Today is sunday which means my favourite day to post. I want to get over all the anger and frustration with what God should or should not have done in my life. Being angry with God is like being angry with the weather – it’s vexation of spirit. To me God is nature or the universe and remains so. Though some friends tell me that my thoughts are contradictory, in my mind everything is harmonious. I know exactly what I want. I’m not confused about anything. I could go to church, sing the hymns and shake hands with the preacher but that doesnt mean I have become a fundamentalist. I call it resilience. I could entertain just about any idea without conclusively accepting it. Being part of a larger community also makes one more humanistic – we just have to agree to disagree.
Last time I heard, my neighbour was praying that Jesus should kill all his enemies and he actually said (verbatim): ‘All my enemies die in Jesus name…die!…die!…die!’ This made me laugh so hard and I figured if not because of the law he will probably ask permission from Jesus and murder them himself. So here we can see the corrupting effect of false religion on the human mind. If Jesus exists in the material world, and if indeed he listened to such prayers we will all be dead by now. Nine out of every ten christian in my country has prayed such prayer before. How will he killing one’s enemies make one’s life better? If one is lazy and ignorant one remains poor and miserable even after all enemies are dead.
As I mentioned earlier I want to draw your attention to three words that reach the heart. These words have proven effect on even the most callous person, provided such a person is actually human. But they are also words that, for the proud in spirit, are difficult to utter. Unfortunately secular education does not teach virtue anymore and it’s sad. They inflate the ego with logic and logic has no reverse gears. So one only needs to keep moving forward. Culture has also evolved in such a way that modesty and politeness especially in men implies a weakness, so now most youths act tough to impress others and it often fails them in the end. The three words which if uttered genuinely, reaches the heart, irrespective of whether the relationship is marital, professional or casual are ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘help me.’ Happy sunday!
Last night I dreamt about the sea.
Its waves so strong, it roared like a mob.
The sea overstepped its shores
And landed on a rocky Island.
I saw a lot of people including kids.
They were having fun in the water.
It looked like a vacation or something.
But some people also seemed like workers.
The water entered a glass building nearby
But nobody seemed alarmed, least of all me.
The strong waves was rather fun to watch.
I was fully dressed but when I looked down
I saw that my feet were buried in blue foamy water.
It felt very cold, then everything receded and
Lo, I’m awake.
It is a fact that different societies have different morals and value systems. This argument is further advanced by most amoralists and serves as a basis for a rejection of universal moral values. But even when we look at the great diversity in human nature, societies and their values and norms, it is by all means that whatever one does, one will be repaid in full. This is what justifies vengeance even if it is done in the name of one god or another god. The desire for justice is innate in every human. Morality itself is not based on reason, it has its basis in instinct. So a rational discussion on morality is futile – one would just be moving in circles. However, one thing that runs through all moral laws irrespective of geographic location, social group, race or nation is that there is reciprocity. There is something akin to a reward or payback (though sometimes difficult to perceive) based on an act that was perpetuated or neglected thereof. This reciprocity is not peculiar to only relationships within social groups, it is the fabric of all individual human interactions. Others call it karma. The problem however is that sometimes this reciprocal relationships are also subject to subjective interpretations and people with similar perspectives randomly self organize and create a morality of their own. They may even seek to punish someone who may have done something right for the majority. In a society as dysfunctional as mine, based on random self organization, criminals or the most unscrupulous are sometimes selected as the decision makers and adjudicators. When it happens that way the righteous is punished and everyone turns evil. There is reciprocity in there. Society has to be better than individuals so it is very important that people aspiring to leadership positions have high ethical principles and are people of highest moral standards. This ensures that the right values are emulated and promoted in the system. Sadly, as the reader may be aware this is often not so. We elect leaders based on their wealth and connections, then we turn around and complain when they attack us.
No psychical activity is as dangerous and self harming as the philosophization of the emotions. To philosophize the emotions is to obstruct it’s path, to preserve its wounds and prevent the individual from training the emotions to successfully deal with life’s daily pains. Philosophy only protects. It does not heal emotional wounds. So herein lies the difference between philosophy and spirituality.
To spiritualize the emotions, in contrast, does not obstruct the flow of the emotions but rather it diffuses it so that its painful effect is no longer felt. This creates a feeling of healing. In other words a kind thought is often the most effective antidote to an evil thought or a negative emotion. Moreover, the misery in this world is what necessitates faith. Our formal educational systems have failed us because they train only the logical mind of a child. They do not train children in emotional intelligence.
