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What is Religion?

 

  “Not seeking and not experiencing the mysteries of heaven and earth is the height of egotism and folly.” (Rev. Dr. JC Husfelt) 

 

Do you know the definition of religion? How about the definition, for the always controversial, God? Have you even given much thought to these two definitions? Or are you too busy and have left the definition of these two subjects to religious leaders.

 

The following are definitions of religion as well as spirituality as defined by Divine Humanity:

 

Spiritualitythe belief in a reality greater than the individual, which will then lead to an exploration of the transcendent[i] mysteries (un-seen/otherworldly/sacred) of life and creation. A person may be spiritual without having any connection with or any allegiance to organized religion. (Individual practice)

Religiona belief and/or system of beliefs and practices seeking to understand and explain the mysteries of the sacred, which also may include the natural world. (Individual and/or group practice)

 

For the purpose of this website, we will explore the following two different types of religion as defined by Divine Humanity:

Organized/Institutionalized Religiona group or system of beliefs and practices, grounded in dogma and doctrine, which explain the mysteries (the sacred) or the transcendent aspects of creation. This type of religion may be based on a ‘holy book’ (usually a literal scriptural theology) and may be termed exoteric[ii], even though there may be an esoteric[iii] branch of the religion such as Judaism’s Kabbalah or Islam’s Sufism. Additionally, Organized/Institutionalized Religion is usually based on theology and usually disavows mythmaking.

Pure or Wisdom Religion/Philosophical Religiona belief and/or system of beliefs and practices, absent of dogma and doctrine, which attempt to understand and explain the mysteries (un-seen/otherworldly/natural [earth based] as well as sacred [heaven based]) or, if you will, the immanent[iv] and transcendent aspects of life and creation. This understanding may take the form of mythmaking. Pure Religion believes in the individual’s ability to have a direct and personal (mystical/transpersonal) experience of the immanent and transcendent mysteries of heaven and earth. This type of religion is mythic, exoteric and esoteric. This is Divine Humanity.

 

As we can see from these two definitions, institutionalized religions rely on dogma and doctrine and are only concerned with the transcendent or sacred mysteries understood exoterically. If it is a ‘gate-keeping’ religion of salvation, such as Christianity, then you are at the mercy of the priesthood and in this case, a Patriarchal one. There is no direct link to the sacred except through the province of the church. And the church’s very nature is exoteric not esoteric.

 

By their very nature, institutionalized religions separate people and things, whereas pure religions unite people and things and are totally inclusive—as we all know, the rain falls on all things of the earth and the sun shines on all.

 

Ironically enough, institutionalized religions concept of God is one of the prime sources of separation.

 

God

  

Creator, God, Elohim (Hebrew), Alaha (Aramaic), Allah (Arabic) or Great Mystery—each of these names refers to the same inherent entity, which is non-dualistic. I believe in Alaha or God.

I believe that the concept of a Mystery/God is essential to life and the basis of any true non-hierarchal religion. But please understand that when I use the term Alaha or God, I am not referring to the concept of the Christian God—the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, but to the greatest Mystery of Mysteries, which is both immanent and transcendent and beyond human comprehension.

Many people equate God with the Trinity, which explains why so many people have told me that they do not believe in God. In reality, I don’t blame them as their disbelief is based on the prevalent Christianized description of God as a trinity of male dominance to be ‘feared.’ No love here, just fear; especially if you don’t abide by the Church’s rules.

The extent of people’s skepticism can best be illustrated by a bumper sticker that I recently saw: ‘Dear God, Please save me from your followers.’ The problem is not about God but about the Lie of Christianity.   

Not withstanding Christianity’s male induced imagery, God is the word that I will use to represent the greatest Mystery of Mysteries. Even though I would prefer to use the Aramaic name Alaha for numerous reasons, one being that it infers Oneness. However, it may cause confusion as it is similar to the Arabic Allah.

Accordingly I believe that God, the One and Oneness of all, the Mystery of Mysteries, which is within us and outside us, transcend our abilities even as divine human beings to comprehend the essence of what is the greatest mystery of all. God surpasses our dualistic view of reality and is neither male nor female but is the Mystery of all that there is. God is love not fear, both immanent and transcendent.  

As we can see, God is not the sole property of Christianity or any one religion. God is not to be feared. And surely God is not some mysterious, vengeful ‘man’ hidden deep away within the farthest reaches of the universe.  

In fact, God is such a mystery that we do not even need to worry ourselves about God. What we do need to do is to keep in mind that the divine spark of God is within us and within all other things of creation. And we need to be mindful of our connectedness and how our words, our actions and our beliefs affect not only us but all other things as well.  

A rose by any other name is still a rose just as God by any other name is still the greatest mystery of mysteries. And the mystery is unexplainable. But the reflection[v] of God is known and is awesome in its simplicity, complexity and immensity—a beautiful collage of creations ranging from cedar trees, bumble bees and humans to stars, galaxies and black holes. This is total inclusiveness.  

To know God is to know ourselves and to know all other things—not only from our mind but also from our heart and our experience of life. It is as simple and as magical as lying on the earth while watching the clouds pass overhead. It is the breath of a baby. It is the overcast morn. It is the light that you may see in each other’s eyes. And it is the volcano that destroys but in the same breath creates new land—baby earth.


 

[i] Something beyond the material universe and our experience or knowledge of it http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/theogloss/transc-body.html

 

[ii] …. means the "outer" (exo-), i.e. the outer or surface or everyday consciousness.  This includes both the scientific-materialistic and the conventional (or literal) religious perspective.  As it is based on the everyday understanding of things, and does not require any transformation of consciousness (and indeed considers any such transformation to be harmful), it assumes that the everyday mind alone can understand Reality.  (Things are not always that simple though, because in order to do, say, quantum physics one requires a mathematical intuition not shared by many). http://www.kheper.net/topics/esoteric_and_exoteric.htm

 

[iii] …. means the "inner" (eso-), in the sense of the inner consciousness; the contemplative, mystical or meditative transpersonal perspective.   This is something different from the ordinary everyday understanding of things, and can only be understood by intuition or higher mental or spiritual faculties….

 

Central to the distinction between Esoteric and Exoteric is that of states of consciousness.  An Exoteric philosophy or religion as one which is based on the normal waking state of consciousness, or a modified state of consciousness which is still pretty close to the normal waking state.  Any aspiration beyond the ordinary state of existence is discouraged.  For example, according to the religious person, "God created/loves you just as you are", so who are you to question what God has ordained for you by striving for some higher state of consciousness?  While according to the sceptical Materialist, there is no higher state beyond the rational mind anyway (all non-rational states of consciousness being delusionary). Ibid

 

[iv] Something existing in the realm of the material universe and/or human consciousness  http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/theogloss/imman-body.html

 

[v] “In set theory, the reflection principle states that every conceivable property of the Absolute (the class of all sets) is also part of any given set. In other words, every conceivable property of the Absolute is shared by the Relative.” (Edward F. Malkowski, The Spiritual Technology of Ancient Egypt, p. 125 and the Schwarz Reflection Principle) 

 


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