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Is Belief and Spirituality Essential?

Copyright , 1995, Javilk
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There was a comment on one of the religious forums, about the lack of religious belief and spirituality in today's world. Perhaps my reply might interest you.

Religious belief is not the essential ingredient in life today that it once seemed to be. In some ways, it really is a loss; but in many other ways, there seems to be considerable gain from this historically new separation of spiritual belief and everyday life. And perhaps in our own small ways ways we, you and I, can bring a better spirituality to this earth.

* * *

What is so nice about today, is we all have at least some understanding of technology -- that common systematic and objective understanding of the things and forces of this world, and how these may be RELIABLY combined and employed. Technology works regardless of your belief or perceived self worth! Think about about what that means.

It matters not whether you are black, white, or blue; Christian, Hindu, or Atheist; lottery winner, or horse race looser; the light switch will always turn on the lights for you. And if it does not, if something has gone wrong with the fuse or the power, so as long as you have paid your bill, you KNOW that it is not YOU! It is mere everyday technology, something you or most anyone can, with a little bit of persistence, trace down, understand, and often fix.

If the lights don't work, you know it is NOT some Evil Eye Curse put on you by your neighbor or acquaintance. Nor some dark unworthiness, nor some unintentionally offended mage, witch or sorcerer rendering your future a hopeless penury where all your efforts shall be for naught. (And so why even try...) Now, inspired by the example of technology, the same is held true for the more subjective arena of diseases. And so, that whole realm of curse and counter-curse, that ever so taxing war of vengeance for presumed vengeance, and that halting uncertain darkness of hate, loathing and fear, is gone from our society.

For once in millenia, the spiritual air is clear! The imagination conjures up no whispering curses where there are none. Our successes become our own gains; and our failures, no more than lessons along the long paths of the wise, as hope and persistence become habit.

And so, in the light of knowledge and self-responsibility, trust and confidence can grow till promise and contract, commitment and cooperation, can build the cities and workplaces, the homes and commerce, which we see as the hallmarks of our modern civilization.

Our clarity of belief in open knowledge and proven technology, in the reliability of scientific principle and engineering fact, has brought us out of the dark ages of ignorance, hate and vengeance; to age where we can trust others to write working spell-like invocations, invoke UNIX Daemons, and send etheric messages all over this World Wide Web of information.

* * *

We recreate, and should re-create, our inner system of belief and understanding as we learn and grow.

* * *

In the olden days, we had far more mystery in life than we do now. Now, we are far wiser in the ways of this earth than, say, a Grecian Priestess ever was. We have far better tools, both medicinal, psychological, meteorological, and the other branches of science and engineering. We know that many of the olden rituals worked only by chance, while fewer worked by the laws our Creator laid down when our Creator established this physical realm. (We now call those laws the laws of Physics, Chemistry, etc.)

As to rituals... We have them too.

There is The personal transporter ritual, wherein we insert the shiny metal key and turn it in the appropriate socket to awaken our hundred or so virtual horses that drag us wherever we wish, as long as they are fed the sacrificial dinosaurs they so demand. Then there is the distance talking ritual wherein we tap out the tones for permission to talk halfway across the country. Not to mention the far seeing ritual, to see what entertaining tales the stars are acting out tonight, or witness yet again their old antics.

The world has changed, some say, the easy paths tempt and ensnare the masses.

How true. Yet have they not always? Many of us, having watched the tales of our screen gods and goddesses, a bit too much I think, find their words and behaviors creep into our own repertoirs; much as the actions told of the old Gods and Goddesses crept into the actions of the ancients. We thought then in terms of what we had heard and seen; and we still do in that manner, when we let our minds flow without constraints of logic, reason, and experience.

Sometimes this is for the better, enabling us to leap across chasms in our knowledge and experience. Sometimes it is for the worst; but we still do it. Save that now, we have more scaffolding to help us bridge that gap between desire and reality.

Think, do we not ride some of the fastest chariots that ever were? Do we not fly through the skies like the Gods of Greece? Or even more important, bathe in warm waterfalls before retiring to a warm comfortable bed, even in the depths of winter?

* * *

WHAT IS MISSING, is not the worship, but as always, the doing. And too, many of those old tales were exemplars of behavior we should engage in. But today, our TV and movie stars engage in behavior which brings dissonance and teaches violence, rather than bringing healing and teaching harmony.

So often, our objects of adoration are not pro-harmony exemplars. Our tales do not quiet us, do not encourage the calm reflection upon the path that brought us here, nor upon the needs of the journey ahead. We think not about the breadth of this world, nor our own existence within it. And whereas in olden days, these tales were relatively rare, encouraging us to reflect and entertain ourselves with our own imagination and experimentation; we watch hours and hours of these anti-harmony, anti-reflectiveness tales every week. It is indeed a small wonder we so often see our world falling apart, our civilization as weak, and ourselves as flawed creatures.

Yet I must ask, is this entire world filled with war? Is our civilization weak and disintegrating? Are we so vain and bloodthirsty that we would steal food from our neighbors?

Do we not have doctors who will help us in times of illness? Have not our friends asked if they may help, when we are too ill to go to the grocery store? Have we not comforted our neighbors when they have suffered a loss? Or sought to help at the scene of an accident?

Do we not live twice as long as most in the times of Rome? Have we not hot showers, air conditioning in the summer and central heating in the winter? Not to mention indoor plumbing, covered sewers, and fresh vegetables year round? Did we have this open international playground we call the internet a mere ten years ago?

How can this be, if civilization is falling apart, if we are, by and large, said to be so vain as not to care about our fellow beings?

Our civilization is at a FAR higher level than it ever was! Yet our tales give us fear, teach us disrespect, make us believe the golden days are long past. If our own tales tell us to cease, to give up, to hang our heads in shame for our lack of perfection, then how can we ever win?

Yet have we not won? Have we not built a better world for the average person than that we had fifty, twenty, even ten years ago? And who built this world? Was it not you who worked to keep life working? Did you not buy your comforts and so pay others their livelihood? Have you not voiced your opinions via the genteel means of ballot?

Can we not then go on, building an even better world for tomorrow? Can you not help us in this endeavor?

Or must we all listen to the nay sayers, give up our jobs and the jobs of those whom we support with our purchases; and fight over what few caves there are in this world?

* * *

Create your own rituals of harmony, rituals of meditation and reflection. Learn to visualize harmony, then to increase it within and without your own lives. You have more power, and can reach more people, that the High Priests and Priestesses of old could ever dream of!

What so many of us lack, is the sense and WILL to use them. They are not on your TV Remote. (Then again, most of us in this forum don't watch that much TV anyway. Why do you think the TV stations want to get on the internet? They are beginning to recognize the loss in viewers.) They are in your hands and mind -- in your little every day actions of kindness and respect, of honesty and honor.

It is US, who create our own spiritual environment. What environment are we creating for ourselves? For our children? They will emulate the people around them. What kind of actions and pathways are we showing those around us? It is up to each of us, You and Me, to set our standards and hold to them, that we be examples for each other.

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