Posts Tagged religion

Liberation is NOT Freedom of Religion: It’s Freedom FROM Religion


addis_religion_war_cartoon-2010-08-17-10-13.jpg
The founding fathers of the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights got it wrong. The decisive freedom should never have been freedom of religion. Rather, it should have been freedom from religion.

Religion, like any other belief system, is really a form of social control who gains its authority from a spurious connection with its own self-designated god. And because each religion claims such over-arching authority, one that transcends the laws of nations and, in many cases, our own innate sense of right and wrong, it will make demands on its followers that are corrupt and ugly.

The endless wars, the hate, the acrimony fought between religions has been nothing less than a plague on human history.

Isn’t it one of the ultimate ironies that the very bundle of beliefs, on which people assign their most sacred identity, is the very source of war, murder, suicide, rage, and indignity wrought by one person against another? It is made doubly ironic because most believers tend to say that they are worshiping the same god!!! They are lying. They are worshipping their own “in” group that makes them right and holy and others wrong and sinful.

They are not worshiping any god. They are worshiping their own personal and cultural identities. Religion is crap. Its toxicity is no different from rank patriotism. Anything that sets one idea against another and goads its followers to preach hate and insist on division, and subjugate anyone in the name of their religion or their country is living in the universe of lack, invalidation, fear, and ignorance.

Belief is ignorance.

The only purpose of spiritual inquiry is liberation from all belief – without exception.

Thus I say, the key freedom is not freedom of religion, but freedom from religion.

I can almost hear people saying – “what about all of the beautiful things made in the name of religion – the architecture, the music, the art, etc.? – What about all of the charity done by religious organizations.?”

I say to them that the potential to produce beauty need not ever be compromised by an enforced system of beliefs which people, especially children, are coerced to accept to gain love and acceptance from their elders and peers. This is poison pure and simple. We are always free to produce objects of beauty and relationships of beauty. This is part of our fundamental wiring. But even more importantly, when we are truly connected to the source of Everything, then we would never hesitate to reach out to those in need. Only in this way are we bound together as one.

Down with all religion that separates people from nature and people from each other.

Readers – you might be intrigued to know that there is absolutely no word for religion in any North American Indian language. The whole concept of religion was founded at the same time that political and social power became concentrated in the hands of the few against the many. This began in the dawn of the age of intensive agriculture – approx. 10,000 years ago in the Middle East and about 1,000 years ago in northern Europe. Religion is just another form of belief perfectly designed to control workers from birth to death. It is the hand maiden of coerced authority.

No one is ever liberated as long as their identity is shaped by any religion. This is not say that all religions lack wisdom. To the contrary all of the world’s religions contain about as much wisdom as they do garbage. All of the fundamental goodness that makes us a part of the same nature that created the birds and the bees and the oceans and the winds are contained in the pages of most religions. But that could never be enough for any system of faith.

To make it unique, each religion has a vast store of utter nonsense and general crap that you are required to believe. They must stand out from the others and proclaim themselves to be the one true faith. Many of their adherents will possess the generosity of spirit to allow for the expression of any religion in their community, but there are many others who are not so tolerant. They will be easily insulted. Eager to strike back. Their religion will be wedded to their own inner demands and when great belief is nurtured by fear, you will have the most explosive combination that mindlessness can create. And in that wake come the wars, the invective, the hate, and all the rest.

Thus I say, we must have freedom from religion and have our own path illuminated in this very moment with our own inborn connection with the power that makes the cosmos now and forever.

Please spread the light!
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Liberation is NOT Freedom of Religion: It's Freedom FROM Religion


addis_religion_war_cartoon-2010-08-17-10-13.jpg
The founding fathers of the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights got it wrong. The decisive freedom should never have been freedom of religion. Rather, it should have been freedom from religion.

Religion, like any other belief system, is really a form of social control who gains its authority from a spurious connection with its own self-designated god. And because each religion claims such over-arching authority, one that transcends the laws of nations and, in many cases, our own innate sense of right and wrong, it will make demands on its followers that are corrupt and ugly.

