Tuesday, 16 July 2013

God is sneaky II: Good Vibrations

By James Kyle

As I was saying in this post, the false certainty of believing in a mainstream religion holds many attractions. Believers can take great comfort from a belief in, for example, Christ and the promised eternal afterlife (for those members of the correct club).

Standing outside this ”members only” sweet shop, looking in through the window, it is easy to feel envious and starved of the comforts within. I myself found myself thinking this way having rejected Catholicism. I rejected the spiritual trash, but I also discarded my spiritual compass in the process. I began to question myself, Am I just being too analytical? What about the concept of inviting god in? Am I missing out here?

It was this that brought me to read ”Experiences of god,” a nonsensical and yet beautiful book. These accounts of what religious experience means to people and how they “encounter god” are beautiful for their heartfelt descriptions of a divine connection. From my perspective, however, they are nonsensical because it is evident that these expressions are being molded by conditioned mental constructs and mapped on to the words of the good book that was their straitjacket as they grew up, whether the bible itself or an new-age derivative. But of course, as ever, the preceding comment is not all or nothing. Not all the contributors were seduced by convenient off the shelf spiritual entities such as the perennial angel, vibrating or not. The overriding sense that I was left with after reading this book was one of relief. It was not the case that I was missing out. It was as I suspected all along - that I had successfully evaded fooling myself into falling for pre-packaged make-believe.

And this make-believe can be very seductive indeed. When I lived in LA, I used to visit quite regularly the Agape spiritual church, in Culver City. The minister was charismatic, the choir was beautifully gifted, and the guest signers were drawn from the talent pool of LA. It was an entrancing and joyous atmosphere. I felt the joy like everyone else. Unlike most there however I did not belief this was a consequence of a disembodied Christ co-habiting my body. The overall point I am trying to make in this series of articles is that dictated religion consists of partial truths and believing 100% in such strangles true spirituality. Crucially, if you outside looking enviously in then don't. Accept the uncertainty, embrace the vulnerable freedom, and if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

To Be Continued