religion, worship and spirituality

Rik, at Raw Multimedia, asked his readers to reflect upon religion and spirituality. I thought about it for a day. And, just when I told myself that I wouldn’t go there, that thinking about this stuff seems pointless, I found myself tapping away at the keyboard. This is what I wrote.

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image by amanda sandlin via unsplash

The word ‘religion’ makes me a wee bit queasy because I associate it with ideology and power wielding of the political kind. It’s sort of like when politicians try to woo us by tellings us they really care, blah blah, but they’re only saying this because they need our vote, our approval, our worship (if you will) to gain more power, which they wield upon and against us, once they do. I think god may be more of a bargaining chip or weapon of mass destruction, you know, that can be used to control and oppress the masses by sowing fear, hatred and dissonance wherever possible. Yikes, that has a Marxist ring to it, doesn’t it? Well, Marx did have a point: religion certainly is the opium of the people. God doesn’t create man, man creates religion and its mythical god. We’ve created this paradigm because it serves our collective, societal ego and sustains our society’s hierarchy. Religion has as much to do with spirituality as politics has to do with social well-being: very little or nothing at all. Religion seem to me, quite ideologically-driven – a blatant manifestation of colonialism/imperialism, indigenous decolonization and the patriarchal male ideal.

So, while I reject this construct of religion, I am quite a spiritual individual. I believe that we continue on in some form after physical death. I believe it’s the same place we come from when we are conceived and born, (I’m thinking here of that movie The Matrix, specifically when Neo has just taken the red pill and is ‘waking up’ in his slimy slavery cell). I mention death because it’s so profound, and because I’ve watched people die. And it astounds me. One minute they’re there. And then, they’re not. And they look differently, sort of not like themselves, because … well, because they’re not there.

If there is a god, he is not the Wizard Of Oz, or Uncle Sam – he’s not some guy who sits on a throne, entertaining requests from all over the universe. He’s subject to the laws of the universe. Or perhaps the universe, you know, as a whole entity (if you can imagine it as such – like the super computer in A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) is god. Or perhaps, just perhaps, The Big Bang was god – an unimaginably powerful and extremely fleeting phenomenon that created matter, anti-matter, space and time – all of which abide by a certain set of immutable universal laws. In this sense, god doesn’t exist and never did, not in that anthropomorphic, being kind of way, but only as an event, you know, a phenomenon. Theologists refer to god as the first cause; in this vein, I think of The Big Bang as the first cause.

This leaves that age old cosmological question: what caused the first cause/Big Bang or how did god come to be or occur? The answer, I believe, resides beyond the limits of the mind’s cognitive capacity, because of the question’s infinite number of dimensions and of the mind’s compulsive obsession with linear order, you know, assigning beginnings and ends to events. Because, can a beginning really have a cause?

“Kill them all; god will recognise his own.”

~ Papal Legate Arnaud Amalric, during the siege of Bezier, when asked how to tell Catholics from Cathars