In seeking truth I have interviewed different religious converts from various religions and I always found a familiar sequence of events. They would all proclaim that their lives were saved by the religion they were now a part of and then they would give a story about their previous “dark days”. Further, they would proclaim that their faith was validated by their internal change.
I quickly realized that humans long for change and it wasn’t the religion that changed these people, it was themselves. The religion they converted to or in many cases became stronger advocates of were usually a result of either environmental context, or situation context. These people knew their lives were terrible and they wanted to change, religion was just their excuse.
I wish I could say that convert from religion X was better than religious Y but the cold hard reality is that strong believers in every religion talk with the same gleam in their eye as any other convert. It is impossible to be both spiritually objective and religiously objective.
It might sound as if I am patronizing religious converts or that it is unfair of me to speak of “faith” in such a way. However, the unchecked faith and gleam in the eye has lead to literally the death of millions in religious wars based on the fallacious idea that if you 100% believe in something than your truth must be the right truth.
In the Bible there is not a single reference to the rejection of slavery. At that time in history slavery was just a normal part of life. As our civilization matured we realized that slavery lead to all kinds of abuses of humanity and that we could rise above it. The modern problem is the fact that religions are increasingly having less answers on not just the universe but also on moral issues. Usually what happens is that the truth becomes so blindingly obvious that the various religions will either adapt or die off.
A good example is cloning, the various issues regarding it are not discussed anywhere in religious texts. Our relationship with how industry should relate to nature is also not discussed in religion. When talking about the modern problem an example I like to use is leprosy. During the time of Jesus leprosy was a pretty big issue, and Jesus could apparently heal it. Today, we can cure leprosy without any type of divine intervention. What we once would of considered a miracle is just business as usual today. Another major issue religion might face in the next 200 years is the end of aging; something else that will have deep philosophical and moral implications.
Standard religious views have changed with time such as the idea that the earth is the center of the universe. The fact that we were not the center of the universe had deep philosophical implications because it would seem to imply that when we were “created” God didn’t give us any preferential treatment, a staple belief of the selfish human. Today of course, the issue is rarely discussed.
One of the last standing vestiges of religious “theory” is of course creation. Despite the tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence for evolution, the fact that macro evolution cannot be produced in the lab yet is the last string of hope for people who require a creation myth story. If we can produce macro evolution in the lab and or show the creation of some more complex proteins in the primordial soup, smarter and younger generations will not buy into any creation myths. Of course religions will adapt, the creation myth will become a metaphorical story instead of a literal one and people requiring religion will use a combination of tactics including pseudo logic to justify their beliefs.
“You would not get angry at a record player for not being able to play a CD.”
Unlike many critics however, I see religion as a catalyst for scientific progression. This might sound completely absurd, but let me explain. Religion in many ways has forced science to go above and beyond to prove points. Without religion there would be very little value in aggressively trying to show macro evolution in the lab. Further, I believe religion had a very small part in pushing scientists to find other means of acquiring stem cells for research.
For many religious adherents, there is a point of no return. It is a point when there beliefs are so integrated into their personalities that no amount of data will change their minds short of methods we have yet to realize as a society. A good metaphor would be a record player trying to play a CD, at a certain point new data becomes incompatible with previous modes of thought. This isn’t a characteristic restricted only to religion, it happens in science as well. Keep in mind, that we don’t necessarily want a record player to play a CD because the record player acts as a historical reference.
As Architects of order we do not limit ourselves because of change, however, this cannot be reasonably extended to the rest of the human population. Only so much effort should be exerted in an attempt to gain compatibility of thought because ultimately characters with archaic forms of perception will die. There is a separate issue of perception transference from parents to children, but the modern problem will resolve the majority of that issue. It might be easy to get angry at these people who do not seem to grasp certain modern concepts but anger and hate is not only frivolous, it is irrational. You would not get angry at a record player for not being able to play a CD. In the same way an architect should not get angry at a religious adherent for being incapable of accepting certain lines of modern thought.
One of the easiest ways that we as architects can shape the best possible future for ourselves is to figure out the things that indirectly kill people. Whether we like it or not every action we do could potentially kill someone. How responsible we are for death is linked to how many “hops” there are to an event. If you do an action which causes a series of 15 connected events that leads to someone dying, you can’t really be held responsible. You also can’t be held responsible if you’re not really aware that what you’re doing is killing people. If you are aware that an action is killing someone, you are responsible.
Recently there has been a lot of commotion over gay marriage, particularly in the states. On one side of the issue you will have Christians who recite scripture saying and believing that this issue can lead to the downfall of civilization. On the other side of the issue you have people requesting equality. Generally I would not waste my time talking about civil issues because I believe most civil issues get resolved democratically. That said, I believe this is a special case scenario that can be utilized to show how lack of moral objectivity can lead to the death of humans.
So the church by not supporting homosexual marriage is by proxy not supporting homosexual monogamy and therefore is contributing to death by proliferating HIV.
A core concept in Christianity is the idea of monogamy. Monogamy has actual biological benefits that extend far beyond simple religious ideals. Monogamy decreases STDs, birth rates, and also contributes to having a proper framework in place for raising children. Monogamous relationships are by no means exclusive to Christianity but Christianity plays a role in supporting monogamy. From a general Christian perspective there is little difference between a homosexual who is monogamous and a homosexual that is promiscuous. So if you happen to be a homosexual looking for religious guidance you will quickly discover that if you cannot repress your homosexuality, you will be considered purely evil. What I mean by this is that to a lot of conservative Christians you will have no redeeming characteristics until you “free” yourself of homosexuality. This is hypocritical of course because Christian don’t do this with other types of sins, homosexuality is treated like leprosy.
