A Possible Gospel And New Testament

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

On Belief: A Clarification of Yesterday's Post Prompted by Dale's Comment

The Great Divides

First, I’d like to clarify that I’m casting no aspersions on church leadership past or present. In posting yesterday, my aim was not to imply that the only or primary thing that church leaders have been concerned with is their hold on spiritual authority and power – as if they don’t really believe what they’re telling people. Although there are hypocrites in every sphere of religion and spirituality, I feel certain they are in a minority. I think church leaders have for the most part sincerely held to the definitions, doctrines, and theologies they have propounded, even at the same time that doing so has effectively promoted the church’s authority by discouraging further sources of inspiration by definition and fiat, as per yesterday’s post.

Religious beliefs have and continue to work well for many people – but they also divide us; and a few, with no understanding of their faith, harm others in the name of their beliefs.

Religious beliefs are inherently divisive. For example, either Jesus is resurrected Savior and God, or he isn’t. People generally adhere to those beliefs they grow up with. These beliefs are not demonstrably true to others. So even though religion and spirituality, of all things, ought to bring people together, there’s a limit to what it can do toward that end so long as we make our beliefs the centerpiece of what we think it means to be a person of faith and spirit.

Other Absolutes and Baby Steps

True: Not everyone spends 40 days in the desert, which is to say that not everyone has a religious vocation. We need religious institutions that people can turn to for guidance.

We could be guided toward authentic connections, to borrow Dale's phrase, that are already there to be made - referenced by every world religion. These truths have no inherent or necessary relationship to our varying belief systems. And these truths are absolutes.

They are absolutes of experience that all of us know as human beings. It’s just that many of us don’t know that we know; or our knowledge of them is not as clear as it could be. Take, for example, love. Or faith. Or work. Of course today, most of us equate faith with holding to a belief system whose veracity can’t be demonstrated. But for myself, certainly, I have learned that this is not what faith is.

I hope there is a day when religious institutions offer guidance to people not in the form of propounded certainties and Truth claims that the whole world will never agree on; but on knowing what love is, what faith is, what work is all about, and what sorts of changes in our identities we can anticipate when we follow in the way of faithful love, whatever our background and tradition. If this ever happens, it will take generations. Before we can get there, we will first have to learn to thoroughly respect each others’ beliefs and disbeliefs as a baby step.

31 Comments:

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

Ahh.. There is no ISM like ALTRUISM!

You may be right.. dananana.. I may be crazy.. dananana ..But I just may be the luuunatic you're lookin' for. Thanks Billy J.

The magical thinking of some that the great cosmic secrets of the universe have been revealed to a special chosen few is intoxicating to all of us. Whew, that's what this is all about.

However the proposition of manipulating these insights and capturing the ensuing Personal POWER is like crack to type A personalities looking for an angle.

Some people just feel the need to impose their will upon others. For every Jesus, Gandhi and Mother Theresa there are a thousand Jim Jones.

I have no doubt that some religious leaders are in it for the right reasons. The current vacuum existing in our world is no accident. It was created when the military, church, corporations and politicians were all exposed as corrupt and morally bankrupt, unfit to responsibly look out for our best interests.

So now we the people of the people for the people are busy entertaining ourselves and waiting for the next Big Thing. It won't be religious or political, no I think that the corporate/military A types are out front on this one. YIKES!
cue the WHO..Ba-da We won't get fooled again!

 
At 12:37 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Very thoughtful and thought-provoking -- thank you!

When I first became interested in Buddhism I kept looking for its core scriptures, the catechism, the 39 articles; it took me a long time to figure out that there simply wasn't equivalent to those things in Buddhism. I so strongly associated religion with subscribing to a credo that I was baffled. It wasn't that there were no scriptures; Buddhism has scriptures up the wazoo, thousands of sutras, millions of commentaries. But there wasn't a list of things you could affirm and be a Buddhist, or deny and not be a Buddhist; they just don't think that way. I guess it would be difficult to be a Buddhist without thinking that the Four Noble Truths are true, but I'm sure some people manage it.

Faith is a Buddhist virtue, too, but it doesn't have anything to do with affirming propositions and grimly hanging on to those affirmations in the teeth of all evidence. It's more about keeping your eye on the ball, not succumbing to fretfulness and carping. About not letting your practice be nickled and dimed to death by niggling doubts and anxieties.

