Saturday, January 27, 2007

More About...That

How many people do you know who have sailed off on spiritual odysseys? Researched and studied and read and meditated. And came out with…something. Whatever conventional definition of the Greater Power filled their personal voids. But five decades of my life have, for whatever reason, worn down and given the lie to the simple, child-like notion of a God who is patriarch, brother, and/or friend. We’re supposed to believe that this great Guy in the sky loves us beyond our capacity to understand. BUT he allows us to screw up, suffer, experience excruciating emotional or physical pain, in order to teach us Important Lessons. Or to make us worthy to stand in his presence at the end of our lives. Or because his ways are unknowable, so we just have to suck it up.

I’m sorry…I’m not buying it. What father, brother, or friend capable of relieving pain or ending suffering, wouldn’t do it? Whoever came up with all this must have issued forth from the mother of all dysfunctional families. And had some really rotten friends.

Yet millions of mortals are devoutly convinced they have seen or experienced some irrefutable proof of the existence of this God, this spirit being who bears such an uncanny resemblance to…humans. But where the real power lies is in human desire. We can want something so much, with all the incredible force that only the human will can exert, that we virtually command it into existence. We can believe something—even the greatest lie—so strongly that it becomes truth. I’ve seen it; I’ve done it. In fact, anyone who has lived through the events of the last six years of American history has witnessed this phenomenon in spades.

In light of what I have lately witnessed, in my own life and in the world around me, conventional human religious beliefs appear fundamentally flawed. At best, perhaps they are mankind’s panacea for our unfortunate cognizance of our own mortality. We need to believe that death is not the end. Without an "afterlife" to aspire to, we probably would have gone irretrievably insane centuries ago.  Check that...we ARE insane, aren't we?  I guess that hasn't been an effective tactic after all...

At worst—and I fear this is closer to the truth—our major religions could easily be intricate webs of lies, heresies, fairy tales and black magic woven together by powerful individuals seeking to enhance and expand that power. It’s difficult to believe otherwise when faced with the death, destruction, murder, mayhem and intrigue done all over the globe, throughout human history, in the name of "God."

to be continued...


  1. Powerful writing.  I'm looking forward to the rest of the piece.

  2. Me too.  Looking forward to reading more, I mean.

    Forest Church, a Unitarian minister who has written a number of books, says religion is about the fact that we live and then we die.  You might really enjoy reading him.  Or not.  I'm not sure I agree with his definiiton, but maybe sometimes I do.

    As far as the real power residing in human desire -- well, yes.  The question then bcomes: does our desire lead us to fabricate the existence of God, or does it lead us to God?

  3. It seems that his name is spelled with 2 "r"s.  Forrest Church.
    And I'll try to correct my url, too.  With friends like these... .

  4. It's nice to see that someone else has given thought to this matter. We won't try to espouse our own philosophy here; the point, after all, is to reach the end by one's own path, not by following in the footsteps of others. We wish you happiness on your journey.

    Bonnie and Walt

  5. C'mon, get the rest out on paper.  I'm intrigued and anxious to read on.

  6. Yeah, I'm there with you Lisa.  But I'm also aware that the NICER, BETTER people that I know personally tend to be somewhat religious...emphasis on the "somewhat".  I'm not talking about the extremists, they are horrible.  But most of us seem to conduct ourselves a little better if we think that someone out there is keeping track or keeping score. So I'm torn.  Does it take a fairy tale or moral fable to keep my behavior in check?

  7. Sometimes, I think the core of religion is control. Powers use it to control others. Individuals use it to not accept control. But, ultimately, I just don't know. Do I need to?

  8. The most effective parents discover that doing everything for your kids only creates spoiled, lazy, unproductive adults with definite issues.  Allowing them to screw-up, even to suffer, really does teach them Important Lessons.  At the same time, we are there to comfort, support, help them help themselves.

  9. I believe that there is truth with a big T. What we see around us is truth with a small t. As much as we can understand with our puny little brains. Which doesn't seem to be much right now.


  10. I think that this IS the afterlife, and that previously we all lived in Paterson, New Jersey.