The endless wars, the hate, the acrimony fought between religions has been nothing less than a plague on human history.

Isn’t it one of the ultimate ironies that the very bundle of beliefs, on which people assign their most sacred identity, is the very source of war, murder, suicide, rage, and indignity wrought by one person against another? It is made doubly ironic because most believers tend to say that they are worshiping the same god!!! They are lying. They are worshipping their own “in” group that makes them right and holy and others wrong and sinful.

They are not worshiping any god. They are worshiping their own personal and cultural identities. Religion is crap. Its toxicity is no different from rank patriotism. Anything that sets one idea against another and goads its followers to preach hate and insist on division, and subjugate anyone in the name of their religion or their country is living in the universe of lack, invalidation, fear, and ignorance.

Belief is ignorance.

The only purpose of spiritual inquiry is liberation from all belief – without exception.

Thus I say, the key freedom is not freedom of religion, but freedom from religion.

I can almost hear people saying – “what about all of the beautiful things made in the name of religion – the architecture, the music, the art, etc.? – What about all of the charity done by religious organizations.?”

I say to them that the potential to produce beauty need not ever be compromised by an enforced system of beliefs which people, especially children, are coerced to accept to gain love and acceptance from their elders and peers. This is poison pure and simple. We are always free to produce objects of beauty and relationships of beauty. This is part of our fundamental wiring. But even more importantly, when we are truly connected to the source of Everything, then we would never hesitate to reach out to those in need. Only in this way are we bound together as one.

Down with all religion that separates people from nature and people from each other.

Readers – you might be intrigued to know that there is absolutely no word for religion in any North American Indian language. The whole concept of religion was founded at the same time that political and social power became concentrated in the hands of the few against the many. This began in the dawn of the age of intensive agriculture – approx. 10,000 years ago in the Middle East and about 1,000 years ago in northern Europe. Religion is just another form of belief perfectly designed to control workers from birth to death. It is the hand maiden of coerced authority.

No one is ever liberated as long as their identity is shaped by any religion. This is not say that all religions lack wisdom. To the contrary all of the world’s religions contain about as much wisdom as they do garbage. All of the fundamental goodness that makes us a part of the same nature that created the birds and the bees and the oceans and the winds are contained in the pages of most religions. But that could never be enough for any system of faith.

To make it unique, each religion has a vast store of utter nonsense and general crap that you are required to believe. They must stand out from the others and proclaim themselves to be the one true faith. Many of their adherents will possess the generosity of spirit to allow for the expression of any religion in their community, but there are many others who are not so tolerant. They will be easily insulted. Eager to strike back. Their religion will be wedded to their own inner demands and when great belief is nurtured by fear, you will have the most explosive combination that mindlessness can create. And in that wake come the wars, the invective, the hate, and all the rest.

Thus I say, we must have freedom from religion and have our own path illuminated in this very moment with our own inborn connection with the power that makes the cosmos now and forever.

Please spread the light!
Bookmark and Share

,

1 Comment

The Fatal Flaw: The Problem with Eastern Spiritual Philosophy – Part 1 of 3


It’s time to move on from what is simply false in Eastern philosophy (Buddhism, Advaita/nonduality, and some Taoism). Jesus said the truth will set you free and the whole purpose of this blog is to identify the false, so that the ineffable truth of being and life can shine forth.

1. The basic tenant of Eastern spiritual philosophy is that we are not our thoughts and feelings. We are, therefore, not who we “think” we are. So far, so good.

2. Our thoughts and feelings change, but, as these philosophies point out, there is a part of us that doesn’t change. This part is that presence that observes our passing thoughts and feelings. We are, they say, this changeless entity. Now we’re getting on some shaky ground, but let’s continue.

3. This presence, which is our true self is separate from the body/mind. It is neither born nor will it ever die. It is eternal consciousness. Here the philosophies collapse. I will try to show this below.