Faith seems to mean this and a great many other things to Christians -- I generally get confused by its multiplicity. I hope you'll talk some more about it. I've always been puzzled by the story of doubting Thomas, in I-forget-which gospel -- why would it have been better if he'd believed hearsay rather than the evidence of his senses?

In the context of teacher and disciple, if you take it that Jesus told them ahead of time what would happen, it makes sense. He had seen Jesus work miracles; he had plenty reason to trust him, but he lost his confidence as soon as he lost the presence of his master. I get that. But the gospel-writer doesn't emphasize that aspect of it -- he seems to think that the issue is one of believing things without evidence.

 
At 5:14 PM, Blogger Darius said...

Homo Escapeons: Huh?

"Altruism," "personal power,"
"magical thinking," "revelation..."

These are your words and not mine, so I really don't know how to respond unless you clarify.

Dale: I have the same sorts of difficulties with the "doubting Thomas" passage, and plan to go into that at some point.

I hadn't heard the word "faith" in a Buddhist context - interesting. In the West, faith seems to have become pretty much a synonym for believing without evidence - at least it looks that way to me. I do think there's another way of looking at it - experiencing it - and plan to get into that too.

 
At 6:26 PM, Blogger grumblefish said...

I'm not sure about the existence of cosmic secrets as a foundation for either faith or any
written gospel. It would be more reasonable to couch whatever manifest truths in simple-to-understand parables or historical
recountings, sans smoke or mirrors,
and perhaps demonstrate why human knowledge is generally fallible or
fractionally right, under many
circumstances. Will that help people to accept that there are
(possibly) more than one valid perspective to every solution? I
don't know, but it might make for
some interesting combinations of wisdom and common sense. Science alone, though incremental by its
nature, seldom displays any sense
of possibly creating destructive or
harmful technologies. Intellectual
curiousity and professional accolades often trump the quieter voice which asks, "To what end?" or
"Is this creating more problems than are solved?". Technologists
are rarely compensated for applying
ethical analyses, more often, for
simply "building the damned thing", and leaving decisions about usage to others (exit P. Pilate).
Embedded self-justifications in
this nice little logical cul de sac are tough to overcome- I wonder what kind of spiritual message it would take, to punch through this logic-cum-logic mindset?
Religion faces a similar or
related problem, at a lay level.
How does one put forth knowledge of
what is known, whether scientific,
social, doctrinal or ?? in nature,
without eventually coming to the end of what's explicable in any thread? This is an even larger can of worms, and one that defies pat
answers. Christianity still, after
a few millenia, hasn't reconciled
free will and civilization's demand
for order- we've made the bed, but have found it to be uncomfortable
to lie in. It remains to be seen
whether our "plan B" quest for divine knowledge will be paired
with a desire for the wisdom to survive. Remember, we didn't know then, what we know now; are we wise
enough to let future generations
assess the holes in our current
understanding, or is hubris all we really need?

 
At 8:11 PM, Blogger Stacey said...

What a great post, esp. the last paragraph. I agree...and it pains me to know of all of the tears and bloodshed in the name of religion.

I have enjoyed reading through your blog. I am Jewish, so cannot offer much in the way of my view of the gospels since I do not believe in Jesus.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. Your words meant a great deal to me.

 
At 6:24 AM, Blogger Darius said...

GRUMBLEFISH: There's a lot to your comment, and I want to zero in on one aspect: you mention how technology is being propogated fairly mindlessly (my word)- often without much reference to how it's going to be applied.

Imo, the secular/sacred is an artificial divide. It's a mindset that tends to associate the secular with the morally neutral and the sacred with believing doctrines that the world as a whole isn't going to agree on.

I think the way to overcome this divide is to become more fully aware of our own lives as not belonging to ourselves alone. Obviously that's just a sentence, and I'd have explain this in more than a comment box - but just to toss it out as maybe giving a suggestion of the direction...

STACEY: Thanks for coming by. Just another introductory post or two, and then it will be on not to the gospels, but to something that draws on them in part, but also contains lot of original material.

I'm a non-Christocentric Christian, as it were. Which, to many Christians, would mean I'm not a Christian.

Maybe that makes me Jewish too! And Muslim. I'm definitely a bit of a Buddhist.

