Religion: a primer

Religion, for most, was always optional.

Something we might be vaguely aware of, and this awareness would temper, to one degree or another, our behavior towards ourselves and others.
When Christianity, in its various flavors, ruled supreme, this was fine. Good enough.
But now? What now? With Christianity under full attack, and in full retreat, right across the western world, what are we supposed to think, now?
Well. Religion was never really a thinking thing, at all, as atheists everywhere, to their glee, have discovered. It never made much sense. To the thinking mind.
What is the point of religion, anyway?

In a word: Reverence.
Stop and consider that word. Go on. Consider it.
Reverence.
Defined, for the most part, as a profound awe, respect and love, usually in connection with The Divine. Whatever that means.
Reverence towards The Divine.
And that is what religion should be about. And does modern Christianity inspire this reverence? Um. Well no. Not really. Not for very many. And why is this?

Christianity has always been nonsense. Sad but true. And now, finally, there is no option but to come right out and admit it. The foundations have cracked and settled, the edifice is leaning, the roof leaks, and sooner or later, down it’s all going to come.

Jesus was not, as he is so often, and so smugly claimed, The One And Only Son Of God. And you can be reasonably certain that he, himself, never claimed himself to be. Others, much later, made that claim. So what was Jesus?
Jesus was a lowly carpenter, born like all men were born, to a woman. He lived this way for thirty years, before the change.
And all that stuff about The Three Kings, and The Virgin Birth? Spin. Sales hype. Hollywood-style manipulation to add to something that would have been far better off, and far more believable, without it.
So, this being the probable case, why Jesus? What made him special?
It is here that we enter my particular area of expertise…

Enlightenment.
How Jesus came to be enlightened, we will never know, unless we manage to become enlightened, ourselves. And very few will ever manage this metaphysical feat. Very few have, in all of human history. But some have…

Jesus, we are told, went forty days and nights, alone in the desert, without enough food, or water. And that, alone, might have been enough to sufficiently alter his state, that he was able to pass through ‘the eye of the needle’, into a state of being One with Everything. Which is basically what enlightenment is. And this is important to appreciate, because the enlightened being is suddenly aware that he is God, and God is him, and there is neither difference, nor separation between them, nor between anything else that exists.
Yes, you read that right. That is what enlightenment is. And so…

It is hardly surprising that Jesus would have said, to the very next person he met:
“I am God, and God is me!” Or something very similar.
And hardly surprising that anyone hearing him say this would – having no more than an everyday context in which to frame it – interpret this to mean that Jesus was claiming that he actually was God, and God was actually him.

Imagine this. Some wild-eyed hobo from the desert, claims he is God.
How do you receive this? Do you consider him deluded? Most would. Do you take him at his word? Some would.
Even though Jesus never was making this claim, for himself; he was, in fact, doing something very similar to describing the current weather. He was simply stating fact. This was his new reality, post-enlightenment. He could not contain it.

And so to cut an endless subject, to a suitable length, that was what Jesus was.
And forever worthy of reverence and respect, for achieving enlightenment, at all.
And not The One And Only Son Of God, after all.

The problem, you see, with Christianity, is that it is not true. I wish it were, but wishing it were does not make it so. It is a fabulous fabrication, superimposed upon real people and real events, that has had a very dubious result.
We are taught young, or at least we were, until recently, to fear God.
To merely worship Him, while living in fear of His wrath.
Thereby never making the journey toward Him, to join with Him, because, really, who would make such a journey, towards the source of their fear? Very few. A further consequence of this teaching is that there would, guaranteed, be no more like Jesus. And so Jesus would be, forever, The Only One.

But the very few who have made such a journey, in spite of their fear, have overcome their fear, dumped (or lost) everything they had, burned their bridges as they went, and actually arrived at the source. Became God, in part and in whole. This is fact. It can be done. It has been done.

Better yet: it can be done without being miserable one’s entire life, in a holy-moly quest for Christian purity. Which, as far as I can see, is more than likely to end in failure, anyway. It can be done, in whole, or in part, through one single concept.
Reverence! Remember? Reverence.

