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Tag: Religion

What is the Holy?

What is the Holy?

The holy is not the gods. Humans have been told about thousands of different gods, for thousands of years, primarily to steer us into obedience of earthly powers, and to make us give up our searching. The holy is not religion. Religions were designed to organize this obedience, to add layers and layers of fictional supports, to add so many layers our heads spin, so we give up our searching. The holy is not empire, or nation, or nation-state. These…

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The Divine Invention

The Divine Invention

 The truly divine thing is invention, creation, imagination. All religions were created by novelists and poets. That has been on my mind and under my thoughts for decades. It reached the surface again tonight, like the creative process itself. In a rush, a burst, a light coming on against nuanced black. We tell stories. Some of us make stories. Some repeat them. But novelists invent, poets invent. Song-writers invent. They take things from nature and their own lives and think…

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The Moral Order

The Moral Order

Is there a moral order in the universe? If so, does it come from a god, or some other force? If there is a moral order, is it something we should try to align ourselves with? I think about that a lot, when I walk outside, look at the stars, hike, swim in the sea, walk along the strand. I also think about that whenever I read about comparative religion, and wonder how people could deduce a moral order from…

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The Ground of Change

The Ground of Change

Wright’s book is picking up steam. He writes with compression, gets to the point quickly, after marshaling his facts and evidence. And the story he tells is enthralling. Polytheism, to monolatry to monotheism. Some of it I already knew. But much of it is new to me, based upon recent excavations and readings of better, more accurate translations of existing scripture. Wright’s gift is to put it all together in a very accessible, organized manner. There is much evidence to…

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The Sting of the Sun

The Sting of the Sun

About 100 pages into a fascinating new book, detailing the rise and fall of gods, goddesses, the religious impulse and its repercussions. The Evolution of God, by Robert Wright, is a general history, starting from the earliest hunter-gatherer societies, moving into chiefdoms after the discovery of agriculture, onto city-states in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and through the advent of Levantine monolatry and monotheism. I’ve reach the foot of Mount Monolatry and fierce storms are taking shape. Wright reminds us how much…

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Multiplicity, Faith and History

Multiplicity, Faith and History

Pascal said: “The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me.” He was thinking about the heavens, the stars, galaxies, night. He said in another pensée: “For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either.” I imagine most of us have these feelings from time to time. The immensity of the universe dwarfing us, subduing us, making…

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The Relativity of Illusion

The Relativity of Illusion

 From where I sit. From where you sit. It’s all relative. You’re deluded. No, you are. I think you both are. In The Great Weaver of Kashmir, the young Halldór Laxness, a future Nobel Prize winner, gives us ample opportunity as readers to judge much concerning delusions and illusions. The novel is ambiguous enough to provide plenty of room, and our weighing and balancing of the various options will have much to do with our own predilections. Picking up where…

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Flailing Parochial Vision

Flailing Parochial Vision

  Peering into the mountain The universality of spirits Spirits For tens of thousands of years Peering into the cave It’s all there All there is It has been that way Again and again For thousands of decades With new incarnations Every now and then Here and there What makes us so sure Ours in the only one? What makes us so sure Ours isn’t just one more mask? Why would we think that our Small corner of the world…

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