In any case, being human is my primary religious and ethnic identification, and the issues raised here will include but not be limited to matters that concern Christians.

PS: Conservatives might decide based on the above paragraph that I'm a humanist. Sure, if that means someone who wants to bring our understanding of what faith is into the realm of knowing what it is to be human.

 
At 7:09 AM, Anonymous Marissa said...

Remember in school when you had a problem, you could go see the guidance counselor? I'm not sure many people took advantage of that but I always remember the guidance counselors being really nice, caring, knowlegable people. It would be so nice if religion was just that, a guidance counselor for the masses. Not preachy, not mean, just encouraging and willing to lead us in the right direction. Heck, what would be really great would be a non-denominational guidance counselor for people who are out of school. Oh wait, that's a psychologist. :D Do you see what I mean though? I think a lot of people are turned off by having to wade through spiritual texts. It's too bad people can't just attend a non-denominational service (like Unitarian-Universalism, for instance, though I'm not sure that's entirely non-denominational), everyone of every religion there together. Because when it comes down to it, all religions are based on "do unto others", etc. I think all religions share a basic set of beliefs. The rest of it (Jesus being the son of god, etc.), people can believe or not, but respect others and celebrate their individual spiritualities together. Ah, pipe dreams... :D

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger crystal said...

First, I'm not sure there are really existing absolutes (do you mean really existing, like Plato's forms?). Is there really love, or is there justwindow dressing, a response to hormaone made to continue the species?

On the other hand, if there are absolutes, finding those that everyone can agree on means making them so generalized that their meaning and worth may be diluted. To believe Jesus is God is very specific, but powerful.

Maybe it's possible for people to hold beliefs that are specific and that work for them, without dismissing the beliefs that are different, but which work for others?

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger crystal said...

PS - Buddhism does have some ideas that are core ... the 4 noble truths and the 8 fold path

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Like Crystal perhaps, I have my doubts that there are 'absolutes of experience that all of us know as human beings' (Darius). Regards x

 
At 12:16 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Crystal, yes, Buddhism does, but there isn't the insistence on subscribing to them, or affirming them, that's typical of the core teachings of the revealed religions. It's kind of typical that the Four Noble Truths aren't even ordinarily phrased as assertions. The First Noble Truth is usually referred to, for example, as "The Truth of Suffering." It can be phrased as an assertion -- "Life is imbued with suffering," or "discontent is endemic," or something like that -- but it's usually western apologists who phrase it that way. No Buddhist says, "I swear that I believe in the Four Noble Truths." It simply wouldn't occur to us to do that, it would seem pointless. (We DO say "I vow to follow the eight-fold path," but that has nothing to do with asserting the truth of propositions -- it's just a promise to do something.)

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger crystal said...

About the 4 noble truths ... the first, for instance, that life is suffering ... you may phrase it in different ways, but I doubt a person considering themselves a Buddhist would say that life, in actuality, is not suffering but a day at the beach. The idea that life is a painful situation that one will try to work one's way out of (through rebirths and spiritual growth) is pretty essential to Buddhism, I think (but could be wrong :-)

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Darius said...

MARISSA: Your bring to mind that idea of the Holy Spirit as the Advocate - a kind of counselor. I'd prefer that model too, instead of the model in Catholicism where the priest is Father. You wonder how the Catholic and Orthodox churches seem to have overlooked this particular passage:

"And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father--the one in heaven.” Mat 23:9

BENJAMIN, CRYSTAL, DALE: Glad you're all awake there... I'd be questioning my use of the term "absolute" too if I were you. I'm using it prematurely and will get into it in the second half of the blog, if I decide to post that half at all.

It would be the part that will follow A Possible Gospel and would for blog purposes be titled "A New Testament," but would really be a blogified/abridged version of a book. I'm not sure yet if that's what it's best for me to do with the thing, since no one will publish it; or if I can even pull it off in blog format..

Anyway, even if it's premature, I liked tossing out the word, "absolute" because conservative readers may be inclined to think I'm a muddled secular moral relativist etc., since I have no system of absolute, unprovable beliefs, which is what many Christians, Jews, and Muslims equate with being religious. So I like at least suggesting that there may be absolutes that lie within the domain not of belief-assertions, but experiences that everybody has.