There is far more to say, write, discover, know. But not nearly as much as you might think. Because the path towards God is the simplest thing there is. Jesus said it, himself. Apparently. Although it somehow got turned into masses of incredibly arcane mumbo-jumbo by the people responsible for Christianity.
The reality is very, very simple. There is nothing to know, but this:

You are responsible for the growth of your own soul.
Nobody can attend to this for you. It is yours to do, and yours alone.
You can choose to live without a soul, if you prefer.
Many do. We know them as leftists.
But growing, caring-for, and finally setting free your soul, either at death, by default, or before, as in enlightenment, this is the whole and actual purpose of living.
It is, in fact, The Meaning Of Life.

You never expected to discover that, here, did you?

16 Comments

  1. Bruce Charlton says:

    Christianity has always been nonsense? Says who? Well, various progressives, Leftists, nihilists for the past couple of hundred years; but why believe them? Have the really thought it through? No. Have they examined the assumptions and implications? No. Are they half-baked? Yes.

    Why do you believe yourself on this matter? Why not believe Siant Curthbert, Bede, Thomas Aquinas? Or Pascal? Or CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien? (Or Peter Kreeft?) – are they stupid? If you reject so many of the best people of the past, the consensus of the past; then you might as well forget any notion of being conservative or traditionalist.

    Is it not very likely that you personally have been corrupted by the current environment? This idea of self-cultivation only emerged in the German Romantic movement, spreading to the British Roamtics like Cleridge and Worsworth; then the New England Transcendentalists.

    But does it really make any sense to talk of the soul and self-cultivation? I thought about this as hard as I could for several decades, read many books – and re-read them, I tried to live it – but I couldn’t make any sense of it.

    In the end it reduces to subjectivism, relativism, hedonism, self-gratification, avoidance of suffering – and selfish short-termist pleasure seeking since the future is conjectural and we are unsure what other people want (or indeed whether they really exist).

    And if that is the ‘meaning’ of life, then life has no meaning – so we are talking about nihilism.

    Yet nihilism is self-refuting.

    *

    The only coherent philosophical conclusion is monotheism – as the most thoughtful and intelligent people from the Ancient Greeks and Hebrews up to modern times have realized.

    Christianity of course requires revelation – so there is an argument about what kind of monotheist you might be – but monotheism is just unavoidable if you follow the logic.

    1. 1349 says:

      …Says who? Well, various progressives, Leftists, nihilists for the past couple of hundred years

      They just negate the negation.
      Fundamentally, christianity is nihilism is liberalism is progressivism is leftism.

      If you reject so many of the best people of the past, the consensus of the past…

      The consensus of which past exactly? :)
      My particular country was in its prime when its peoples were heathen.

      In the end it reduces to subjectivism, relativism, hedonism, self-gratification, avoidance of suffering – and selfish short-termist pleasure seeking

      Christianity, as an initially (and purposefully?) unbalanced doctrine in which “yin”/”the dark” is banned, HAS ALREADY reduced to subjectivism, relativism, hedonism, solipsism, self-gratification, avoidance of suffering, selfish short-termist pleasure seeking, affirmative action, legal same sex marriage, LGBT propaganda and so on. :)

      growing, caring-for, and finally setting free your soul, either at death, by default, or before, as in enlightenment, this is the whole and actual purpose of living.

      vs.

      And if that is the ‘meaning’ of life, then life has no meaning – so we are talking about nihilism.

      Oh, right, the Hindus, for instance, are nihilists and their life has no meaning. 8)

    2. crow says:

      True religion, Bruce, has nothing whatsoever to do with thinking, and everything to do with being.
      Logic, rationality, calculation, are the domain of mud and guts.
      Intellect will never discover the path to God.
      Furthermore: nobody else but you is able to do what only you can do.
      Give birth to the vehicle that makes the journey that you can not: your own soul.
      It doesn’t get more simple than that, and that is precisely why so few have ever been able to see it.

      1. Mr. Sardonicus says:

        Actually, Plato laid the rational foundation for discovering god.

    3. Mr. Sardonicus says:

      1) Actually, Xtianity and Judaism are just half-baked, bargain basement knock-offs of Zoroastrianism. Also, you don’t have to be a progressive, a Leftist, or a nihilist in order to take a dim view of Xtianity. You can just as easily be a White traditionalist and think this slave religion from the East is a noxious poison.

      2) Best people of the past? How about Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle? I wonder what they would have made of Xtianity? Of course there’s always Nietzsche who spoke more eloquently on the subject than anyone before or since.