My experience shows that Point 1 is partly correct. Clearly, we are not our thoughts. Our thoughts, do, indeed, change. One day we “think” we love our wife/husband, then something happens and then we discover to our shame and disbelief that we now are not the one who loves this wife/husband. Life has changed completely. But we can also observe that some of our thoughts change constantly, other thoughts change only occasionally, and still others are nearly constant in our life. Within this array of change, we can detect patterns of thought and feeling. These patterns suggest an individuality that is, in fact, real. For example, I know that I love to explore issues, that with all my heart and soul I stand up for those who have been victims of unjustice, I love the music of Brahms and Mozart, etc.

Our Eastern Philosopher will say that my seemingly consistent thoughts/feelings are merely an outcome of my conditioning. They are “mere” appearances on the utterly changeless and characterless ground of being. They will further assert that this is not a theory, but the the outcome of direct experience, it is therefore not an issue of philosophy, but of direct experience. I can respond that the same is true for me. I am able to employ the power of presence, that power that is central to Eastern spiritual tradition (EST), to detect and identify these patterns. I can, therefore, make the same experiential claim. It is something I can directly observe.

But more importantly, I can also experience what is pointed to in EST and assert that the ESTer is drawing a decisive line of separation between “presence” and thought/feeling/experience, in which it is posited that one’s true identity is exclusively on one side of the experiential dimension. Our ESTer posits that Reality is the ground of experience and sensed experience (thoughts/feelings/observations) itself is mere appearance. All objects (thoughts/feelings/sensed objects) are passing and insubstantial. It is highly ironic that a philosophy that eschews separation so depends on this division, that this Maginot Line of separation is posited between one’s true identity and what is mere passing appearance. I can see the mere passing appearance of that tree just outside my window. I can look away and the tree is no longer in view (the tree ceases to exist!), but when I look back – what do I see??? – it’s remarkable, but it appears to be that same tree. Yes, the direction of sunlight might have changed a bit, but I am very sure that it’s the same true – perhaps five seconds older.

Now before moving on, let’s take a deep breath. What is the EST person really doing? Is it not possible that by labeling all sensed objects (thoughts/feelings) as mere passing appearance, he is negating his own role in this sensed life? Consider that possibility. Is this any different from the substance abuser who is also seeking to avoid the challenges of life through booze and drugs? Is this any different from the depressed person who lifts himself out of the anguish of his psychological being by adopting a zealous faith-based attitude on this life? Is this any different from the religious fanatic who believes that this life is just a preparation for the real life that begins at death and he can avoid all of the messiness and unpredictability of everyday life and dream of living an eternity in heaven?

I do not seek to judge the ESTer, but it is possible to detect a pattern in human history that revolves around the negation of everyday life – because life can be challenging, it can be complex, it calls on us to make tough decisions, it brings to light all of the empty faith-based beliefs we might cling to out of fear of the unknown. This is what life is. Wake up to its fantastic messiness. Life calls on us to be challenged. Anyone who has parented a little baby into adulthood knows this is true. Anyone in touch with their heart senses the vapid emptiness of EST.

Welcome to the challenge of your life. Make the best of it, for time is passing.

This is just part one of a three part series. Tomorrow I will comment on Point 2.

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The Failure of “Spiritualism”


I am not an Advaitist. I am not a Buddhist. I am not anything, but myself, committed to what is true and freeing myself of what I can SEE as false. That is the challenge of our lives.

This is what you must know; people are addicted to feeling good. In comes in every form and flavor. That is the work of ego, working in service to our primal Wound. “If we fail to strive for safety – happiness – feeling good – then how will I ever be secure, happy, and feel good?” This is the perennial question of the ego. This is its obsession.

See that security – happiness – feeling good are all concepts. They are not real. They are projections of the mind. They are the false. As long as you insist on pursuing them, you will waste your life on goals that are unreal. You will live as Don Quixote, living a life that is filled with madness chasing after windmills.

The grave danger in Buddhist and nonduality teachings is how the mind bends them to achieve the goals of the deficient self. How does it do this? It does this by negating the authentic self! In this role, spiritualism is no different from any other authority in our lives that seek to mold us in ITS vision and kill our own.