And no, Crystal, they're not generalizations - I know the kind of thing you mean...

Dale and Crystal, without having studied Buddhism, I've done some reading and would venture this: the belief-statements made by Buddhists are relatively few; and they are statements about life in the here and now.

So when you read a statement like "Life is suffering," or "The cause of suffering is desire," and learn just what Buddhists mean by the terms suffering and desire, you can reflect on your own experience of life and see if these statements ring true.

I think most people who've lived into adulthood would tend to say that these statements have some truth to them.

In contrast, Western belief systems are about "things unseen." And they get pretty detailed. God is three persons in one, Mary was a virgin, there's a heaven and a hell... God exists. To a greater or lesser extent, these statements have external references. They are saying not just, "This is what it's like to be a human being living on this earth in the here and now," but, "This exists, that exists; this is going to happen, that is going to happen."

So Buddhists are talking about things that can be tested by first-hand reflection and experience. Western beliefs require that "leap of faith" - or, barring that, painstaking theologies, apologetics, and attempted proofs which never really work unless you already believe, imo...

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger kevin said...

A whole host of interesting posts...
excellant comments, too.

"Spiritual authority is living water. Religious authority follows prescribed channels where it stagnates when not refreshed."

brilliant! I like that a lot.

Authority is a subject of overwhelming importance, in my opinion. It harkens all the way back to our ego. It is very easy to see the state of one's ego depending on one's reaction to the issues of authority.

I hope there is a day when religious institutions offer guidance to people not in the form of propounded certainties ...

This is available. Now. Believe it or not, there are places and or people to turn to that are legit ~ in both an inward sense and outwardly, too.

 
At 5:07 AM, Blogger Don Iannone said...

4o days in the desert? That's a snap. Try 3 1/2 years. Well at least I lived in Arizona for that long. LOL.

The Buddhist way seems to fit me best at this point in my life. Like most venturing in this direction, I discovered there are all sorts of Buddhists. I never set out to "be" a Buddhist. It just so happened that Buddhism appeared like a bridge out of nowhere, allowing me to crossover into parts of myself I had not seen or known before. Good parts of me. Some would say my Buddha nature.

Having been raised a "hell fire and brimstone" Nazarene, it took a while for me to develop a personal understanding of many Buddhist concepts, including emptiness. In the Nazarene Church, if you weren't "filled" enough with the Holy Ghost, you hadn't arrived spiritually. Most folks couldn't get the Holy Ghost to fill them, so they ate themselves to death so they could feel filled. I'm learning to live with my own emptiness, which as many have said "is filled with unlimited possibilities."

I've learned to let things simply sit and simmer when confusion arises, or write poetry. I used to struggle with things, especially myself. That's a bad habit that takes a while to unlearn or replace with something more useful.

I'm learning being spiritual is a lot easier than I ever imagined. After all, what else can I be?

 
At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Rachel said...

"Spiritual authority is living water. Religious authority follows prescribed channels where it stagnates when not refreshed."

There is a Sufi poem/story (I think by Rumi, but I'm not sure) which goes something like this: one day someone discovers a stream of living water. He tells a few friends about it. Pretty soon more people hear about it and are drawn to see for themselves. More and more people come, and in time someone gets the bright idea to bottle the water and sell it! Not to worry, the living water goes somewhere else and springs up fresh and unimpeded.

I'd like to correct something I said earlier about spiritual teachers. It's not that they are unnecessary. It's just that some religious teachers are drinking bottled water while others partake of a living stream.

Jesus didn't teach religious dogma; He was immersed in a living stream. Some would say He was the living stream. Perhaps problems occur when people mistake bottled water from "stagnate channels" for living water or believe that "Bottled Jesus" is the one and only one that everyone should drink? (This could apply to "Bottled Mohammed," etc.)

 
At 7:14 AM, Blogger Darius said...

KEVIN: That's true - there are good guides out there. Maybe not always so easy to find. You've got me wondering what you mean by "ego."

DON IANNONE: Nice desert though!

Yes, it seems to me that the fire and brimstoners are often filled not so much with the spirit, but with turbulent emotions that interfere with what the Buddhists call emptiness and what their own Christian tradition has viewed as our nearer approaches to God since at least as far back as the Desert Fathers and the first monasteries.

