Rita on religions, faith, and knowing

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

5:50 a.m. Miss Rita? You’re up, and no questions to take care of. I trust you prepared your lesson plan.

Remember the ultimate goal. “What is it they do over there?” Even though it is not “they” and not “over there.” Your time requires a new look at what it still calls the afterlife, because the old religious filters have become toxic – I’ll explain why in a moment – and the new New Age filters are tentative and disconnected, and the predominant belief as a consequence is that there probably isn’t any afterlife at all!

And if you can’t understand the extent of life, you can’t sense the meaning of life, specifically, your own life.

And that is no minor problem. I said old versions have turned toxic, and I know you got why. You explain and I will correct or supplement if necessary.

I got that religion in its present forms is too much a matter of faith and too little a matter of knowledge. Or, worse, it is faith at war with knowledge. Therefore, it becomes blind faith, which leads to fanaticism, or becomes half-hearted belief, which leads to going through the motions. Neither is healthy.

You know what Emerson said.

He said a religion is dead if reforms do not proceed from it.

Meaning, perhaps, that a true religion serves as course-correction. If you sense a truth truer than your contemporaries hold, it will lead you to see very clearly what in contemporary practice is wrong, and how to set it right. It will inspire its followers with zeal. It will point the way.

The closest thing to that phenomenon that I have seen in my life lately was Bernie Sanders’ campaign to reawaken the nation to the fact that it has been traveling the wrong path. But that reform effort came from no church.

You have seen a far more powerful reform movement proceed from black churches in the 1950s, the desegregation movement. But the point of religions is not to effect social change. That is a by-product (and a tell-tale sign) of their real effect, and their real cause, which is a readjustment of a people’s view of humanity’s place in this world and the next world.

Religion gives people meaning. It stems from people’s new understandings, and it produces new understandings. It helps people along the way, until it turns toxic. Then it becomes a corrupt and corrupting institution because no longer based in truth. No, a better way to say that would be, because no longer able to serve as a conduit by which people can connect to truth.

Which is also a capsule description of scientism, the religion of science.

Yes it is. Or Communism, or any of the various forms of worship of the state, or of the engine of social progress. [By this I think she meant, the Party.] Any system of belief that ultimately rests upon blind faith rather than knowledge ultimately leads the faithful to blindly follow “the party line” no matter what it is called. It becomes captured by the most cynical, and it begins to do immense damage.

But although all this is true, it is not my point here. My point is not to reform Christianity or bring back Jove or Odin, but to show the results of lack of knowledge – in terms that make sense to people – of the connection of their 3D life to the rest of their life, which means, in context, their connection to the fabric of the world. Not just the 3D world, but the non-3D world too. You see?

Oh yes. We have need of a religion to organize our perceptions and to show us how to connect or stay connected, but in practice it tends to turn into an organization focused on social control, therefore replacing explanation with obedience.

That’s right. But when a new way to connect arises – and it is more likely going to be experiential than theoretical, of course – the new way will not be organized except to facilitate the access. Social control comes much later, and is not necessarily good or bad. It depends on the context. Some societies require or respond to such control positively, some do not.

Islam organized the Arabs, and had enough truth in it, relative to what their neighbors had, that it swept across the Near East, and northern Africa, and into Spain and France. That wasn’t done by military force alone. It was the power of the Word that allowed the power of the Sword to prevail.

A closer example would be science as a belief-system. Science as a means toward technology overthrew (tacitly) many an encrusted religion, as people saw more truth in what they took to be the fruits of Reason than in blind faith. It wasn’t a crusade of scientists warring on older religions. It was the natural result of juxtaposition. People saw the results of one, they saw the results of the other, and there they were.

But that still doesn’t quite get us to our part in the story. We aren’t out to set up a new religion, any more than Seth was. We set out to satisfy a thirst among those who have the thirst. The thing is, that is how all belief-systems begin.

I sense you getting ready to pause because it’s too late in the process to open a new topic.

Correct. Till next time.

Till next time, then, and thanks.


2 thoughts on “Rita on religions, faith, and knowing

  1. One thing that pops up in your texts recently is vikings: they are place-fillers in lists of characters, and now Odin is a place-filler for a god. Is there a nordic streak emerging? It looks new. Makes me a bit curious.

    I’ve thought about the arrowhead analogy (and analogy is such a slippery slope, I know) and how we as consciousness place ourselves in the scene. If we identify with what is happening/moving, that is the arrowhead. And it will feel extremely precarious, and the me as arrowhead wants to fly safely into a nice place. And it cannot really control the flight except maybe by introducing some wobble that interferes with reaching the target. Placing one’s identity in the completely impermanent movement/action part will cause anxiety. To feel something else than impermanence, one has to be able to feel it experientially. Religions that offer only stories will not suffice. The connection to the propelling force must be available experientially.

    What would help the arrowhead in mid-flight get complete trust in what is happening? In the full knowledge that the arrowhead will hit something. Sometimes a goal, sometimes ground, sometimes bushes. The flight will end. Only concentrating on the arrowhead wish to be comfortable and safe makes the source and the goal completely irrelevant.

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