Awareness shows us what is true and what is false. Usually, what is false are the beliefs we cling to that make us feel safe. But any belief that we cling to, that is not based in the truth of actual seeing can and often will undermine our well being. Beliefs are limits. They are ideas that we have absorbed from authorities in our lives. Coming alive to who we truly our asks us to question and explore our most deeply held beliefs.

Life is not designed to be easy. Only an ego loves the easy – the easy money, the easy sex, the easy this, the easy that. Life is designed to be active – alive. When we “rest in awareness” as the only goal of life, we have sacrificed our individuality. We have zoned out in the life of total “acceptance”. The only problem with that “belief” is the one thing we fail to accept becomes ourselves! Can you see that? Zoning out in belief is the same thing as zoning out with drugs – only more challenging and thus a bigger accomplishment of the ego. That’s why doctrine based spiritualism is thought to be better than drug abuse. Is it?

Zoning out is not a problem. Often the body/mind needs to zone out. We live in an exhausting time and zoning out is a pleasure we would be foolish to deny ourselves, but it is not our ultimate identity. When that happens, as it often does in meditative philosophies, we fail in the challenge of living.

Wake up to your aliveness. Wake up to your senses. Wake up to your mind – the mind that is embedded in what is real and is motivated to drop what it discovers is false. For example, I know that cars are contributing to the environmental deterioration of the planet, so I’ve decided to do all of my local errands by bike or foot. That’s what I do. If I think that makes me better than others, then I have converted what I have seen as true within awareness to be an action of ego. I see all of that and act accordingly. I see that income inequality breeds racism and classism, so I support political agendas that encourage people to live as sisters and brothers economically and socially. I know that my body depends on nature, so I can SEE that we are all connected and that when one part of our world suffers, we all suffer. I see that this as true. I see that when we pursue security through weapons, walled communities, unfair laws, racism, sexism, that we inspire division and this is life out of balance. So when I observe those tendencies in myself, I can see where I am contributing to the division and hardship of the world. Seeing it is the first and most decisive step we can make in our own liberation.

We Are All Related

We Are All Related

This is the challenge of living.

And before I conclude this post, let’s talk a minute about humor. Ultimately, this is the most liberating emotion of all. Grave seriousness is a very dependable red flag of the ego. Take yourself lightly in nearly all matters and you will truly see what is false in you. When you become overly serious (one of my “issues”) check out the status of your ego and get a good laugh out of your grandiosity. I can assure you probably look pretty funny to others – or even worse an authority for others to follow.

If you choose to follow, as many spiritual traditions urge us to do, then know yourself as a follower. If you choose to be yourself, that you become a light unto yourself.  That light can free others of their own darkness.

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8 Comments

The Failure of "Spiritualism"


I am not an Advaitist. I am not a Buddhist. I am not anything, but myself, committed to what is true and freeing myself of what I can SEE as false. That is the challenge of our lives.

This is what you must know; people are addicted to feeling good. In comes in every form and flavor. That is the work of ego, working in service to our primal Wound. “If we fail to strive for safety – happiness – feeling good – then how will I ever be secure, happy, and feel good?” This is the perennial question of the ego. This is its obsession.

See that security – happiness – feeling good are all concepts. They are not real. They are projections of the mind. They are the false. As long as you insist on pursuing them, you will waste your life on goals that are unreal. You will live as Don Quixote, living a life that is filled with madness chasing after windmills.

The grave danger in Buddhist and nonduality teachings is how the mind bends them to achieve the goals of the deficient self. How does it do this? It does this by negating the authentic self! In this role, spiritualism is no different from any other authority in our lives that seek to mold us in ITS vision and kill our own.

Awareness shows us what is true and what is false. Usually, what is false are the beliefs we cling to that make us feel safe. But any belief that we cling to, that is not based in the truth of actual seeing can and often will undermine our well being. Beliefs are limits. They are ideas that we have absorbed from authorities in our lives. Coming alive to who we truly our asks us to question and explore our most deeply held beliefs.

