Furthest Right

Happy Ostara!

Long before modern religions, there were indigenous folk faiths of the Indo-Europeans, and these focused on events on Earth not in the heavens. To these ancient believers, Earth was an outgrowth of the divine, and therefore the cycles of Earth were holy.

After these were around for too long, making too much sense, the rising prole-class created their own religions based on self-pity. These rejected Earth and instead favored a “dualistic” second reality, the Heavens and the moral absolute, that was proposed as a replacement for Earth and nature.

Older scholars called these neoplatonic because they re-interpreted the doctrine from Plato of a cause-effect relationship between a wider divine and Earth, a belief which descended from those ancient Indo-European concepts, to make Earth an opposite to the Heavens in which everything was bad and nothing good could emerge.

These new religions came from the middle east because as a trading nexus, it favored simplification of heady concepts into commercially-viable texts. The middle eastern religions arose because of papyrus and paper and all that went with it, because a religion could be simplified and written instead of passed on orally.

This meant that those involved with the religion did not need to understand it, nor know the whole text, only pick the parts they wanted and use those to rationalize whatever they desired doing at any particular moment. These new religions were Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Christianity carried on many of the ideas of the past but in a simplified form. They were told as lessons, called parables, where there was a clear good/bad moral lesson to make them simpler for the reading audience. This downgraded them from literature toward propaganda.

To my mind, religion makes sense because nothing else explains the world outside of direct linear material relationships. Any religion can be made sane; it is the person interpreting it who makes the difference, more than the words on the page. However, the Abrahamic religions have several downsides:

  • Superstitious: they replace idol-worship with symbol-worship, and we have to stay on the right side of the symbols for good and avoid the bad; they are “magic words” religions in this way. The superstition comes in believing that saying certain words or doing certain rituals delivers a result from worlds beyond. This creates learned helplessness and creates the scapegoat-talisman dichotomy.
  • Symbolism: because these religions are neoplatonic or metaphysically dualist, they rely on a perfect Heaven/good as an opposite to Earth/bad, and therefore create a framework of symbols that is more important than life itself, which in turn makes them anti-realistic like egalitarianism.
  • Individualistic: in Abrahamic religions, the gods are not detached forces of nature, but parts of the human ego. They concern themselves directly with the individual, and only with the individual, rejecting such things as nature, culture, and race. As a result, these religions are universalist and not specific to any given culture, therefore act as a replacement for culture, especially with the conservatives.
  • Foreign: all of the above can be overcome with small doctrinal changes, and in fact many churches like the Anglican/Episcopalian wing of Christianity do this, as well as most intelligent Christians, Jews, and Muslims, but nothing can erase the foreign nature of these religions. Jesus was Jewish. Christianity and Judaism are focused on Israel and Jews, not Europeans. Islam is centered around the post-Persian Arab gulf nations.

Consider how these things play out in the real world. Individualistic religions tend to be pacifistic, since to them there is nothing more important than the individual worth sacrificing for. As a result, you see lots of means-over-ends thinking designed to remove “dangerous” or “evil” methods that may be needed to achieve good results.

Means-over-ends thinking ties to the individualism of these religions. They seek to address the individual through external control, making bad people into good ones, and therefore must deny root causes like genetics and character. Instead they separate methods into the categories of good and bad.

If this sounds like Political Correctness, or even linguistic relativity, it is the same method: means-over-ends thinking makes some methods taboo and replaces the ability to have a goal with this attempt to regulate methods and therefore control thinking.

We can see this in the desire of the present Pope to avoid conflict even though that conflict might resolve a centuries-old source of instability:

Referring to conflicts around the world, the Pope pleaded not to “yield to the logic of weapons and rearming”.

“Peace is never made with arms, but with outstretched hands and open hearts,” he said.

Tie this in with metaphysical dualism, and you see three religions that fundamentally deny the need to change the world for anything other than religious symbolism. The fundamentalists may be the worst, but all of these religions think in this manner which leads to negativity toward normal and healthy daily life.

It also leads to rejecting change beyond the individual and therefore to solving human problems:

In other words: the cure for despair is not optimism but hope; not group belief in a high probability of amelioration or improvement but the personal certainty of salvation.

I am in favor of religion; I will always be highly religious. It is illogical that there is not a divine presence in our world, although it is an inhuman one and an impersonal one, therefore not likely to fall into the mental traps of the Abrahamic religions.

This Easter, I suggest we enjoy the holiday as our ancestors did: praising the divine that makes the sun rise, the rain fall, gravity concentrate, and fosters a constant battle between creation and destruction in order to provide a self-renewing existence in which we can have experience and choose some things as better than others.

Without that, there would be no moral choice and no human experience, only endurance of a process that was wholly predetermined. Humanity grew out of idol-worship, and soon it will grow out of symbol-worship and self-worship as well. That is the renewal we need this Easter.

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