Saturday, 13 July 2013

God is sneaky

By James Kyle

Yes, god is sneaky. At least the concept is. There are some indications that believing in a religion is good for your health, and in fact can even help you live longer. I remember when I was at university in Scotland being really envious of a classmate who was a religious believer with deep convictions – a faith that manifestly made her very happy indeed. However even then I realized that there was a disconnect between this inner peace and the assumed source of this internal happiness - that a state of mind was being mapped on to a mental construct dressed up as an eternal truth.

Myself, I had rejected a catholic religion that promulgated a warped concept of sexuality and dictated the need for all of its followers to focus on their mistakes, on their “sins.” And here we have a clue as to why it is important to not be locked into this false sense of – “well if it makes you happy…”

All religions are philosophical models of life that strain to bestow upon themselves the ultimate legitimacy of having the mandate of god. However, they are, in fact, imperfect philosophical systems like any other, with partial truths and major failings – like the idea that it is be good to be judgmental towards oneself for one’s own mistakes. And, of course, this presumed fact that the wisdom has a divine source means that, in effect, it becomes the very antithesis of true spirituality, where an individual lives in the now, open to the interplay between his or her self expression and the feedback from the universe in the each and every moment. I still recall the conditioning of the catechism from pre-teen school years, Q:“Is the Pope infallible?”, A:”Yes the Pope is infallible.” Pithy, and if you really understand the ramifications, terrifying.

Cracks in this cosy world view began to surface for me when I read of the Israelites, accompanying the ark of the covenant, and forbidden from touching the holy of holies, been struck dead by their god because they handled it while trying to prevent it from falling to the ground. Okay, pretty hard to reconcile that with a merciful god.

The static nature of an inflexible philosophy is even more manifest in the Islamic religion. However, if you pause to consider the logic of the situation, the proponents of this religious world view kind of make more sense. If their philosophy is the word of god, then it should be unchallengeable, immutable, fixed. It is the word of god, after all. Again a pretty terrifying thought.

I would suggest that all of the above has a very direct impact on the quality of all of our lives. Even if not a Christian, most of the people reading this blog post will be living in a country where the societal philosophical ethos is based on Christian principles. These spoon fed partial truths, foisted upon us by default religions, prevent us from truly taking responsibility for our own spiritual beliefs. And it is only by embracing the latter that we can become truly empowered individuals.

To Be Continued