Written on Nov 08, 2010 By Dan O'Connor

Religion is mostly about crowd control-Part Three

High Expectations
Fifteen years ago I returned to college to get an engineering degree. I was whining at my chemistry professor about the difficulty of the course. He patiently listened while I laid out my case.

He waited a couple of seconds before he said. “Dan, we cannot make engineers out of everybody. If you cannot learn what we already know and then add to it-Quit. We will be fine without you.” He then turned and left.

WHAT?
How about a “Do your best”or “You get A for effort” or even “At least you gave it your all”

Do it or not Dan-We will be fine without you.
I suspect becoming an advanced life form is more difficult than chemistry.

Back to our model

Earlier, in this post, I said we are going to make some assumptions so as to not get bogged down in useless and never ending debate.
Remember-Isaac Newton accepted that gravity existed as a force but made no effect to define it?

Good thing too. It is now some 300 years later and we still don’t really know what gravity is all about. He ignored this 800 pound gorilla in the room and went on to create the basis for all of modern science.  Smart move don’t ya think.

We also talked about building a working life model.  It is no more absolutely correct than the Greek and Roman Mythos. Hopefully though it is farther up the ladder just as the electron cloud model is farther up the ladder than the Bohr’s model of the atom.

So some of our basic assumptions are that:

1) Man has a soul

An undefined part of each human that can survive beyond physical death.

2) A soul allows us to connect with the larger whole of existence.

This connection is not automatic and must be developed and nurtured like any other skill.
All of us have biceps but they will atrophy without regular exercise.
Nobody can play the violin well without regular study and practice.

3) Modern Humans acquired this soul about 50,000 years ago

For more on this see Welcome to Soulbuilders.
The how and why of it is a mystery.
I have even written a story about how it could have happened.
But it is mythology the same as the Greek gods and the Judeo-Christian story of Adam and Eve.
However it happened we became creators.
Most importantly we developed imagination.
Our entire existence hinges on our imagination.
With it we can become transcendent

Or

We can snuff ourselves out for all eternity-Our choice.

And finally

4) Religion has hijacked the idea of a soul for behavior modification purposes.
But, within religion or any journey taken with mindfulness there lies within the tools for Soulbuilding.
It is totally up to you how to use the tools available.
The barbell on the floor does not transform your bicep.

These are all basic assumptions that could be endlessly debated.
But to what end? I love a good debate. It is a verbal fencing match that can be both exhilarating and informative.
There is much to be learned from discussing these ideas. But can they be definitively answered and will the discussion help form our model.

Not really.
So, like Newton we will take these assumptions as facts and build on them. As more information becomes available we will update and modify our model.

And

This is my model. It fits the available information that I have and makes sense to me. It forms a basis for my life and gives me a framework to help make sense of the Chaos of Life that surrounds us.
I share this with you so you also can maybe take note of the life that surrounds you and think out of the box a bit.

I have no intention of creating more dogma. There is already more than enough to go around.

So what are the benefits of building our soul?

You remember-Reward and punishment-Right.

The immediate benefit is the advancement of all humanity.

What??? Little ole me?

Yep, not so little ole you.

All advancements have come about because of the imagination and creativity of individuals and groups of individuals.
A stronger connection to the energy of life feeds imagination and creativity.

Imagination and creativity are the basis of who we are.

More long term?

Read assumption Number 1 again.

Do you really think (from Part Two)

If we do:

Acknowledge one supreme God
Pay homage to him once a week
Give our due to our parents

And we don’t:
Lust after our neighbors property and wife
Take his cows
Have sex with his wife when ours is not looking
Lie to them(wife and neighbor) when they ask about it (cows and sex)
Kill them when they get really annoying.

That we will spend all eternity in absolute bliss and happiness?

If so

What the hell are you thinking?????
(Uh oh-another black mark)

Anything worthwhile is gained by study, practice and diligence. Why would moving to a higher plain of existence be any different?

The twin concepts of heaven and hell are simplified constructs that play to our reward and punishment motivations.
They are no different than the promise of toys for all good little boys and girls from Santa Claus.
When Santa Claus was no longer real for me I was not sad. I was proud that I had moved into the big peoples world and was privy to a secret only they knew. Good behavior was no less important than before-I just didn’t need the promise/threat that the idea of Santa Claus embodied.

Time to move beyond Heaven and Hell.


Religion is a complex issue

But by and large it has done much to advance the cause of the human race. For every crackpot zealot, there are millions of people doing their best to follow the spirit of their faith. Striving to make life better for themselves and those around them. They live their faith daily giving more than they take and enriching all that they touch.

A society without compassion and cooperation implodes on itself. If each individual takes more than he gives soon there is nothing left to take.

Everyone dies

But if each of us strive to give more than we take-even just a little.

Everyone lives

You can be either Predator or Shepherd.

Choose!

So what’s my beef with religion?

I was livid! How could he? It was all the reasons I stayed away summed up in that one phrase uttered by the minister on the pulpit.

“None of you deserve God’s love.”

It was the same constant message.

“You are not worthy”.
“You are just a lowly sinner”.
“Only God can save you from eternal damnation”.
“You Are Nothing!!!!!!!”

My beef with religion is limits. Limits on us as human beings and limits on what God may be. In the end there where too many things I could not accept and still call myself  religious.

The Minister on the pulpit was almost right however.

None of us have to deserve God’s love.
Call it what you will God’s love, God’s grace, Enlightenment, Chi, Prana, Cosmic Energy, The Force, Life.

It is available to all without judgment. It is simply there. Like electricity waiting to illuminate the dark.

You do however, have to know how to turn on the switch.

A story for  another time.

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