Thursday, 9 April 2020

A myriad pathways to God

Lent 2020 - Day 44

Here we are then, building our own religion. "How shall we reach God?" we ask. There are as many answers as there are conscious beings within this Universe.

Looking at our religions - earthly constructs driven by a desire for Divinity - there are some shared elements that we should draw on. I would here set aside those aspects of religion which exist primarily to control societies (such as notions of sin, karma, dietary regulations etc). And aspects of dogma.

I am looking instead for shared and valued elements, such as the notion of God is good, that God is a destination for our consciousnesses (otherwise known as 'souls').

In a spirit of extreme ecumenism, I would posit that one should seek the highest common factor from across all religions. Looking for that which most humans, regardless of their religious background - or even those who were not brought up in any faith - would automatically recognise as being intrinsically good.

There are different ways of understanding; different orders in which one gains wisdom.

The road to enlightenment is not serial. It is not a Step One followed by a Step Two, with Step Three being unattainable without first having mastered Steps One and Two. No, the road is in parallel. Lessons learned, insights gained can come in a different order. Something I've only just learned you might have absorbed decades ago. And vice versa. There are so many different lessons, so many different routes just along our one short stage of the Eternal Journey, that rarely will two people be at the same level. Indeed - what is 'same level'?  I may not see eye to eye with you today, but in ten years time - who knows? Our views may have converged or diverged.

We should not therefore judge others' pathways - as long as they are sincerely seeking. Some paths have been taken because of myths and legends handed down to us. Some of the paths have been taken because of scientific curiosity. Some have been taken because of one subjective experience, others because of a more objective experience (a war survived, a disease beaten).

Yet there are those who are closed, who seek not, believing that the answers have been given to them, predigested, and that anyone who questions that are heretics, unbelievers - the damned, for whom there is no eternal reward. Similarly there are those who seek not, believing that the Universe is a preordained mechanism and that science has or will explain away everything.

Possibilianism is a a new notion, with roots in scientific, rather than theological thinking. I have mentioned neuroscientist David Eagleman's book Sum - Forty Tales from the Afterlives in the blog before. This is Mr Eagleman's view: "Our ignorance of the cosmos is too vast to commit to atheism, and yet we know too much to commit to a particular religion. A third position, agnosticism, is often an uninteresting stance in which a person simply questions whether his traditional religious story (say, a man with a beard on a cloud) is true or not true. But with Possibilianism I'm hoping to define a new position — one that emphasises the exploration of new, unconsidered possibilities. Possibilianism is comfortable holding multiple ideas in mind; it is not interested in committing to any particular story."

I agree about the multiple ideas; but there is, I would argue, a commitment to at least getting closer to an answer, even it's still a long way away from being the answer. Hence the need in my mind anyway for a countless series of conscious existences, each one being a tiny bit further along that road. (To me personally it's more than a need, above all, it is an experienced sensation of past lives, and something I want to make sense of.)

Multiple ideas, and multiple paths. We'll all get there in our own good time - providing we want to.

God in All, All in God. Whatever your faith, or whether you're seeking a faith, or in the process of building one.

This time last year:
No God for those who don't believe, a God for those that do

This time two years ago:
Work proceeding around Jeziorki

This time three years ago:
Karczunkowska reopens to traffic

This time eight years ago:
Goodness gracious!

This time eight years ago:

This time nine years ago:
Cycling and recycling

This time ten years ago:
Winter clings on to the forest

This time 11 years ago:
Toyota launches the iQ

This time 12 years ago:
Old school Łódź


Jacek Koba said...

As part of your exploration, Michael, you may be interested in reading this assessment of religion, in a time when the world has paused to take a breath, and the comments of the great British public:

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Jacek - many thanks - an interesting read. In my view it will lead to neither! More likely a broader interest in spiritual values coupled with greater environmental awareness.

Today, I did ASK the LORD for an Easter MIRACLE. The LORD replied unto me IMMEDIATELY. "There will be NO miracle. You folk dirty-up your planet, and until you TIDY IT UP, I shall shew NO mercy, NO respite." Thus spaketh the LORD.