Sunday, December 21, 2008
Mysticism...running the world?
I have developed what some might call "a problem" in life. I have come to a point where I reject ALL forms of mysticism that seems to run our lives, our religions, our governments, even our medias.
Part of these ideas hit home again with me yesterday when I was visiting the Embera Indian village. Here was a race of people who have survived for centuries without global knowledge or education. They only recently started using money and telephones. In the midst of all this they continue practicing a mix of ancestral worship, holistic medicine, and just in case...some of them embrace Evangelical Christianity.
I have to preface this blog for some of you who don't know that I grew up with very heavy Evangelical Christian roots. That background is still a very real part of my thinking and value system...yet I spent a majority of my teen and young adult years "fighting the devil" of doubt. Yes, Doubting Thomas (one of Jesus' beloved disciples) is probably my favorite disciple of history. He was sometimes strong and sometimes weak in believing what he was told by Jesus. Yet, he had the advantage of knowing him "in person" and seeing his works. If HE had a problem believing Jesus was going to rise from his grave in three days, should it be any wonder many of us do?
I have studied the Bible quite thoroughly, went to my share of church services, and read most of the renown "apologists" for the faith of the last 2000 years. After all that, I still have a problem sifting fact from fiction, God from Man, and mysticism from reality. I have talked to many significant "ministers" of the faith who also quietly admit their struggles with Christian dogma.
And if that is not enough, I am tired of all the politicizing and media slanting of religion. Take the recent hoopla this week of President Elect Obama asking Rick Warren to do the invocation at the inauguration. It seems the gays, some Jews, and probably not a few Muslims are quite offended at the choice. Personally I totally understand the choice as Mr. Warren has written a number of successful books and chosen to mix politics and religion going back to the first debate with John McCain. So why was it OK for him to moderate that forum, but NOT do the prayer at the inaugural? I guess Obama needed to form a chorus of ALL religions represented in America to please everybody...American Indian chiefs, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, Catholics, Protestants and even Humanists...EVERYONE should have a representative at the swearing in it seems to guarantee God's blessing on America.
What does this have to do with "mysticism"? I am going to throw out a probably controversial position with many of you. I hope you will read with an open mind. First, what is mysticism, or a mystic? For this discussion I choose the second two definitions in the dictionary as more descriptive...
1)A belief in the existence of realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension that are central to being and directly accessible by subjective experience.
2)Vague, groundless speculation.
I will submit the idea here that all of man's religions are "mystic" in nature. All "faiths" demand a certain "leap" from reality to that which cannot be proven. We justify our progressions of faith based on some innate need to know or answer all of life's difficult questions. Why is there war? Why some people are good and other's evil? What is the DEFINITION of good and evil?
Now most people reading this will probably think of a multitude of Bible verses, passages in the Quran, or quotes from their various religious leaders or teachers to answer those short but difficult questions. Yet, at the end of the day I submit that those definitions are based on human majorities or wealthy minorities throughout human history who have sought to bring peace and happiness to the human masses through strict guidelines of living...behavior modification is what it might be called in the science of Psychology.
Now why bring up this "nasty", divisive diatribe against human traditions and belief systems? Why can't I just go along with the throng of faithful believers from which I came? Life would be so much simpler and I would probably be loved and respected more.
One of many reasons is that I see mysticism through religion running our world at present...and not in a positive direction. Most of the world's wars and differences between the haves and have nots are based on fundamental differences of "belief". How do YOU name God? If you pray, what do you pray for? World peace and an end to poverty? Understanding and enlightenment...though you are afraid to pick up a book or listen to someone with ideas contrary to yours?
Most humans in our world spend 90% of their time in families, churches and synagogues preparing to defend themselves from the "unbelievers". I should say, 90% of their free time which is very little, because most people in the world spend 90% of their waking hours in a short life just working and thinking how to get by...find food, shelter and clothing...to either stay alive, or "keep up with the Jones". Few of us have really studied comparative religions or even human psychology. Some of us who have are really screwed up with many internal conflicts and a sense that "the more we know, the more we know we DONT know". So, we find ourselves not fitting in, feeling a bit more alone in the world of thought, and some get downright desperate to the point of finally giving in to a "leap of faith" they really don’t understand...or totally escaping from the world in general. I am meeting more and more "escapists".
Again, what's my problem with this? My problem is the lack of intelligent conversation on the crucial issues that face our very survival as humans. My problem is the many voices in religion, government and the media who manipulate and control our thinking with diversionary attention tactics. Have you ever wondered why the media focuses so much on death and murder, robberies and mayhem, instead of political issues, economic theories or even positive scientific discoveries that often save millions of fellow humans? No...THEY want us living in fear and faith, waving our political identity flags of moral superiority, and thinking that WE are more right and therefore hold more value in the world than those who are not of our race, nationality or religion. Most Presidents and leaders both domestic and foreign continue to invoke God into their speeches and interviews. "Faith is important" they say, but heaven forbid if you don't believe in supporting their wars or unfair socialistic practices. They want to legislate morality for their own ends...and FORCE anyone who doesn't agree to see it their way. Unfortunately in my mind, all religions and governments I have known are guilty of this "mystic manipulation".
Now I am meeting scores of people everywhere I go who are questioning ALL authorities. They have been let down or misled by hypocritical clergy and government leaders. Their economic advisers and managers have taken the masses on a ride of mystic manipulation that everything is all right with their money and their debts. If you just believe and keep spending and borrowing...God and your government will bail you out of whatever financial devastation you encounter.
I know this is coming off harsh for some people, but I am truly fed up with mystic manipulation of our world. I am concerned about many groups of humans who to date have not found a way to participate in the common discourse of human affairs. I am concerned for many stout hearts and minds that COULD lead our world out of these modern "Dark Ages"...but whose voices and thinking are being strangled by the larger chorus of "leaders" who control our Medias and institutions. Is this a "conspiracy" by a few to control and/or profit from our ignorance and trust? Or are we just born to be "sheep eventually led to the slaughter", crying out for God to "save us" or destroy those who are persecuting us.
Let me wrap up for now with a little more positive messaging. If my combined lifespan of thought tied to this little blog helps ONE strong thinking person participate in the dialogue of reason and action...then it is worth whatever cost of "rejection" I am risking with this blog. I am not here to promote a cause, religion or movement. I am just one human trying to reach out to others in a rational way.
I think Jesus, Mohammed, and most of the world's religious origins of personality were real people. I just think we humans have taken some of their original good works and message, and diverted it to our own extrapolations and justifications. I think it's time for the "power of one" to come alive in each of our minds and souls to make a difference HERE AND NOW. Let us not rationalize our inactions to some belief in a mystical "future life". We humans are reaping what we sow NOW in our economics, our bad health, and our complacent or negative reaction to all that is going on around us.
We need more souls like the anonymous young Chinaman in Tiananmen Square who stood in front of the tanks that were ready to attack the people. No one knows what happened to him and death estimates from that 1989 protest range anywhere from 180 to 6000. Who really knows? "They" don't want to say.
We need more "Paul Reveres" who rode through his region announcing the impending attack of the "British". A lot of people probably didn't believe him.
And we need more people like Jesus, who in 33 short years revolutionized his time and space in the world. He was put to death for going against the status quo and religion of his own people. His death...and reported resurrection...revolutionized the minds of the masses in those times. I don't know if I will ever be put to death for my ideas and beliefs, but least I can do is write a blog and hope it is a positive influence in a needy world. Hopefully the next "Jesus" won't be so heavily misquoted or used by the powers that be.
Now to only have the strength to push the "publish" button...