I wouldn't go so far as to say what is undetectable to us, is non-existent. I was pretty clear to say that Reality, or "ultimate reality", is beyond the grasp of both current and future sciences and reason as well. There's a good reason to say this. But this doesn't mean it's "supernatural", other than in the sense of beyond what we can comprehend, or ever will be able to comprehend using reason and rationality.Agreed. The concept of the supernatural as a separate reality from the natural realm yet able to affect it while remaining undetectable even in principle is incoherent. It's an invention to give the nonexistent the status of the existent by claiming a one-way causality from a place which can be found nowhere in time or space.
This is simply to say that Reality is stranger than anything we can now or ever imagine. The greatest minds have said just this very thing, including Einstein. And that does not therefore at all mean, the Bible's images of the Mystery are the actuality of it, as some religious apologists would errant conclude. They are just as much metaphors as anything else we have to say about it is. They're just not scientific metaphors, and shouldn't be mistaken as such.
I disagree. What is for, in its most basic function is both preserve and transmit information in service of spiritual growth and transformation. Having an organizational structure of course can be fraught with problems, not the least of which is a corruption of power, but those become sadly necessary in order to maintain some semblance of functionality.That's what organized religion is for. That's why there is a priesthood and a church hierarchy, and why the priests align with kings where possible.
Think of this as an example. I study and practice the internal martial arts form of taijiquan (T'ai Chi). There are lineages of knowledge holders who master these things and transmit the knowledge to qualified disciples. If you don't have this structure of master and disciple, and just anyone who watches a few YouTube videos, begins teaching Faux Chi, as I like to call it, the art become diluted and distorted. It may look all flowery and such to the novice, but is nonsense and devoid of merit and benefit.
Likewise with a religion, having structure keeps it a legitimate practice. Without that, it can easily devolve into illegitimate nonsense, like your fundamentalist preachers of every flavor on the radio and television. Glory-seekers always find their ways into any organization and turn into a cult of personality, whether its martial arts, businesses, or religions. This is not a religion problem. It's an organizational problem.
No it's not. That's not what it is "for". It may be abused by those seeking to control other by taking advantage of it as a concept. But as a concept, that is not its intended purpose. It's a device of langauge to speak about some deeper level of existence beyond just what goes on in the thinking mind. It's an existential question. It's part of the big questions of life. It's not just made up to scare people, even though evil people take advantage of it to do that with it.This is what the concept of an eternal soul is used for.
Same as above. All of these are metaphors to speak about what I see as the same thing as Enlightentment versus illusion, spoke of in other religions. These are expressions of the highest and deepest relizations of human experience. They are metaphors to talk about those. But again, they are taken advantage of by those seeking power over others and turn them into objects of fear in order to manipulate them. Remove that from it, and they are perfectly fine and useful metaphors on their own.This is what the doctrine of original sin, damnation, and salvation through Christ alone is for.
Just because someone abuses these, doesn't mean that they are inherently wrong or evil. I liken it to the Sufi saying, "A knife is neither good nor bad, but woe to him who grasps it by the blade!" Myself, I know which end of the knife to hold on to.
Whoa. Not at all how I read this or understand this. I've never understood it in that light. It's about authentic humility, and being of service to others. Not making yourself a doormat for others. There is a whopping big difference between suppressing your spirit and will, and being humble. The former is inauthentic humility. It's false humility. It's not genuinely setting aside your own self seeking for the sake of others.This is what the Sermon on the Mount is about - controlling people. Be meek, suppress your spirit and will, stand down, for your reward will come later if you do.
As with all these things, I have learned that there is this dividing line between an authentic understanding of spirituality, and an inauthentic, ego-driven interpretation of these things by those in religious communities. I've found it to be quite remarkable, and it's like the continental divide type reading, where one flows to the Pacific and the other flows the Atlantic. They end up in completely opposites ends of the continent. It's hard to explain this, but it's a night and day difference.
That really depends on that person who explaining it. Explained in a spiritual light, it makes sense. In a controlling sense, it's counter to the spiritual sense and it is poison. The way you explain how you have learned to hear that, is that poisonous sense.People who care about you don't talk to you like that.
The fact you denounce that sense, says something quite positive about you. As you can tell, I denounce that sense as well. But I don't read that as the intended sense at all.
What I see with religion is this. They began from the bottom up. They typically start with some authentic mystical vision or realization of some individual. It's later on as that vision spreads and takes hold and become popular, that it gets organized in some fashion in order to keep the community and teachings intact. And now it's at this point that it gets dumbed down by administrators, and outright corrupted by power-seekers and egotists. Again, back to group dynamics.That's what people who want to exploit you and for you to not rise up about it say. This is the top-down view of religion.
Once the spiritual meat of the original movement because diluted into the kinds of social control systems you speak of, and new vision arises out of spiritual necessity, and the whole process begins again. This is exactly what Christianity began with, breathing a new vision into a stale and corrupt religious system. And then it too became a religion, which it never was really intended to in the first place.
I suppose you could say being a psychologist is a great gig compared to manual labor, but I think that takes its toll on them and they consider it difficult and challenging work as well. So in reality, what is a priest? Aren't they essentially a psychologist, family therapists, administrators, etc.? I don't think I'd slight it as an easy occupation. People come to you for advice and direction in their lives, and if you are a genuine person, that's quite a responsibility.Being a priest is a great gig compared to manual labor and outdoor work.
Unfortunately, then you have narcissistic hacks who try to control people with religion. They are inauthentic. I know pastors who are exactly that. But there are others who are not. As I said, there is a watershed point, at that point is the Ego.
There are those who do this. And there are those who don't. This is a people problem, more than it is a religion problem. The only thing bad about it being religion, is because it can be quite easily abused to manipulate people with.For the average adherent, that's not the purpose of the religion at all, and not his purpose - to be controlled. He's trying to control his life through prayer and then his afterlife, not other people. That's the grassroots side of this - people looking for answers, comfort, and protection. But the priests are not his friend. They will sell him false promises for income, easy work, and social status.
You're dealing with people's hopes and fears. And isn't this exactly what lying politicians do too? So it's not just religion, it's politics too. It's anything that deals with people's core beliefs and values that are so powerful and easily abused by the unscrupulous.
But why then is it assumed about anyone who speaks of God or religion, like me? What about that other half? That was my point. It is a big assumption. And that was my point to begin with. You are the refreshing exception to the rule in my experience.Assumes? We see it. Doesn't this describe about half of the American people now - lack of empathy and a lack of a sense of community?