My book exchange experiment with Jenny of A Religious Experiment continues on Jenny’s post – Fairytale of Christianity.
… there are atheist or naturalists who don’t believe in anything but what you can see and touch (they are standing outside the bubbles on the diagram).
They are looking at Me and other Christians, and all religions the same way, like we are all delusional!
I completely understand this, seriously, look at the diagram, the obvious conclusion is that we are all crazy and unable to look outside of our own bubble! A friend said to me yesterday, it’s not meant to be this complicated. I believe that! I tend to have two extremes; when I am researching and conversing about hard questions, my mind goes in every different direction, but I am learning, and understanding and I feel the need to understand others right now.
But, when I am simply having my time praying or reading, I have complete peace and nothing is complicated.
But I think that life and the world is exactly as complicated as Jenny is now seeing or understanding it. Because that step outside the bubble is understanding what it is to look at the bubble from the outside.
But life is also as simple – meditation, being still and quiet within yourself is the path to actually knowing yourself and understanding. It’s the quiet stillness – not how you attain it – that is vitial to a purposeful and meaningful life – and whether you find that stillness through the religion of your choice or through using the techniques of religion to attain that stillness – meditation, yoga, reflective prayer – they are all good and equally valid in that they are merely the process by which you are still and in tune with your body, your feelings, your thoughts, wishes, dreams, hopes and fears, and you are able to become the centre dot and see how everything spirals and arises from how you present yourself to the world.
And how you are is what people react to – but if you can’t or don’t take the time to think about how others might see you – you can never be assured of knowing how you intend to be in the world is how other people are understanding you to be.
And instead of reacting to you as you are – they are reacting to their image of you as if it’s you and if their image differs from your image – then you aren’t in relationship – you are at odds with each other because you are not dealing with any authenitic self – because the other part of the equation, is understanding that other person, as they understand themselves – so you are reaching out to understand their authentic self and dealing with them, as they wish to be dealt with.
It’s not an easy process – certainly something that’s new to me – so I am groping my way through as well – and part of that was reaching out to Jenny and others – to exchange the good parts of our respective worlds.
My graphic would be something like this – the green represents the natural observable and measurable universe to the best of our current understanding – and the gumball machine represent the world’s religions and philosophies that try to explain the universe through supernatural means – whatever those means may be.
Because I really do admire the Amish who live entirely within their religion’s reality – in a human scale world and understanding.
But what I find confusing are the allegedly deeply religious who spurn science and human knowledge all while living in a very dependent way upon that very science and human acquired knowledge – specifically, if the televangelists really want to live as god intended, then it makes no sense for them to have mega churches the size of shopping malls – built on human acquired knowledge of structural engineering, all kinds of science that goes into creating television broadcasting and satellite broadcasting – they should be living in a Preacher’s Hollow existence – being in the calling range of the human voice, not extended by microphones and broadcasting.
Living within what you can accomplish with your own hands – not construction equipment.
If you are going to receive the benefits of the modern world, then it is not unreasonable to expect that you are also educated in the history and the science – the story of human achievement at it’s best and the story of human achievement at it’s worst – generally the story of the people and social movements that lead to advances versus the people and social movements that resisted change in favour of the status quo. How this modern world came to be – warts and glory.
But here’s something that I do know – fairytale or religion or literature or tv/movies – what people do to communicate is to tell stories – and the medium is just the container that lets you target specific audiences. We tell stories to understand each other, understand the world and how to be in it – we need to not get hung up over the container and look at the stories – because the stories belong to everyone and the truths in the stories – that being kind is better than being greedy and scheming – belong to everyone – truth, when it is real truth,doesn’t turn on the medium or container or even the details of the story.
Truth is the essence, the take away meaning – and all the stories about how to be in the world, to be the best you can be, are universally true.
We can get to seeing that truth, only when we look outside what we have already experienced and exposed ourselves to – and accept that there are many paths to those truths – but it’s the validation of them, throughout all the stories that we have told, through time and through all cultures – that commonality that we have to cling to in order to coexist and accept that difference is viva la diversity.
Unsurprising, the big rapture is a big bust – kind of like Y2K.
Intellectually, I can understand the impulse for a person to want the world to end with their death, it sucks to think that you’d be dead and everyone else getting to continue on, for the most part, as if you never existed, because to most of the people in the world, you don’t exist anyways.
I guess this is a a big reason why people have begun to prefer to become infamous instead of famous – to be famous, you have to be able to create something or do something, have a talent of value and interest – and it’s hard work to develop that and market youself; whereas, to be infamous, you only have to take every little time to destroy something, and can be as simple as driving a car into a crowd of people.
It’s not the lasting kind of fame like Shakespear, but sort term infamy, unless you put more effort into being destructive, like Charles Manson, who depsite not actually murdering anyone personally, will certainly continue on in the Villian Hall of Fame for decades if not a century or two to come.
For me, seeking fame or infamy seems like being a perpetual teenager, asserting your standing out from the herd of humanity, demanding to matter by dramatic behavior, instead of just living your life and enjoying the time you have with family and friends and making a life for yourself that does matter.
It is said that one of the worst things you can wish on a person is to live in interesting times, probably because to have the importance on the times, rather than yourself during the times, is to make less of your life and more of the circumstances.
Better for your life to matter, and it does to you and those you are in relationship with, but it’s recognizing tis matter of course meaningfulness that we forget about when we long to be part of something larger.
Being a big fish in a small pond means you matter more in that niche than being a small fish in a much larger pond.