Religion and Spirituality
Uh oh! Here we go. Stepping out on the ledge. Other than eating, there may be no other topic that is more important to the people than religion. Taken to mean many things, religion is not easily discussed. There are subtle shades of meaning and distinction regarding what the word itself means. Older than time, human concepts about all aspects of religion have ranged widely and persistently. Even the belief that there is no god, no soul, no heaven, no hell, no noting must be seen as an aspect of religious matters.
Human behavior is something that can be seen. It can be observed and analyzed. Human thought is something else altogether. The reflection of thought in behavior is certainly a possibility, but who is qualified to do so? People have stood up claiming to be qualified. The list of names include, Freud, Jung, Skinner, Pavlov, Bandura, and many others. We call these people psychologists and their area of expertise psychology. Call it what you will, for in the end it always becomes the analysis of human thought reflected in behavior for thought is not something that we can see. Subconscious thought being integral to the analysis impossible to omit or dispense as something other than thought. Finally, we see what people think of religious matters in their behavior, and we throw a blanket word on it, “religion.”
That may seem to have been a side issue, but stay with me. You will see why I went that way. To make is easy to think about, let me ask you a question. Is religion, spirituality, atheism, agnostics, or anything else related to matters of this sort something we can see? No! We can only see behavior reflecting the unseen stuff going on in the minds of the people. If God suddenly appeared everywhere at the same time, our minds would still be invisible to one another. The best we could do is to talk about what our thoughts are and reflect them to some extent in our behavior. I contend that all religious types of stuff are completely in the minds of the people even when they say it is a matter of the heart or of feelings.
People have shown behavior that reflects the mind’s concerns with matters of religious/spiritual nature. That is something we can see with our own eyes. We need not rely on the unseeable. A good quote that seems impossible to attribute to any one person expresses this quite well: God-shaped hole. The concept says that there is a hole in the consciousness of man that is shaped to fit God. A version that resembles and may have inspired that term can be found in:
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.” – Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII(425) 1670 C.E.
Literature so old it exists only as markings on stone clearly demonstrate man’s predilection with matters religious. There in no further need to belabor the point. People have religious stuff in their minds, on their hearts, and in their emotions. Apparently, they always have. So, what is to be done today?
We must find the Truth! It is that simple. There is no sense beating around the bush about it. We need the Truth. We don’t need to be right, and we don’t need to be wrong. It is not about us. It is only about the Truth. The Truth is there for us to find, and, once found, assimilate. If that means letting go of things we have thought were true but are not true, so be it. That is exactly where most people leave the conversation.
Little effort is required to discover people claiming the have already found the Truth. Indeed, there are so many such people they have gathered together in groups. Yes! You know exactly what I mean. Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindu, Muslims, and many other groups dominate the world with claims on the Truth that stand in many cases in direct opposition to each other.
How long must this controversy live? Given its age at this point, it must live a very long time. People invest themselves in the truth they claim. They behave in clear and distinct ways that reflect their truth. At this time there are religious groups that have immense social and physical power. There is a deep and complex history of such groups. Churches, Mosques, Temples, and other variations stand as physical testament to the groups. A rational being cannot ignore the religious matters that occupy the lives of the human species.
This page in the Controversy site is an introduction. It is a place to start the discussion. The people who have determined to hold to one form of thought or another will no likely participate. They may even find this whole thing repulsive, or probably will. I can speak with some little knowledge about the Christian people, for I grew up among them. They have faith. They are protective of their faith and brook little or no temptation to consider their faith or truth. It is something they decided to do and something they commit themselves to holding true to against all. The same appears to be true of the Muslim and Jewish people. Having much less experience observing such people, I am only speculating. So, there may be little involvement with this part of the Controversy site from those people. Who knows? Crazier things have happened.