      3) The idea of self-cultivation extended among the Germanic peoples well before the advent of the Nazarene Plague, as it did among all the Indo-European peoples.

      4) In the end, you only get out of life what you put into it. No one can do the work for you, you have to do it yourself. There are no mail-order enlightenments, there is only hard, unflinching self-examination and endless refinement.

  2. Jul210s says:

    Cleridge and Worsworth?

    1. Missy says:

      Maybe Bruce means Coleridge & Wordsworth?

  3. lisacolorado says:

    I was worried at first that one of my new favorite blogs would be so far from what I think, but I’m glad I read it and found out!

    A few thoughts: Religion is subjective and there are levels of Truth that are objective, others subjective. Rumi said, in one of his poems, the only proof of the sun is the sun.

    The test of a philosophy is its ramifications in real life. For example the Rousseau philosophy of the ‘natural man’ needing to be free does not result in people being freed. It results in some people declaring what the naturalness must be and enforcing their idea of naturalness. (to put it roughly.)

    I’ve studied the gospels and am now making my way through the Old Testament. I’ve also read the Jefferson Bible, the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. The philosophy of Jesus is basically, ‘take your pain because it brings you closer to God,’ ‘forgive your brother before you go make an offering in the temple,’ ‘give until you can feel it.’ And the end result if you live that philosophy is, life for everyone will be better.

    I don’t call myself a Christian because I don’t believe the sales hype, as you put it.

    Thanks.

    1. Mr. Sardonicus says:

      Ditch the Xtian crap and pick up the Prose Edda, the Vedas or Plato’s Republic if you want to understand of Indo-European soul.

    2. Mr. Sardonicus says:

      Ditch the Xtian crap and pick up the Prose Edda, the Vedas or Plato’s Republic if you want an understanding of the Indo-European soul.

  4. Paul M says:

    That stuff with the three kings, the massacre of innocents etc etc was grafted onto the original gospel of Mark by Matthew and Luke. You can tell, because their accounts differ – same as their accounts of what happened after the empty tomb (which is where Mark originally stopped) differ.

    1. crow says:

      Apostles are, like all over-enthusiastic zealots, apt to mis-tell the words of The Master, whomever that Master is, thus inadvertently rendering those words into something that they, themselves, can understand.

      With the best of intentions, followers and disciples are loose cannons, that lacking the living Master to correct them, can wreck everything The Master achieved.

  5. etype says:

    Good article. Actually Jesus did say he was son of God, and that we all were sons of God. There is a specific passage, and I have to reread to find it…but when I read it, it was a revelation. My first thought was ‘why has no one told me this?’

    Later I got into a discussion with a traditional Christian, and they vehemently denied this… I remember how purple their face became with the force of their denial. I told him ‘unfortunately I do not remember the exact verse and chapter, but I will look for it…it was asked if Jesus claimed to be the son of God…and Jesus said he was the son of God, but did he not say love your Father in Heaven? And if God is the Father, are you not also the son?

    As to the other comments concerning Christianity, Vedas etc.
    All truth is surrounded by a cloud of lies. It is the nature of the world. But I think we have been given nothing of a direct message like the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth. I’m not saying the ‘bible’ or ‘new testament’, or Christianity for these are the clouds. And it being set among the Jews is another cloud.
    Look for the reflections, carried by the rolling clouds, the gathering force in yourself, though not yet breaking into
    lightening…..yet having the incipient power of light.

    1. crow says:

      I have never met a Christian who didn’t claim Jesus to be The One and Only Son of God.
      And that is what throws a spanner in the works of the whole religion.
      It effectively stops the spiritual evolution of Man dead in its tracks.

      As you say, Jesus most likely indicated that, while he may have been the first to know it, that all men were, or could be, the sons of God.
      This is tremendously important, and a prerequisite to building on the shaky ground of Christianity, transforming it into The Religion.

  6. Tom Gray says:

    Brilliant work. I am God, and so are you.

    1. crow says:

      Only the soul you nourish, complete, and send homeward to God, is God. The physical flesh can never be, although it is a manifestation of God.
      So, whereas a man may know he is God, the man he knows as himself, is not.
      Clear as mud :)
      Fortunately mud settles out.
      Eventually.

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