I had a strange experience last night, one of those ‘revelations’ or ‘epiphanies,’ that crazy people sometimes have. Now I am not a religious person as I believe I have made abundantly clear in my previous posts and my general face-to-face demeanor. This whole site, in many different ways, combines the themes of belief systems and the impact of lying on the world. It is about believing lies and trying to turn them into reality. If I had to define this it would be as ‘the devastation of hope.’
But the reasoning behind this hallucination I had yesterday is something worth considering, the idea of telling myself something I need to know, the sort of thing so many people grow terrified of and attribute to an amorphous and indefinable god. This is why so many contrary religions and belief systems go to war, or slaughter, and the world is a much more frightening place. I am presently reading the bible (old and new testaments), to be followed by the Koran to get the trilogy done. From the very start I recognized these stories as fantasies, truly no different from the glorious tales of polytheistic gods and the battles atop holy mountains. These are the same stories told in different ways. They provide, however, much the same meaning deep down. They are about taking responsibility out of human hands.
But we were granted free will by the slick politicians who organized the parties named Judaism, Christianity and Islam, not to mention the still scattered self invented faiths, Hinduism being the largest example. The big three, well, they are collaborative works.
We can use religion to avoid all responsibility for evil. We can blame other people or call it God’s plan or even defend a rather silly concept like ‘the devil’ by granting to human monsters the status of demonic power. Even the whole black and white concept deep at the heart of so many faiths is a superhero story when we strip it away from threats and commands. It is good versus evil and sometimes good does not win.
The reason I am reading these bibles is not because I have somehow found faith or expect to be moved to an acceptance of The Lord. But these are the foundational stories of the age of most rapid development in all of human history. And before that idea is attacked because of the rather primitive nature of these lingering ideologies from days long gone by, let us consider the positives that have influenced mankind for the past, let us say, six thousand years:
- Art has become something that matters to people
- Medicines have allowed people to live significantly longer
- We have sped up transportation, information retrieval and access to nearly everything the world has to offer based, of course, on economic considerations and the popular prejudices of the moment.
- There is more food to feed the hungry (before we start running out).
- Water has been somewhat purified so most people can avoid the painful cracked ground of dying from thirst
- Society has developed with laws to protect most people from harm
- Religions have given desperate people something to believe in outside of themselves.
In other words, we live longer, think harder and do many more interesting things.
But it is the last one is the heart of all these holy books. The real lesson is that we sometimes have to look outside of ourselves and understand that not everything is under our control. That we are not gods. Even that there isn’t anything called ‘God’ in the ways all human history has thought since some caveman watched the sun rise and said, “There has to be something more than just this.”
We need someone else to take blame for our failures and if we are unable to think of anything we often turn to ‘God’s plan,’ as written down in an effort to keep people safe. It was the lesson, once again, that we all live together in a community and sometimes things will not go our way. For an unfortunate few things might never be how you want them to be.
But c’est la vie, as both French people and the pretentious (so not confuse the two of them either, except when you cannot help doing so) sometimes say. Such is life. Even that sounds like an old-fashioned rabbinical shrug–what can ya do, what can ya do?
Religion asks us to humble ourselves really before our individual realities and accept that we are in control of only our own lives, no matter how hard we wish to control others. We are really all alone, all of us, even those with a gigantic collection of friends and family. Humble yourselves before whichever ‘god’ you claim is true, even if that god really is yourself. Humble yourself. It’s all we are asked to do.
Jesus Christ, as I understand it, never said that he was ‘The Son of God.” He said that “We are all children of God,” himself and all the rest of us. He called God “The father,” meaning “The Creator” of everything we have. It was only after the Romans with the help of his political enemies had him killed in a particularly awful manner that his followers turned him into an elite, really the opposite meaning of who the man truly was. They made him a god to challenge the powers of Mars and Venus. It was here on earth, looking down from the stars. And humble yourselves, get along. And this ‘god’ of theirs’ they used to justify everything terrible–floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, not to mention crime and injustice. I mean, there are still people today who think that because the bible had a lot of slaves in it that the practice should still exist today.
There is nothing more powerful, in the end, than fear. Even love cannot conquer fear because from the second you have found it you start to worry that somehow you’ll lose it. And there is really nothing else. Fear. Fear. Fear creates a door against the cold wind blowing through all of our lives.