Friday, 5 October 2007

what is religion? part 1

So you want to be a proper religion...

A proper religion, in my opinion, should
  • Respect all living creatures
  • Have compassion for suffering
  • Release its adherents from fear and loathing
  • Honour other religions as different perspectives on the same reality
  • Teach its adherents techniques to connect with the Divine
  • Practice tolerance and forgiveness and peace
  • Celebrate diversity
  • Be aware that different people have different ways of connecting with the Divine - some through meditation, some through dance, some through the practice of charity, etc.
  • Celebrate being alive
  • Be able to discuss theology and philosophy without trying to impose conformity
  • Honour the contribution of science and the arts
  • Cultivate virtue
  • Resist oppressive practices and institutions
  • Stimulate all the senses
  • Honour sexuality (in all its consensual forms) as a divine gift
  • Relax and let go
The tragedy of Western religion is that it is focused on belief and creeds, rather than on mystical experience. The word religion comes from the Latin religare, to reconnect. So if the Divine source is everywhere and in everyone, then we must reconnect with each other as well as with the source. The Divine is both immanent and transcendent, so it's not good enough to say that the physical world is illusory or fallen - we must be aware of the Divine presence within it. And we must be aware that our perspective is finite, whereas the Divine perspective is infinite and seen from all points simultaneously.

No comments: