Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Evil Can Assume The Role Of The Devine In Any Religion

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." -- Blaise Pascal (Pensees, 1670

The notion that men could somehow be licensed to commit mayhem against their fellows in the name of religion or by any other supreme order of higher spiritual power vested in them is an invention, not a divination.

Religion has always attempted to bridge man’s understanding between the spiritual and material worlds and to reconcile the existence of both. Some would say that religion offers humans a Lifeline into the material world from the spiritual plane. Religion is a historic, human translation of man’s origins (on this planet) and purpose, as understood through the words of other men who claimed to have had a higher connection with God than their more common fellows. Impressive treatments of these translations of God’s words and journals of man’s early history are contained in books that are considered to be sacred pronouncements and are therefore treated as Holy Scriptures. Yet they remain in fact, merely history books and compilations of stories and speculation into God and his intentions.

Some men choose to use these works as evidence of the need for divine control over human affairs, relegating humans to a subservient species under God, furthering the argument that we are inferior and require force to control base and immoral tendencies. Were this to be true, the image of any God would suffer in direct proportion from the idea that an all-knowing all-powerful being would need or require lesser beings to lord over and to use for any purpose.

Some men would use these books as touchstones of power to incite fear and to manipulate their fellows. In the worst case, to offer these works as a manifesto to force man to be governed and comply to even more narrow personal translations of “divine law”. They are nothing more than weaker men, without real principles of their own, who seek to empower themselves unnaturally. They have a need to force others to accept their will, not upon reason, but from the false presumption that these works afford them the license to compel others to act on their behalf – because they are doing the work of God and therefore are righteous and holy in any such acts - in a word: entitled.

It is important to note that the “growth of spirituality” is quite a paradox. We cannot help but be innately spiritual and that the native state of any being should be the most obvious quality we possess. Initially explanations for the origins of Life and living organisms, as distinctly different from the material world, grew out of the observations and ponderings concerning these phenomena beyond the understanding of early man. Heavenly bodies were originally the most visible extraterrestrial objects and stories of the Gods of the Sun, Moon and stars were told in hushed tones around primitive campfires.

As man grew in intelligence, speculation into spirituality became more sophisticated. The hunter-gathering mentality of prehistoric man almost 2 million years ago had no religion based on what we know of artifacts from the Paleolithic era. Males hunted and females “kept house” in caves and bore children. What mattered most was the movement of game and so these early tribal groups were necessarily nomadic societies. Everyone had a job that was Life or death in dependence for the tribe. Daily Life was a struggle to find food and stay safe. But during the long nights, they too wondered.

One of the earliest major authorities for religious scripture was known as the Vedas, (also known at Vedic Hymns) and these were formulated into hymns allowing them to be passed from person to person mnemonically in Sanskrit before the language was written. Later these were inscribed on palm leaves, goat skin and papyrus and emerged from India originally by way of their earlier conquerors, rumored to be the Aryans, somewhere near 1500 BC. These became the foundation of the Hindu religion and co-incidentally, the first major alignment of man and his world to a single, all powerful creator (in the likeness of Vishnu). This served to significantly sway the more prevalent Pagan populations away from their prehistorically polytheist tendencies.

Previously the world abounded with all manner of spirits, nymphs and jinn, major and minor gods for almost every occasion of living and they were accessible to any common person without the need for an intermediary. Once monotheism gained a foothold however, entitlement was created for a few select people to represent the interests of a single more elusive, perhaps overburdened god. Thus access to the source of spiritual power became more polarized and in a very important sense, consolidated. The prophets of various religions served, on the one hand, to civilize mankind under a common desire to orient men toward higher integrity, decent conduct and civility toward others, while on the other to shape man’s purpose on Earth to one of adherence to their interpretation of God’s will. Their rules carried the severest penalties possible for failure to comply, including eternal damnation and of course eternal bliss for those who decided to fall in line. Certainly weighty choices by anyone’s standard.

However, as we “re-discover” the true properties of Life, we will again perceive that as one vast body of spirituality, Life connects us all in a way that may explain why some individuals could only conclude that they are “spoken to” by a higher power, rather than better understanding this more basic, all pervasive connection. Most of mankind has succumbed to materialism and apparently has difficulty tuning into this higher frequency of non-physical communication. Oddly enough, again as evidence of this spiritual paradox, Life as the prime motive force in this, or any other Universe is that higher, omnipresent power.

At some point in the future, religion as a study and practice of spirituality will cease to profess the need to subscribe to a divine will from any God and will more probably focus on reacquainting us as spiritual beings with the limitless power of our native state. As our spiritual maturity continues to grow, we will be able to reorient ourselves to understanding our innate abilities as well - without assigning them to a simply more powerfully endowed being, not unlike ourselves in every other way.

In the meantime, any religion or religious faction which promotes violence, or the domination of other people by right of favored interpretation of the word of God, should be relegated to the scrap heap. Those which encourage men to accept greater responsibility for their decisions in Life and to help their fellows in need, not because they are afraid not to, but because it is a great and noble gesture, should be upheld and cherished.

Excerpted from the book: A View Beyond the Stars, on Amazon, iTunes, Lulu and Barnes & Noble

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