RACHEL: Thanks for extending that analogy so well. I guess one thing about bottled water is that it's so easy to label and sell. It makes the water seem solid.

 
At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven’t had the time to read each post so this isn’t directed to anyone specifically.

I hear so many people in the public talk about shaping and delivering a message that is “all inclusive.” People in the public square appear very genuine in how they speak about a way that everyone should be able to embrace. Sort of like “we can all prosper.” And “American’s live in a “user friendly” society. “We must just learn to adapt in the 21st century.” My thought is that a meaningful message shouldn’t be so idiot proof. The idea and hope that most will take to the message in the end is the goal. But initially isn’t it wrong to assume that everyone should automatically understand the essence of the message? When people speak about an all-inclusive way they’re playing right in to the hands of the mushy center. I think the major problem is that everyone has been conditioned to expect that a problem is something that can be simply solved. The way we treat the history and principles of various world philosophies is trendy and vicarious. We treat our own religions insipidly except for perhaps on the one-day Sunday church service. It’s kind of like the 60s peace movement rhetoric. The more the messenger alludes or appeals to the fact that the solution is always ‘blowing in the wind’ or a matter of “just being” the easier it is for us to conform to the consumerist culture. Even though that was exactly the opposite of what hippies wanted. The consumerist culture, btw, surrounds and influences our daily lives. The emphasis on basic philosophical principles, however, trains us to become more disciplined in our thinking and being. So when this is not the emphasis these life philosophies become slogans for media commercials and advertisements. So what I’m saying is that a lot of our confusion in society can be attributed to the way we emphasize the message.

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger Darius said...

ANONYMOUS, welcome. If you're saying that "inclusiveness" is a dumb idea if we take it to mean some muddle-headed notion that "everybody's right," I'd agree.

But if inclusiveness means, "I'm willing to listen to what you have to say and treat you respectfully," I think that's a good thing. It helps us see what we have in common as well as where we differ. And it assumes that maybe none of us already has the whole truth and nothing but the truth - and to me that seems like a pretty safe bet.

 
At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Rinchen Gyatso said...

Like your blog. I've linked to it. I've also just picked up Elaine Pagels "Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas." I'll probably blog on it.

Do you know anything about the Eastern Churches, like the Russian Orthodox church or the Coptic or Ethiopian Churches? I wonder how their view differs from the Western European (Catholic/Prostetant) churches.

 
At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darius,
People allow themselves to treat “inclusiveness” too lightly. That word or concept as it is preached and taught to us does not stick in our minds as a notion of ACCEPTING the difference we notice in our fellow man. Here are definitions of “inclusiveness:” 1) Including the specified extremes or limits as well as the area between them. 2) Taking a great deal or everything within its scope; comprehensive, all-encompassing, all-embracing.

We think an inclusive society means personal access or opportunity for the average individual. It’s a notion that attempts to reassure us that there is a way to make enough money to live the American Dream. We’re not taught how to be an inclusive society just that we can be one if we go out and pay our dues, whatever that means. This definition of society assumes that we know how to love and respect one another. I don’t think it’s safe to assume this. To me an inclusive society means that in general we are all human enough to not want to harm each other because of our differences. Sure, you can take many measures to physically integrate people of all types. A society can diversify completely but that act alone doesn’t guarantee the new mix will embrace each other. When we emphasize an inclusive society it should be backed up by emphasizing responsibility for individual discipline and conviction otherwise we’re being led around by the collar every day we walk out into the consumerist jungle of society. If we don’t emphasize what inclusiveness really means, then we begin believing past stereotypes that we see used in advertising everyday. People selling these stereotypes will say that we know the difference between right and wrong. But in reality if one doesn’t practice a sort of moral discipline he will simply react to his environment.

Now can you see how important of a word this is? It can mean simply embracing the access and opportunity one has in the consumerist jungle or it can mean embracing the difference we notice in our fellow man amidst the consumerist jungle that we live in. The point here is that “inclusive” is used very carelessly by the public. Think about it. One can use it in a sentence with a great deal of inflection to convey the importance of the word but not mention acceptance of our differences. It’s a phenomenal adjective that the public dangerously botches up.

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger kathy said...

i agree with your last paragraph.

 
At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, care to elaborate, Kathy?

