The problem is, what if I think I understand this or that religious tome, but in reality I’ve misinterpreted it. That’s the other alternative besides just pure disbelief. That it’s too dangerous to risk interpretation in the first place. Everyone thinks they’ve got it right. See what Dave says? People are more than happy to create or buy into Biblical interpretations without even reading it. It seems to me that you need to skirt the fine line between reading it as fiction and historical account. That that makes for the best interpretation. But that is just my take on it. Someone else would say you have to read it literally.
The problem is that seemingly subtle, casual distinctions in interpretation seem to lead to murder or war. We seem to have an irrepressible drive to search for deep, life or death meaning in things like this. There’s nothing that I might say that would relieve that. People have developed their belief systems from whatever resources they’ve encountered in the course of their lives. They only change slowly and with difficulty.
Shouldn’t we be honing our human/animal based societal harmony? Shouldn’t we be working towards getting past our baser emotions and tendencies? Shouldn’t we be tweaking our philosophies? Maybe we are, but I’m just the last to know. Or maybe we’re limited. I have found reading and exploring the Bible to open up my mind, up to a point. But I attribute some of that to my gullibility. Not the wonderfulness of the Bible. For instance, I could pick up another religion’s book (just as people do all over the world) and most likely be equally convinced and moved by an account of its deities.
I’m glad I’ve done this “research,” though. You always wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. And I’ve kind of been bashed over the head with the higher power premise/promise by my involvement with 12 step programs. So this was my higher power of origin. My book charting out the parallels between religions kind of proves that you have to be careful about being gullible to the supernatural aspects of religions. One of the guarantees implicit in religions is that their deities and miracles are the only ones around. So they end up cancelling each other out. But worse, they cause strife, in the real world, outside their literary circle. People vehemently disagree on whose magical God is the real one. And then kill each other. And hate. It’s not a source of intelligent debate. But since it’s out there, it has to be dealt with. It has to be addressed. From what I understand, the USA is lagging behind in this whole debate. We seem to be working hard to be more scientifically illiterate and sociologically primitive than much of the world.
Maybe I am exploring my Jewish roots, and have always wondered – as an adult – what they’re all about, because I have needed to address this debate head on. It prevails around me, in society, among co-workers, within my family. I never really understood its roots. I was raised with a certain amount of exposure and training. Just enough to give me a taste. But I guess I never took a bite.
I am fairly gullible. I have been known for that. I think I’ve even been mocked, light-heartedly, for this trait. I have chameleon-like traits. When I used to attend movies often, I would get sucked in and overtaken by the characters. It eventually made me uneasy, because I knew I really needed to be working on developing my own sense of self in order to find happiness. Movie characters are fictional, or at least are only visual representations of reality. I don’t always do a good job of distinguishing between fantasy and reality. Maybe I’m a dreamer.
So if I’m looking for a philosophy that I can truly count on, I must be prepared to use my critical eye. To use my genetically-given gifts. Maybe they aren’t God-given, after all. As easy and comforting that idea would be. The evidence is piling up in the other direction. The evidence that religion inspires mayhem, and human ingenuity creates harmony. It’s like Trump. When is enough, enough? What straw will break the back of acceptability? When does it become an extremely pervasive cult instead of something rational and harmless? I think it finally clicked with me with that recent Facebook post of the highly regarded humanist. Religion is the problem, not just the crazy fanatical zealots. The vestigial necessity for a way to make sense of the world turns out to be just a bunch of nonsense. It wasn’t our ancestors’ fault. They didn’t know any better. They were more animalistic and ritualistic.
Waking up is the hardest thing to do. It all depends what you’re waking up for. The things that inspire and excite me to hop out of bed have changed over the years, partly out of necessity, partly from a natural maturation process. I of course have enjoyed watching Cody’s love of life as he bounces from activity to activity, which includes waking up. Of course if he’s not ready to wake up he is glued to his bed with equal vengeance.
Here I go again. I feel that with every word I write I am connecting to something deep inside (and outside) myself. It is identical to the feeling of wholeness I experience with spiritual/religious connections. I don’t want to forget that feeling. It’s tricky. I am sitting down to write today not out of a strong desire, but because I kind of made a pact with myself yesterday, when I was feeling that urge. So those lofty needs I have when I am feeling lowly (not lofty) are still present, but in hibernation, when I am unaware.
The real reason I opened up my computer was to work on my spreadsheets. But this blog page was open, so I decided to proceed here out of duty to myself. I wanted to see if I could attain anything that I did yesterday here. I think I am able to build on it. In the past this would have been something nearly impossible. In the past I always had to have the burning desire to journal in order to get that high, or peace, or meditative groove, or spiritual connection.
It’s illogical, and disturbing if I think about it, but it seems that since reading the first 5 books of the Bible – the Torah – I have matured spiritually. Either it is truly a profoundly wondrous and affecting spiritual account, or I have been brainwashed from birth to find credence in my Jewishness, so it’s a kind of completing of my secular destiny. Who knows? Maybe I’ll figure it out eventually. Maybe the answer is hidden in my spreadsheets…