Metaphysical poets and prophets often advocate the spiritualization of the emotions over the philosophization of the emotions. Bottom line is this: one must not escape or shield oneself from emotional pain but rather toughen up and overcome it. This is victory for the soul. Any social situation that makes one extremely fearful is necessary for the evolution of one’s soul. However, one could also combine the two ways of dealing with emotional pain – to spiritualize first, and then philosophize – which is probably the best.
When stepped on in front, an earthworm tries to change direction of movement. When stepped on at the rear it immediately speeds up.That way it mitigates the probability of being stepped on again (Nietzsche). Do earth worms have a scientifically observable brain? What about fairy flies and sugar ants who display remarkable intelligence. Many atheists believe that living organisms are self animated – life just happened by accident and organisms simply act by instinct and this instinct according to Dawkins works so well in creating a gene pool from where sometimes reparations are made to the cistron of the organism.
Most birds are born knowing how to fly and build nests. Do you not think that they were endowed with this knowledge by some higher being who made them? Why of all the things that can be instinctively known like burrowing and slithering they didn’t acquire that irrelevant knowledge but rather they knew just the right thing – how to fly and build nests. Different organisms living in the same habitat often acquire distinct characteristics so the environment cannot be the sole determinant of form and physiology. If nature is self animated and works by blind chance (without intelligent design) then something should have gone wrong with instinctive knowing or we shouldn’t have such wonderful symbiosis in the universe. I have never seen self-animated stones or rocks walking on two feet?
I’m aware science has completely eroded age old superstitions and I’m thankful for that. Nonetheless, evolutionary biologists have consistently pounded into our ears, the theory that all living organisms evolved into their current form from a common ancestor. They have not provided sufficient evidence of the existence of this common ancestor neither have they provided sufficient evidence for the transitional forms leading to man. Their strongest evidence of the precise anatomical links between man and ape, or fish and bird is nothing but an artist’s impression. Anybody could make an impression of God and present it as evidence of existence of God. How about that? The many frauds in evolution point to the fact that evolutionary theory is a deliberate scam and probably the biggest deception of humanity. I can’t help but laugh whenever they claim to have made a discovery of the so called missing link – which I believe was their own creation, they even give it a fanciful name as if it were a new born baby. No one has seen God, likewise no one has seen one organism transform into another. So let everyone believe whatever makes meaning to him or her – whether transcendental or empirical. Though I can’t put faith above science, I think the scientific method has certain inherent flaws in so far as it rigidly limits itself to the immediately observable world and rejects intuition.
“Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD….” — Psalm 150:6
Though I don’t consider myself an apologist, I have always defended intelligent design and creationism because I believe the universe has a substructure established by a higher being – an originator and that such a being has no religion. Religion is man’s way of trying to reach who or what we call God but the will of God remains unknown. The strongest and most reliable philosophies are those planted within the emotions, they hijack the passions even before those passions reach the faculty of reason. This is probably why religion is introduced to children at an early stage and I think it is still helpful to society as long as undistorted moral lessons continue to be taught. Any direct attack on religion will backfire.
I also consider the bible a work of literature comprising biographical works, poetry, letters or essays, mythology, folklore, nonfiction and of course fiction etc. It’s not a research work, so I think to question its factual basis is neither here no there. We read such highly fictional works as ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Hobbit’, ‘Hunger Games’and even ‘Animal Farm’ etc with keen interest and often allow aspects of the story to influence us because we discern some truths in them without requiring any proof. Why then do we dismiss such moving stories as Joseph (Which teaches the reality of sibling rivalry, betrayal and forgiveness), The Prodigal Son (Which teaches valuable lessons in life and fathering), and the story of David (Which teaches practical lessons in leadership)?
All religions teach the inspiring truth, not the (whole) philosophical truth. According to Hegel, truth in philosophy means concept and external reality correspond. It’s not always so with religion. True religion fortifies the soul and the spirit (the inner world) so that it can take on the affairs of the external world. It’s method is that of helping the individual neutralize pain by creating channels through which the individual can have hope – call it selective thinking or perceiving. Pain is severe where there is no hope of resolution. Personally, I’m more interested in the lessons or the substance in any story than its factual basis though that’s also relevant to the understanding of the story.
Note: Many years after Joseph forgave his brothers and welcomed them to Egypt, they still believed he hasn’t truly forgiven them and was only waiting for their father to die for him to carry out his revenge. So they sent a messenger to Joseph as soon as Jacob, their father, died reminding him of the promise of forgiveness he made before their father. They might have been so nervous that they soon followed up themselves, knelt before Joseph and said “we are your servants”and he wept when he saw them (Genesis 50:15). Does one really need all the material/historical facts in order to accept the emotional truth of this story?
