Oh God

Muslim students,Stonetown, Zazibar, Tanzania.

I can be annoying with my opinions, which I have convinced myself are excellent even though I suspect they probably sometimes aren’t. For example, I sometimes get in trouble on the subject of religion. Imagine that.  And this is a subject that seems to be coming up a lot in conversation these days.

Buddha temple, Sri Lanka

Most of my friends and family don’t like religion and for very good reasons. Humans have used religion to justify the world’s worst horrors, as well as day-to-day hate and exclusion. But to me, that’s not religion. That’s misuse of religion by flawed human beings. Flawed human beings would (and do) misuse something else if it weren’t religion.

Mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Guanjuato, Mexico

I am not a member of organized religion but I like learning about religion because it provides insights about local cultures and opportunities to reflect on bigger issues. When I travel, I go to religious ceremonies and services. I’ve learned a lot from these experiences and my religious friends, like Father Rigo and Rabbi Me’Irah and Robby in Louisiana.

Shinto ceremony near Kyoto, Japan.

I realize that by now most people who got through the first paragraph here have returned to their instagram feeds. But I persist.

I believe humans have an inherent need for spirituality. The American philosopher, William James, wrote a lot about this. James was a scientist who justified faith and belief (but not religious dogma) on the basis that they give life purpose and meaning.

My own theory of why spirituality gives life meaning and purpose is that human genes have perfect memory of the universe.  https://kimmie53.com/2016/10/11/somewhere-near-the-intersection-of-quantum-mechanics-genetics-and-religion/#more-7388.  As far as I know, no one with any credentials has picked up on my theory, although quantum biology and epigenetics seem to be in the ball park, but using actual scientific methods.

And of course, for many years, scientists have acknowledged that theories of quantum mechanics are increasingly sounding a lot like eastern mysticism.

So I guess my point is that it’s a good thing to be curious about other people’s ideas about religion or god or spirituality, whatever you want to call it, because it might add meaning to our lives. And maybe instead of getting nervous about people’s religion or apparent lack of it, we should consider Martin Luther King’s dream that everyone should be judged on the content of their character.

An altar or ovoo, in Mongolia. Whether walking or on horseback, please circumnavigate three times counterclockwise.

I think the next time I get in trouble with my opinions on this issue, I will say my opinion is only that we should be asking a lot of questions instead of having opinions.

 

“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” – Niels Bohr, Danish Physicist
“We think we are human beings having a spiritual experience but in reality we are spiritual beings having a human experience” — Swami Survapriyananda

18 comments

  1. So if we can get down to the smallest part of an atom it turns out not to be made of matter but of a wave of energy. And this energy according to some, is the field of pure potentiality. Cool huh?

  2. You are really something. Religion, in my current humble opinion, is a scaffolding helping us allay anxiety about the great question: “What the H are we doing here, on a ball, in space…such creatures capable of so much goodness and so much destruction, with ONE chance to live…What should we be doing with these lives?” Take your choice of religion, or meaning…. It gives us hope, comfort, and a way to live. Humans are in a unique animal position of having awareness of death, of being able to think about and plan the future, and it’s Scary. ALSO, you gotta admit: This Earth is INCREDIBLE. You couldn’t even begin to dream it up! So, like, WHERE did it all come from? Just chance?

  3. I think a humble, inquisitive and open mind can provide what each of us needs individually to feel comfort with this topic. Plus, it’s just so gosh darned interesting to witness and if lucky, experience the ways others express and embrace their spirituality! As I see it, the collectivity of worship and belief provides a sense of community and belonging, an innate human need.

    Once again, loving your posts and the stunning visuals.

    1. Hi Jody, You mentioned something I wanted to include but forgot — I read something recently that suggested there is something about doing things in groups that makes a difference in humans. For example, we do yoga and meditation classes when you would think they are pursuits that are better suited to doing alone. The collective unconscious at work! Thanks for the encouragement XOXOX

  4. Beautifully written with wondrous photos Kim. Thanks!

    I think spirituality is a grace and pathway to be embraced and cherished. I also think organized religions inevitably become artificial superstructures which hide and distort the underlying beliefs upon which they are founded.

    Ergo, my opinion is each person must find their own pathway and grace without relying upon the superstructures. That said, my particular pathway strongly demands tolerance of other’s pathways including organized religions.

    Plus, I want to hedge my bets just in case “they” are right. 🙂

  5. Yes, sadly all bureaucracies ultimately seem to corrupt their principles on behalf of personal power, money, politics. But we can be our own little religious altars and apply goodness in our own ways!

  6. Very good points. We also see science and secularism being misused for ideological or political reasons, yet we do not try to do away with those. Everything that comes from human consciousness can (and does) have positive and a negative manifestations. It’s up to us to ensure that they are positive and remain positive. Religiosity manifests not only in organized religion, but also in scientism, atheism, dogmatism, right-ism, left-ism, secularism, etc, etc. To an extent this is almost inevitable due to the nature of duality and polarity. Every ‘-ism’ positions itself as being opposed to other ideas or beliefs. To me the only possible exception would be non-partisan truth-seeking. In other words embracing all truths that are truly true – that are constant in their truth – for example natural law(s).

    I too fully believe (know) that humans have an inherent need for spirituality and that by pursuing spirituality they are provided with fundamental meaning in life. Religious diversity is just as colourful as cultural diversity and this is something that becomes clear when we travel extensively – and they cannot be separated since religions are also cultural in their local and regional interpretations – religiosity, spirituality and culture are all entertwined and we should truly marvel at all this (natural) diversity in the world!
    How privileged we are to be part of it! (whether we are religious or spiritual or not) Very interesting thoughts about human genes having a memory of the universe . Lovely photos too. Thank you for your thought-provoking post.
    Jean-Jacques

Leave a Reply to rabbimeirah Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s