How Does One Explain a Spiritual Belief?


A short while back, a fellow visited Another Perspective and read the new page Why Another Perspective Exists. He wrote that, "More people need to take a stand against the unfortunate cultural conditioning that is happening today. Good for you! I focus, more particularly, on calling for a re-evaluation of the religious traditions in our society that hang like a nightmare over any chance we may ever have of real spiritual sensitivity and human harmony. A teeny tiny drop in a great big bucket."

Actually, this got me to thinking about exactly what form of “spiritual sensitivity” I would be comfortable with.

As I’ve said many times in this space, I have no patience for any religion as they stand today. The religions that want to force themselves into my private life, in particular, I find especially abhorrent. I will fight to the death for everyone’s right to worship whoever or whatever they please but only as long as that worship and belief system does not, in any manner, negatively impact or intrude on any other person’s life or beliefs.

Now that I’ve told you what I don’t believe in, shouldn’t I now tell you what I do believe in? Well, that is much, much more difficult.

I look at the world around me and at the universe of which we are but an infinitesimally small part, and wonder just what, exactly, makes us think we’re so dog gone important.

With billions upon billions of galaxies made up of billions upon billions of sustained nuclear reactions shining in every direction we turn our telescopes, why are we so convinced that we’re so almighty special?

From man’s earliest times, we have felt the need to invent god after god. We drew them on the walls of our caves to help us in the hunt for food. We sculpted them in the form of woman in hopes of being blessed with fertile women and crops. With every new god that we invented, we suddenly concluded that our particular god was so far superior to our neighbor’s god that we must either convert them to our way of belief or, if necessary, force them to worship our idea of God or, far too often, to just send them off to meet their god by murdering them wholesale.

At the very rock-bottom of the question of religion is a question we have no choice but to ask ourselves, “Is there really a god in the first place and, if so, why is the view I have of him so much better or more profound or provable than the gods that everyone else worships?”

Frankly, there is no proof one way or the other that the concept of “God” exists in the first place other than in our limited little brain pans. Granted, religion after religion claims that some fellow or other here on Earth is either God or God’s son or God’s emissary or representative or good buddy or what have you . (Interestingly, seldom does a religion recognize a woman as being anything more than a repository of celestial sperm.)

The major and overriding problem about choosing one doctrine over any other, at least for me, is that if God has sent so many, many folks down here to “save our souls”, why do they offer such contrary teachings? One teaches love and peace, another teaches that the quickest way to heaven is to die while trying to kill God’s enemies while another teaches that there’s nothing to get on about. Is God as contradictory as his “messengers” make him appear? If God truly wants us to learn about him or her, why does he send along such mixed messages?

Then there’s the basic question of are we as important as we want to believe? When one looks at the myriad life forms that currently infect the surface of this minor planet, one sees that only one form has acquired the ability to declare itself lord over all it surveys. Is the mere ability to declare domination enough evidence to proclaim that only this one form was made in the image of the god that it also invented? While it is indisputable that we are the most destructive form of life on this planet, is that enough evidence for our preeminence? Could one not only dispute the claims of our supremacy but also simply classify the entire species of human beings as but a disease or plague or even just an evolved form of bacteria slowly killing its host?

Couldn’t one make the case for the virus being equal to or even superior to us? After all, viruses are among the oldest and most basic of life forms, a form which out numbers us by as many as billions or trillions to one. Could the argument be made in their favor that all other forms of animated life, those forms of life which can swim or crawl or walk or slither or fly, are just vehicles meant to transport viruses from place to place in order that the viruses can co-mingle and obtain new and fresh containers, all the while evolving into forms more durable and resistant to our body’s meager immune systems?

For that matter, would we appear as Gods to the virus in as much as we control their existence and, when either age acts to kill us or even when the viruses themselves become so numerous as to destroy the vessel, then the viruses die, as well? As long as their transportation system remains healthy (as compared to as long as our God continues to “protect us” by not “accidentally” shoving the Earth into the sun), then the viruses live a long life with all the wealth that the body parts can offer in the sense of warmth and food and a safe place to multiply and divide.

I suppose what limits my sense of belief in any form of a God who gives a diddly-squat about us is that there is, quite frankly, far more evidence to prove the non-existence of a god than there is to give any credence to his or her existence.

Look around you, folks. Look at the Christians who never go to church but demand that we all be forced into the shackles of their “religion”. Look at those who sing the praises of charity and love and compassion for an hour a week, at most, and then spend their lives in the constant pursuit of money and wealth while loudly proclaiming “MINE! MINE!” and “Screw the poor and hungry and lonely! I have mine so to hell with everyone else!”.

Look at the love of guns and killing and war that has been a sad hallmark of our species for thousands of years after we declared ourselves “civilized”. Listen to the cries for blood and vengeance that is echoed from our “leaders” down to the masses and back to our “leaders”. Listen to the competing claims that we are all God’s children and He loves us all except, of course, for certain races or nations or cities or tribes or neighborhoods or even families or economic levels. Witness the inability of the human race to behave in any manner which would please even the most indifferent of gods. Witness the tears of the children, hungry and scared, waiting for the return of parents long dead in another senseless and insane war.

There is far more evidence for an evil supreme being or, at best, an indifferent one than any confirmation for one that supposedly loves his creations. This wee conundrum, however, backs one into a corner which is, I’ll admit, an uncomfortable place to find one’s self.

To determine that God must be evil proves as elusive as the effort to prove that God is good. If one accepts the stand that God must therefore be indifferent isn’t all that much distant from the conclusion that there isn’t any such critter in the first place since, under either assumption, we will never receive much support or demonstrated guidance.

If one decides that the evidence proves the non-existence of a supreme being, then one must scrutinize their beliefs as to what, if anything at all, we have to look forward to once that wee spark of life within us is extinguished by age or hate or disease. Is there, as Carl Sagan once postulated as he viewed his end coming ever closer, just nothing, not blackness or emptiness, just nothingness? What explains the bright light that those who have been medically dead but who have been revived quoted as having reported? Is it some guiding light towards the hereafter or is it, as many medical experts have said, just the random firing of neurons at the moment of their death?

I cannot take the unseen and unprovable on that most intangible act of blind faith. I cannot believe in the goodness of a being that stands aside and ignores the evils and horrors that is life on Earth. I cannot accept a supreme power that constantly provides the grandest of Earthly rewards to the most vile of our species while watching with obvious dispassion the pain and abominations visited upon the most helpless of his creations.

How, then, am I to continue to exist upon this wretched orb, having none of the imaginary celestial support nor foreseeing nothing at death but the termination of everything? Honestly, I can only manage the impossible by believing that the good that mankind does lives long after them but the evil has a far shorter period in which it affects our species. I must believe that all and every act that we each perform which creates a kinder, more loving and co-operative and hopeful future is the greatest act that mankind is capable of. I believe that an act of decency offered with the realization that the act is just and simply an act of love is of far greater value than one proffered as a deposit into some heavenly passbook account. To behave decently without reward must be, for me, to continue to try to be a honest human being, hoping that the act is, in and of itself, its own reward due to its universal simplicity.

So, to answer the question I put to myself three pages ago, the spiritual sensitivity that I seek is one in which we all behave with love and charity and decency towards one another not because some vaporous and usually long dead religious figure instructed us to do so but to behave that way because we believe it to be the most perfect way to behave. I seek a time when we learn just how much is truly “enough” and to share that excess with all. Basically, I seek a time when mankind behaves decently toward one another only because it is the only common way to comport oneself among our fellow passengers.

What a rube, huh?!?

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Copyright 3/30/2000