Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On Religion

Original Posting

One topic that has always fascinated me is religion. Maybe fascinate isn't the right word, captivate, beckon, entice. I am a deeply religious man without a religion (I consider myself a Noachide, which I suppose is a religion, but it doesn't have a lot of room for growth that I've found). I'm also deeply loathing of religion, I find it rampant among those delightful people who are both ignorant and arrogant. Knowing little, adopting the party lines of the day, then arrogant enough to believe that their lines are superior to any other belief (not that they aren't, simply that they don't have the intellectual right to believe that they are).

So, there I am, a fellow deeply loving religion and deeply hating religion. Of course I only hate the shallow religion. The deep religion, that is what I love and what I seek. The religion based in personal experience: the experience of God. That's the only religion that interests me anymore. Oh, and it is alive among many: there are many who experience God with varying degrees of intensity. The only problem is that the shallow infects the deep like a cancer. Once people have the experience they try to make it comprehensible. Comprehend the transcendent? That can only end badly.

This is why I suppose many people in this day are warmer to the idea of a transcendent "something" (the word God may be too dangerous for those who want to keep things nice and vague) than the idea of organized religion. The transcendent something maintains it's mystery, it's more difficult to make it heavy, humdrum, and safe. Religion, however, can quickly become mundane. That's why it's always fun to watch the recently converted with their fervor (of course, when they set themselves above others, they are the most irritating of all). They are still being infected. They're riding hide on the deep while the shallow slowly spreads.

Bringing clarity...

and falsehood.

It is that experience that both led me out of Christianity and makes it impossible for me to condemn Christians. It is clear that salvation does happen. Christianity clearly has real, powerful effects on people's lives. I only left because I discovered that these things take place in other religions as well, and I would no longer ascent to Christianity's exclusivity. I seek the thing that these people are experiencing.

But how do you seek it? Must it not remain elusive lest it become shallow? What told Augustine "take and read"? What did Brother Lawrence experience? Who communicated with Moses and Israel? What is the force that changes some lives while leaving others alone? Is it simply something internal? Something within man? I'll be honest, I hope not. How dull, it returns us right back where we were. With a desire for the transcendent and no hope of satisfaction.

Of course, with every passing day, humanity's desire for the transcendent is buried under practicality. And with that comes less interest in these matters. But still, I desire it, and still others do as well.

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