexisting in the same space and universe, and ultimately being nothing but the wholeness of God, as nothing but the Wholeness of god can exist for him to have complete dominion over everything.
The devil got exactly what he wanted, and from this duality in wholeness came the seeds of judgment and hence the temptation of man. When man ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he became obsessed with judgment and has ever since struggled to return to the simplicity of wholeness.
The real question is this: When we have allegory that signifies the fundamental problem with human thought and being: that of judgment, and action based upon judgment, commonly known as justice; why do we fight so hard to solidify in each others minds that there is a Good God and an Evil Devil? The admission and belief that these concepts are physical or metaphysical realities only further entrenches us in duality and steers us away from the wholeness of a single true source of all being. It creates splits in our thoughts and personalities as we accept judgment and duality as the norm and nature of life. Why can’t we just allow events to be just that, events. We live and we die, we exist and we do enjoy life when we allow ourselves to be free of the burden of judgment.
They say leave judgment to God, we have no right to judge. This is very true especially since God has no reason or need to judge. God’s judgment would be only God judging himself. Henceforth we have no reason to judge as judgment is only a reflection on ourselves. This adage is simply a message to convey that we should allow ourselves to live a full life without the illusion of judgment; an aberration that exists only in the human mind while containing no true substance.
Why does man feel such a need to worship? When I say worship I speak mainly of religious worship even though man does indeed worship many things. The worship I am speaking of however is the formal kind of traditional religious worship. It can be said that man worships money, power or God, however none are worshipped as formally as God.
Elaborate rituals, social taboos and powerful symbols shroud this figure in mystery as animal, incense and devotion is offered on the altar. Why do we as human beings have this driving desire to offer all of ourselves and personal belongings to a person, in fact, a concept of which we cannot see? It would seem foolish to believe the words of our peers, especially when it comes to invisible men in the sky; however even in our age of science do we believe blindly and faithfully in the “divine”.
I would argue though, what use is it to worship, even if one does believe in a “higher” power? (The word “higher” implying that there is an above in which the deity resides and a below where the deity does not reside; an erroneous concept in itself.) Worship is purely selfish for both the worshipper and the worshipped. What on Earth could the divine possible want or lack that we as human beings have? Why does a supreme being want love and does he lack it? If he lacks not, then he logically wants not which puts our attempts to praise him in vain.
Vain it is, literally though; it is only vanity. By worshipping a deity we impose vanity upon them. The deity must be able to accept the praises and worships of his people without rejection or humility due to its frequency. Is a vain God a worthy God? Are we created only to validate and enhance God’s vanity? Let’s look at a simple lesson from Hinduism, the worship and image of a Deity is a tool to cultivate the properties imposed on an idol within oneself. So, as human beings by imposing vanity on another being, we cultivate the aspects of that being within ourselves. To worship then has nothing to do with the Divine.
The more I study religion and spirituality the more I realize that it is for us. The attribution of things to the divine is a mistake, as whether or not the divine exists does not matter. Religion is a lesson in self absorption; a tool to escape into the depths of ourselves and hopefully come back with something worthwhile. This is why we created the concept of the devil… for those times that we retrieve something that we or others can’t accept.
A beautiful quote from a book I picked up out of my library and started reading. I found this book in San Diego at an antique book shop near the convention center while attending the American Academy of Religion.
“We call good a principle, when it is only our way of estimating the phenomena of life. Think you there is any good where there is no sense to feel? So good and evil, being only our estimate, of that which we sense – it is our product and must belong to us-and we are the principle after all.”
– F.B Dowd, The Temple of the Rosy Cross – The Soul: Its Powers, Migrations and Transmigrations, p. 11
Whenever I speak to people about Religion in general, ideas such as these come forth quickly. The non-dualistic viewpoint of the world attracts me because it makes sense. The dualities created by theology based on only one God, Multiple Gods, or even No God at all do not make sense. To me it is a sense of attribution of labels. What we want to call God is nothing more than ourselves and/in the world. The concept of God is a way to understand who we really are, not what we are not.
Why would we seek to be closer to God if we weren’t interested in who we are as opposed to who we are not? The closer we get the more we realize we weren’t far away at all, in fact, not even a step.
The following was a reply to a discussion about whether Christians Should be Wealthy or not on myLot Discussions:
What do you need wealth for but to maintain your level of living? What are you going to save for? What are you going to spend on? What is the point of hoarding wealth instead of spreading it to others or into the economy (through purchasing, creating jobs, investing, etc.) Wealth does nothing. It is an insubstantial number in an insubstantial account somewhere…which surprisingly can be used to purchase substantial things. Until it is used it is just potential.
Those who are wealthy are those who have something substantial. This substance can be emotional, mental or physical. Being Christian and having money in an account does not mean you are wealthy, especially if you believe that true wealth is to have the compassion and salvation of your Lord and savior. If you have this, you are wealthy. Is it wrong then to be wealthy in such a manner?
Place this perspective on the concept of wealth and you will see that whatever it is that fulfills you is wealth. If a number in an account fulfills you, then that is wealth. If your friends and family are happy around you and it fulfills you then that is wealth. If knowing you have the kingdom of God in your reach as a promise from your lord and savior, then that is wealth.
Looking at it this way…I don’t see whats wrong with being wealthy, Christian or otherwise.