With regards to the story of the great chronicle of the ancient Israelites, arguably inspired of god and documented in the bible, the reader will notice that there is a huge difference between the god of the old testament and the god of the new. Let’s just assume for the sake of this discussion that those stories were true. One will instantly notice that Moses’s god reflected the character of Moses, a mysterious man and a murderer, whose real name, according to Freud, was Moshe (meaning drawer of water). But he was just what the Hebrews needed at the time. The new testament however reflected the sweet, peace loving, mild mannered and a more rational character of a carpenter’s son called Jesus.
Moses wrote the ten commandments himself. He was said, by Egyptologists, to have been inspired by the moral incantations in the Egyptian book of the dead which was usually buried together with a deceased in a tomb. Moses also advocated ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ mentality whereas Jesus was somewhat opposite by advocating ‘returning good for evil,’ ‘blessing one’s enemies’ and ‘turning the other cheek when slapped.’ I’m sure even the pope will repudiate the literal application of such religious principles. It’s simply too much of idealism but is there really some spiritual truth in self non-defense?
In their forty year or so exodus in the wilderness, the ancient Israelites introduced ‘The Ark of the Covenant of God.’ This was nothing but a deity similar to those found in primitive religions. Literally, a deity is an object or place designated as the dwelling of a god. As the Hebrew tribe progressed towards a more intellectualized society or as their minds could now very well handle abstraction, the gods were rid of their arts and decorations and then came the commandment: ‘Thou shall not make any graven images’…..I’m sure many of you are familiar with this commandment. Think of this. How could Moses present the ten commandments and say,’I, moses, give you infidels and Idolator’s these laws so that you can have a sense of morality.’ They will probably rise up and stone him to death. So he simply said it’s from God.
Each new prophet in the bible revealed an aspect or attribute of the Hebrew god that was initially not known to his followers. By so doing the Hebrew god gradually evolved into a coherent philosophy which needed to be internalized. This was what Jesus finished off after John the baptist. He removed all the unreasonable or unnecessary elements and replaced them with his own ideas about what ought to be or how one ought to live. He was a very rational man but also very compassionate. Note that I’m speaking of Jesus here as a historical figure and the bible simply as literature and subjecting religious writing to a rational interpretation. My conclusion is that all gods exist in and are shaped by human consciousness.
A certain level of pain is necessary for the proper evolution of our thoughts. Sometimes, you can listen to somebody express his or her thoughts and can tell whether those particular thoughts or ideas have undergone much evolution or less evolution. I think pain is necessary in directing our paths towards joy, which is the opposite end of the emotional spectrum.
This concerns possibilities in our personal lives and I intend to make it short. Why are some things thought to be possible and others not possible? And yet the opposite often manifests as true. Many of you will remember the door knob in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ when Alice mistook ‘impassable’ for ‘impossible.’ The knob replied: ‘Nothing is impossible.’ I imagine the fuller meaning will be nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. For instance, most people don’t see any kind of possibility or opportunity in Africa but many are also making a living there and Europeans arrive and depart everyday. A few even naturalize. Real opportunities exist only where there are real problems.
Of course there are limits imposed by actuality on us individually but there is always a way out of every difficulty – it just might take some time. How futile and deficient one’s efforts will be if one is looking for a job but already believes that jobs don’t exist – looking for lasting happiness but already believes that happiness is an illusion – looking for genuine love but already believes there is no such a thing as genuine love. It will be impossible. One’s belief system is like a magnetic field, it has to exist and be strong enough to detect and attract what it’s designed to attract.
If we look at our personal lives, everything we have ever achieved is as a result of believing first that, the objective set is achievable. Our field of perception seem stronger and sharper if backed by a strong realistic belief. I’m not speaking of religious jingoism or delusions or infatuation for a pop star, in the case of love. With such strong realistic belief you will not be drawn back by the dark voices that constantly remind you of your past mistakes and tragedies. The more fearful you become in any venture the more errors you will likely commit. And even when it comes to love and relationships, fear and doubt creates misunderstanding. Openness and honesty is key to character.
In the mind, thoughts and feelings are not categorized into social, economic, political etc as we have it in the institutionalized world. So one problem in one aspect of our lives can affect all other areas if not solved. If you were hurt by those who were supposed to love and protect you, still believe you are lovable. If you had an unhappy childhood filled with traumatic events, still believe you can experience peace and happiness and lastly, if you were despised and didn’t get much by way of erudition, still you can earn a living. How else will I know if I had not directly and indirectly experienced most of these. Happy Sunday to all of you! Especially you. You know yourself.