Sunday, March 08, 2009

religion vs. human freedom

We all live in separate realities locked in our own bodies and mind, reason and imagination. Conceptions of God, religion and human spirituality or there lack of differ amongst each person. This inherent difference in the human condition will always create a barrier to true unity amongst peoples of different backgrounds, belief systems, ethnicities, religions and also because we exist as separate individuals, who for but the temporary illusion of community or relationship, will ultimately live our lives out in our own separate universes. Social groups, usually groups of people, who value at least some degree of conformity of idea and behaviour often create the illusion of “unity” when in fact it is a collective based in a commonality of idea and behaviour and not a true union.

Unity only occurs when if first there is an individual to come together with another individual, two separate beings entering into a state of inter-dependence. Dependence is the opposite state. Dependence is what is most commonly referred to as “unity” in our culture but is nothing other than an illusory state of “dependence.” Dependence is common in abusive relationships in which two people who are supposed to love one another take advantage of and hurt each other yet due to the fear of aloneness and the ensuing pain inherent in being independent, continue to rationalize the abuse and usually remain in a state of dependence.

In biblical mythology, Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden or Innocence, or Grace because they chose to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or self-awareness. This first choice was the basis of their “fall from grace” but paradoxically the stepping stone to their independence from God. This story is also analogous to the natural movement of a child from the womb of the mother and how that which was once dependent becomes independent from it’s creator. The road to independence is long and hard but it is only by creating this separation from the creator that we can truly know what in fact we are sacrificing for this unity with the other which we all long for so deeply.

There is no going back to the Garden. The Creator has shooed us out and sent us on our way without mittens or a lunch. With our fellow creatures we stumble down the dark paths of life and try to find a way to make a living. Some run back to the Garden in fear, pounding on the gate only to find an angel with “a flaming sword” acting as the disagreeable bouncer. Other creatures, claim they bear “gifts” from the Creator and if we only give them some of our spoils they will “show us the way to the Creator” and to a life of everlasting happiness. Others take what pride and courage they can and keep moving on in hopes of finding some kind of ultimate rest and peace but huddling together to keep warm helping one another if we have the strength.

Dear old God has been hard on his creation. Knowing full well of our shortcomings and fragilities he cast us out because he was angry that we did not heed complete and utter obedience to him. He doesn’t seem to be sure if his love is unconditional or not for, ironically, if we don’t pledge allegiance to him, we are damned to hell.

There is no going back to the Garden of innocence because the movement to independence is rooted in choosing beyond our Creator’s demands. The labour placed upon us (Genesis 3:17-19) was necessary for us to grow up. Now we pay our own bills and the drama of our emotionally tyrannical father is behind us. Now, creature must help creature, brother must help sister, lover must help lover and we can do it. We have earned the right to labour for our spoils and celebrate our harvest. We have shelter because we have built it and when we come home at night we can take the phone off the hook. If our Creator wants us, he can leave a message. The creature will get back to him when he has a free moment.


Square Corner said...

Makes me think. Makes me think a lot. When I hear stories from a holy book it turns me into a staunch atheist. When I think of the universe in its infinite mystery I have this unalterable belief in God. I guess this vacillation of absolutes makes me just another guy schlepping along on the path of life. As Steven Wright once quipped: "It's a small world, but I still wouldn't want to paint it."

Thanks for the post. You paint a vivid picture.

Ollie said...

"Honk if you're Jesus"

Anonymous said...

This is depressing.

Anonymous said...

You know what's depressing? Anonymous comments.

from Donald Perkins