Life is not designed to be easy. Only an ego loves the easy – the easy money, the easy sex, the easy this, the easy that. Life is designed to be active – alive. When we “rest in awareness” as the only goal of life, we have sacrificed our individuality. We have zoned out in the life of total “acceptance”. The only problem with that “belief” is the one thing we fail to accept becomes ourselves! Can you see that? Zoning out in belief is the same thing as zoning out with drugs – only more challenging and thus a bigger accomplishment of the ego. That’s why doctrine based spiritualism is thought to be better than drug abuse. Is it?

Zoning out is not a problem. Often the body/mind needs to zone out. We live in an exhausting time and zoning out is a pleasure we would be foolish to deny ourselves, but it is not our ultimate identity. When that happens, as it often does in meditative philosophies, we fail in the challenge of living.

Wake up to your aliveness. Wake up to your senses. Wake up to your mind – the mind that is embedded in what is real and is motivated to drop what it discovers is false. For example, I know that cars are contributing to the environmental deterioration of the planet, so I’ve decided to do all of my local errands by bike or foot. That’s what I do. If I think that makes me better than others, then I have converted what I have seen as true within awareness to be an action of ego. I see all of that and act accordingly. I see that income inequality breeds racism and classism, so I support political agendas that encourage people to live as sisters and brothers economically and socially. I know that my body depends on nature, so I can SEE that we are all connected and that when one part of our world suffers, we all suffer. I see that this as true. I see that when we pursue security through weapons, walled communities, unfair laws, racism, sexism, that we inspire division and this is life out of balance. So when I observe those tendencies in myself, I can see where I am contributing to the division and hardship of the world. Seeing it is the first and most decisive step we can make in our own liberation.

We Are All Related

We Are All Related

This is the challenge of living.

And before I conclude this post, let’s talk a minute about humor. Ultimately, this is the most liberating emotion of all. Grave seriousness is a very dependable red flag of the ego. Take yourself lightly in nearly all matters and you will truly see what is false in you. When you become overly serious (one of my “issues”) check out the status of your ego and get a good laugh out of your grandiosity. I can assure you probably look pretty funny to others – or even worse an authority for others to follow.

If you choose to follow, as many spiritual traditions urge us to do, then know yourself as a follower. If you choose to be yourself, that you become a light unto yourself.  That light can free others of their own darkness.

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8 Comments

Rejecting Atheism – Watch This!


Rejecting Atheism

A brilliant presentation about the triumph of authentic science – wonder, observation, analysis, hypothesis testing, iteration – against the hopeless drag and danger of mindless faith.

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The Desire for God: a Symbol of our Collective Powerlessness


When our sense of ourselves is incomplete we want a god to be there for us. This want is personal and strong.
When we embrace a moral code that condemns the behaviors of others as wrong, evil, sinful, we desire a god to bring justice to these people, societies, and even countries in this life or the next.
When we fail to trust our world, we will need a god to take care of those we love.
When we fail to explore the path of science, when we label it as “just another belief”, we posit a god to explain a complex universe and remain comfortable within our complacency.
Thus the desire for a god is wedded in profound unhappiness and a powerless submission to the interactive universe that we are a part. The need for a god is a reflection of our greater powerlessness. The power we lack is projected onto a projected and faith-based being.

Explore that powerlessness. If you find it in yourself, learn more about it. If we lack power at all, that lack can only be found in the personality we believe ourselves to be. That person is the other side of the god/me coin. For me we can substitute religion, group, race, and country. For when we believe that we lack power, we will, by necessity, project that lacked energy onto something external to ourselves. This explains why where lack is most acutely felt, there is the greatest propensity for self-righteous violence, as well as its opposite, the propensity for complete resignation; giving up.

The god belief systems, when they are personal and faith based must always result in a continuum of behaviors ranging from the ultra-violent to the pained acquiescence of utter resignation.

The pathway to resolving our struggle with powerlessness is found only in our personal and collective liberation.

How is that done? We take the first step to our liberation through seeing the process play out in our individual and group affiliated lives. We observe it and ask ourselves, often, “is this true?” If I am worried for the welfare of my children, then is it the most beneficial choice to place our need for safety and security in a belief that can never be tested or proven, or should we work with our kids – open our hearts and minds to their concerns, not seek “final” answers, but just to engage in the process of connection.

That is a start.

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