Friday, September 16, 2011

Spiritual Atheism

This is partially in response to: "Beyond ‘New Atheism’" in the New York Times - by Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.
"Kitcher’s secular humanism reanimates the debate, promising much needed serious reflection on whether the divine can or should be eliminated from our moral lives."

What I see as the problem is the divine as being represented by essentially a War God - the War God of the Old Testament. In these debates, many (men, esp.) do not see that that is part of the problem. The problem which many people are rebelling against.

Christianity was liberalized by people who absorbed ideas from old texts from India and other parts of Asia (during the 1800s, 1900s). Transcendence and nature have been considered more important in Asian spirituality than it has in traditional Christianity. So we have liberal Christianity which rejects the ideas of Original Sin and the idea that life and sex are bad. Some Christians, such as those who follow the Pope, and others who take Genesis Literally are more likely to be more attached to the War God - and God as a powerful Male who rules the world.

Religion cannot improve until it leaves such ideas behind - ideas which are really about establishing and maintaining power. A War God is not compatible with the spiritual side of people. The spiritual side of people (right brain thinking - see A Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor, for instance) is about the loss of boundaries, unity with others, peace, love and understanding. And seeing ourselves as part of an amazing universe - not at odds with life - but an integrated part of life. Some gnostics thought along those lines before the Catholic Church put an end to such diversity of thought and spirituality.

Ideas about hell and even heaven are in effect more about the church maintaining power than anything. It is not until all of the power aspects of religions are dropped and life is affirmed - that religion as spirituality can be understood. So it is not a question of the divine being eliminated from our lives - but how we define divine. If life itself is understood to be divine, then there is nothing to eliminate.

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