Friday, August 24, 2007

Warfare for God

Christiane Amanpour's documentary on "God's Warriors" is quite difficult to watch if one is spiritually inclined. Why militancy has a part in anyone's religion is quite beyond me, but to have it becoming associated with spirituality literally defines blasphemy: offense against the sacred.

Part of my long ambivalence about organized religion stems from the imperialism of large organizations. Humans have again and again proved themselves incapable of organizing large groups of people without creating equally large opposing groups of people. Maybe that's why we have periodically had Prophets, people who would remind us of this fact, offer an alternative, and try to demonstrate this alternative.

But as a species, we're just not so smart. So far, we have not shown that much capacity to listen and learn.

A wit once said that human history is "just one damn thing after another." Yes, well, recorded human history is a catalogue of repeated and massive warfare, a record of just how far we are from the sacred, of how we have repeatedly damned one another and ourselves through violence and expediency (which are probably identical).

For some reason, there are lots of people who think that we should continue on this path.

So, I would say that, if one is truly searching for the sacred, run, run quickly from compelling speakers of any persuasion. Reject emotional appeals to self-serving causes like religious partisanship, any activism that creates divisions between people, and all hierarchies of people. Even patriotism is suspect. Reject any cause or creed that excludes anyone.

Now that's a challenge I can get excited about.


Anonymous said...

As a species, we also haven't been smart enough to figure out how to have enthusiasm about something, even something "good", without rejecting a group of people.

When we hear a compelling speaker, I suggest that we look for the kernel of truth, love the speaker, and be discerning in our actions.

Robin said...

Hi Marty, Yes, you are correct, it's not necessary to reject speakers just for being compelling. So you are suggesting that it is possible to sidestep the emotional appeal of people who are making a concerted effort to engage your emotions.

Maybe that need is in direct proportion to the amount of effort the speaker is making.

As an aside, I notice that, my emotional response to the show led me to recreate the exclusiveness I was railing against...ha.

Interesting comment about enthusiasm. Hmmm, have to think about that some more. We're treading pretty close to the idea that emotional engagement might be an activity which excludes others.
Interesting, might imply something about the evolutionary reasons for the development of emotions....?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Robin, this topic gets really tough.

Our culture has a notion that says, "follow your emotions - if it feels good, it's right." But I think that's really too simplistic. Our ego's idea of what feels good may give us a very different message from what inspiration is saying, and when that happens, we must stop and discern. And, if something feels fearful but is the right thing to do, we need to "stand in the light" until we can take responsibility for the situation, take action, and do it despite not knowing where it will lead us.

I wish it was easier to talk about these things without sounding like a stodgy old Quaker!

I'll keep trying.


Robin said...

That just means that you are in some fairly great company.

This idea keeps coming up about halting thought and feeling, just suspending yourself nowhere in particular, and waiting for a bit.

...waiting a bit...

It is the opposite of warfare for God.