11/6/09

Allahu Akbar - In God We Trust

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (and every off-shoot, sect, denomination, etc.) are each and all founded upon the same ideological mind trap clothed within a commonly asserted divine authority that is beyond contention by virtue of costume, incense, bell ringing and lots of repetitive chanting.

Plus, "Mom and Dad and Preacher Man told me so" and they would never lie.

It should be readily apparent that these myths and behavioral instructions from “on high” via allegorical prose evolve over time due to the shifting interpretations of cultural standards.

In other words, they are fictional narratives that human beings derive, craft, invent and re-invent to maintain power and authority for better or worse through the concept of ancestral tradition and childhood indoctrination.

Admittedly, these stories are obviously some of the most psychologically powerful bonding agents for a successful communal and cooperative society.

Of course, this can be very "heartfelt, good and comforting” for many holding these same traditions, until there is interaction with the other societies that have conflicting narratives.

We can all be critical and derogatory about these “extremist” interpretations that cause so much suffering and despair, as reflected in the recent human massacre at the Ft. Hood Army Base, and then fully expect to be accused of unjustly painting with a broad brush to include those with more “liberal” and “peace loving” interpretations of exactly the same narratives.

The bottom line is that the moderates and liberals of all religious traditions should be taken to task for not being more pro-actively critical of the darker, more violent and absolutist brands of their own religion (cultural narratives) and not just pipe up to critique the criticism when one of their own goes “Old Testament” on folks.

Some moderates and liberals explain away these violent events by claiming that the “true” interpretations derived from each of these religions is firmly and universally founded upon “love, compassion, caring, empathy and reciprocity”, aka "many flowing rivers leading to one shimmering ocean of understanding", no matter the obvious violence and despair that some adherents promote due to their mythic bonds and purported special relationships with a God who never appears, but is most often just an expression of their own human desires and cravings.

My question for both rigid fundamentalist and liberal mystic continues to be this:

Why do we as a species hold onto these archaic myths, legends and lore to provide us directives on how to love and care for each other in this good life when they are inescapably polluted with the contradictions of brutal deities, prophets and teachers promoting “their way or the highway to Hell”?

Do we not know how to be good without them?

Do we not know how to love without them?

I believe that all humans do, in fact, know the importance of the deep and abiding human values of love, empathy and reciprocity without such primitive religious narratives about burning bushes and assorted winged angels visiting special men walking alone to tell us what a deity beyond space and time thinks about women, other gods, pigs, oysters and foreskins or which tribe is his favorite deserving of a particular patch of desert and a glorious reward in the afterlife magic kingdom.

Given all of the empirical evidence we may currently have to the contrary, however, that claim might just make me the real faithful believer after all.