Chapter 3.3 Religion

Religion

Before we get on with war, I really need to consider my thoughts about religion … what’s a war without some aspect of religion?

“There is not enough religion in the world to destroy the world’s religions.”
Friedrich Nietzche (1844-1900) German Philosopher

In my yoga class the other day (Slam-Klunk for all of the anti-eastern religion folks), my first in a long while, the teacher began the yoga process by using an eastern religious chant. This practice helps him to prepare his mind and body for a focused session. A friend of mine from my pilates class (S-K for all those anti-ab types) who also was in the yoga session, came up to me afterward and commented that she hoped I hadn’t been surprised by the chanting.  I told her that I was okay with it, but it does take you aback when you’re not expecting it.  She went on to say that the teacher is very spiritual, and of course she is too, she just believes in a different faith.  Now none of this was derogatory or righteous, but I began to noodle it a bit.

“My effort should never be to undermine another’s faith but to make him a better follower of his own faith.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)   Indian Philosopher

The key to me is that the guy is very spiritual.  How he (or anyone) gets there, is not important in my mind.  I think that it is much better that one is searching for spirituality than what process one uses to get there. The world would be better off if we could embrace all spiritual yearnings, methods that have worked for millions of people over thousands of years in hundreds of cultures.

Interestingly, as I have delved slightly into the history of the major religions of the world, it appears that most religions expanded originally by word of mouth. The early missionaries spread their beliefs and practices to others within their own culture, to those who spoke their own language.

“Men make gods in their own image; those of the Ethiopians are black and snub-nosed, those of the Thracians have blue ewes and red hair.”
Xenophanes (570 BC – 480 BC)   Greek Philosopher and Poet

So, how long were the religious teachings of the major religions passed on orally, before they were formally written down? Since writing didn’t exist before about 3000 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era which began in 0 A.D.), religions that originated before this time had to be passed along orally. The writing of the Hindu Vedas and Upanishads were scribed at least a 1000 years after the incarnations of Rama and Krishnu. The Old Testament, the foundation of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, was written around 1000 BC, centuries after Abraham and Moses. The Buddhist Tripitaka was written down 400 years after Gautama Buddha’s death. The point here is that a lot of time had past before most religions were documented in writing. And since then, they have been re-interpreted and translated many times, in many different eras.

Here’s my point. Our American Constitution was written 230 years ago.  Do we think that if we were just now deciding what the founding fathers had envisioned, and began writing it down from word-of-mouth, that we would get it down on paper the same?  Would it be altered from its original intent? The Judicial, Legislative, and the Executive branches of our governments today continue to re-interpret what the founding fathers actually wrote, to fit their current agendas.

“Just be thankful you’re not getting all of the government you’re paying for.”
Will Rogers (1879-1935)           American Humorist

So in other words, a good chance exists that through multiple translations, the original teachings of the major religions may have been lost or somewhat altered through time.

This is not an argument against the value of the traditional religions.  To so many people in the world, the commitment to their rituals and their sacred texts is an important part of their lives and their culture..  Religion provides people with a sanctuary of safety and stability, a place to sort out their thoughts and connect with their higher force.  Religion, more than any other institution, has defined right and wrong to the vast majority of the world.  But we must remember the essence of teachings and apply it. The world needs to walk the talk.

“Every religion emphasizes human improvement, love, respect for others, sharing other people’s suffering. On these lines every religion had more or less the same viewpoint and the same goal.”
The Dalai Lama   Leader of Tibetan Buddhists

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2 Responses to “Chapter 3.3 Religion”

  1. greencat3 Says:

    I agree. There are some beautiful lessons in all religions, and sometimes that gets lost when people feel like there religion is being threatened or they are being challenged about their beliefs. If people could get back to the basics of what their religion or beliefs are all about, it would solve a lot of world problems.

  2. alpinerainn Says:

    First…let me say that I love the way you write…with such humor (Slam-Klunk to the yoga and pilates dissenters!) Haha! Secondly, I wholeheartedly agree with the absurdity of thinking these ancient texts are precisely what happened or what the original authors intended. So much time has passed, with each generation altering and translating the texts based in large part on the agendas of the men in power at the time. I put much more value in the “experience” of God, rather than the (alleged) “word” of God.

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