 
At 3:57 PM, Blogger Darius said...

RINCHEN G: Thanks, and I'll be linking back to you and others - I have to depend on my "blogmeister" to get me started with some things...

As for you, there are definitely not enough Tibetan monks out there with blogs, imo! Great to have your perspective.

I meant to finish reading the Gospel of Thomas myself, which I've started. I think Crystal has read it - there's a link to her blog in her comments to this post.

All I know in terms of the churches you mention is that there's a lot of similarity among the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Russian Orthodox beliefs/rituals.

My impression is that Catholicism and Eastern O. (I assume Russian O. is much like Eastern, but that's just a guess) are more similar to each other than to any of the Protestant denominations. Big churches, paintings, statues, elaborate rituals... also monastic traditions. The schism between Eastern O. and Catholicism was the first to occur - in the twelfth century, I think.

I'm no church historian, so anybody please correct as needed...

ANONYMOUS: Not quite sure I'm understanding your main point. If it's along the lines of the idea that the increasingly deregulated and actually self-regulating (via massive corporate lobbying and campaign financing)form of capitalism that we have now isn't doing most of us much good, I agree.

Back when it all started, with Reagan, he told us the wealth would "trickle down." The whole trick of trickle down - it was a trick, all right - (ever since, they've relabeled the package from time to time, but it's the same bill of goods) is to let the wealthy get ever more fabulously wealthy. At some point the change is supposed to start trickling to the ground as it overflows their pockets, and we the people pick it up and live better.

In reality, of course, the gap between rich and poor, here in the US and world-wide, just grows.

 
At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not looking into it with that much depth, darius. Reread it. It makes sense.

 
At 6:24 AM, Blogger Darius said...

ANONYMOUS: You say the concept of inclusiveness is "preached..." that "the public" uses the word wrong...

Maybe someone else can clarify, but I'm not sure who's doing the preaching, what members of the public are using the word wrong, etc.

You might try streamlining - stating your main point, giving an example or two, and if it relates to the post, highlighting that.

 
At 12:17 PM, Blogger Darius said...

HI ANONYMOUS –

Sounds like there are a number of things you’d like to discuss but that may stray from the discussion thread as far as this post goes. I appreciate your comments, but will put on my moderator’s hat and take the liberty of deleting only those last three in an effort to keep discussion a bit more focused.

Have you thought about starting a blog yourself? “Blogspot” is the one I use. Seems to be the most popular one, and it’s easy to manage.

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger kathy said...

Anonymous said...

Thanks, care to elaborate, Kathy?

2:48 PM
----------------------------
well, okay! I was raised in the Jehovah Witness religion. In the 70's they were telling everyone that the end of the world would come in 1975. thats just one date in all thier mess up prohesies. They believe all other religions is false except for them. now with what Darius said in his last paragraph makes perfect sense to me.

is that enough elaboration Anonymous?

 
At 1:26 PM, Blogger kathy said...

In other words we need to get rid of dogma...thats my opinion anyway.

 
At 6:18 PM, Blogger Nurse Mia said...

This is a very interesting and thought-provoking sight. I will admit I was a little apprehensive with the references to Jesus, identifying as a recovering Catholic. But I really like what you have to say about faith and love and authentic connections. I no longer identify with any specific religion for the very reasons you've referred to - the church's sense of authority on what truth is and the separations and rifts that come forth through the practice of different doctrines.

 
At 6:04 AM, Blogger Darius said...

KATHY - I think people have been predicting the end of the world since around the beginning of the world. The apocalyptics are bound to get it right one of these days, especially since they often follow church teachings against birth control, like the planet can sustain limitless population growth - the single force behind every form of environmental degradation.

NURSE MIA: Welcome, and dogma's divisiveness sure strikes me as an odd thing too: the root of the word religion is thought to be "re" (again) and "legere" to bind or bring together.

So far religion hasn't exactly managed to bring us together again. And I don't know how that's possible when various groups make Truth claims that are undemonstrable and mutually exclusive. So you have to hope that people world-wide can somehow learn to stop hating each other in the name of the Godma of Dogma to take a simpler, quieter satisfaction in retiring to their own little corners of the globe and reassure themselves and their friends of how right their in-group is; or (my preference) begin developing a broader perspective based on sharable and knowable experience and not dogma.

 

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