A certain percentage of these homosexuals will be compelled to become promiscuous because a large group of people indirectly tell them it doesn’t matter. This promiscuity leads to all kinds of terrible things including the proliferation of HIV. So the church by not supporting homosexual marriage is by proxy not supporting homosexual monogamy and therefore is contributing to death by proliferating HIV. This is not the first time the Church has taken actions that contribute to the death of humans. The Catholic church has refused to send condoms to Africa before believing that doing so is promoting premarital sex but completely ignoring the fact that many Africans are not Catholic. In this way the Catholic church attempts to push their ideological views on other humans by allowing them to die.
I want to make it perfectly clear that I think homosexuals are perfectly capable of monogamy without any religious intervention. However, the reality is that humans draw strength from social groups and can also be devastated by social groups that reject them. If homosexuals were allowed to be both married and part of the church they would have a support group that they might not otherwise have and this in turn would contribute to better humans behavior such as monogamy.
While I am picking on the Church, this same idea can be applied to anything that needs moral direction. Humanity is the most important thing humans have. If we give up humanity for perceived morality, it is not actual morality.
Whether you believe Jesus was a prophet, messiah, or a myth he remains one of the most influential characters to date in the human race. As a brand Jesus has influenced every form of media. Jesus is one of the most obvious architects I could think of but I had difficulty actually figuring out what his primary characteristic was. Each religion has a fundamentally different view of Jesus and this made it difficult to evaluate, but after deep though I discovered that the trait that made Jesus, Jesus was his direct opposition to existing norms by means of supporting rational morality.
In Christian theology Jesus is the messiah who opposed what is called the old covenant or the 613 mitzvah (rules). In Islam, Jesus was a prophet who foresaw that the future messiah was not Jewish. In both these cases Jesus was a messenger who opposed current existing religious thought. His opposition to stagnation and non progressive thoughts, as a side effect, made Jesus a marketing genius. Unfortunately the very essence of what Jesus stood for is all but forgotten by every modern Jesus based religion. Jesus’s common sense approach to morality has been traded in by all modern religions for rule of text. During Jesus’s time being holy consisted of how you groomed yourself, what you ate, and even what you wore. Jesus justified the only true basic tenet of all morality, loving your neighbor, and this made him incredibly popular.
This very simple truth apparently was not enough because almost all the religions that were based on him engaged in bloody warfare at some point. Christianty vs Islam, Catholic vs Protestant; it would almost be comedic if it wasn’t horrifyingly sad. If Jesus was real, and was a prophet, when he said “forgive them for they know not what they do” he was surely talking about us in the future. He despised what we would consider Bible thumpers today, following rules for rule’s sake instead of being rational. Nothing was more evident of this when he stopped the stoning of the harlot by saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
All religious theology and miracles aside, the core concept of Jesus I agree with. We must oppose anything that is not rational and that hinders the progress of the human race. Following rules simply because we think they justify some divine entity does not benefit us. Human progress should come first and above any text that any human claims to be a divine rule book that we must follow.
Suffering is responsible for every accomplishment, happiness, and transcendent experience imaginable. The suffering of boredom, lack of success, or lack of quality of life drives us to do the things we do. Almost every spiritual system that currently exists revolves around reducing suffering. We are constantly trying to reconcile the fact that our entire reality is shaped by suffering but at the same time try to avoid it as much as possible. Our success at life really revolves around our pain tolerance for life in general. The lower our tolerance for suffering the greater our drive will be to try to escape it.
We don’t usually think in these terms, instead suffering is considered wholly evil. The world tells you that if you’re not happy there is something wrong with you and you should get the problem “fixed” through any means possible. This is not to say I don’t believe that people can have true biological sicknesses that can make them depressed but mental illness doesn’t seem to be declining. The people that manage to break free of restraint though monetary gain will often times become like fish out of water flopping around on a deck hopping from one religion to another. The others who have freedom but don’t do spiritual or religious jumping jacks instead achieve by creating a new level of personal suffering for themselves that they can beat.
Spiritual leaders of old have mislead the world. What they either don’t know or hide from the world is that suffering can be as addictive as joy. People will plunge themselves into suffering because they are drawn to it. People in perfect relationships will destroy them. People with empires will burn them to the ground. When these things happen we dismiss them, call them crazy, and then move on. Teens will often test the waters of suffering which will make them act in ways that seem completely irrational to their unfortunate parents. Since we have classified suffering as evil, people who are drawn to suffering will often times consider themselves evil and may incorrectly feel the need to do evil acts.
What we must understand is that the reason people are drawn to suffering is not because they are insane but instead it is because their lives have lost purpose and it is only through suffering that they can regain purpose. How deep they go into their personal suffering is really how far they are from their objective. We have created systems that monopolize on this in the form of religion. Humans will constantly plunge themselves into suffering drugs, violence, and criminal acts where they will then get to a breaking point where they will become “seekers”. Once they are in seeker mode the first religion to get to them with the most community support will usually be the religion they convert to. The religion will then, of course, take credit for changing that person’s life when in reality they changed their own life through self-inflicted personal suffering.
Suffering is necessary for progress but what is not helpful is when people are destructive and pull us backwards. The idea of constructive suffering needs to be explored and we need to give people the opportunity to suffer in a way that will not permanently damage them or society. We must embrace the fact that people pursuing suffering are seeking purpose and not simply dismiss them or get them to go on drugs.
There was a flower and it was the most beautiful flower on the planet, just looking at it could put you into euphoria. There was two groups, one that was obsessed with keeping it from harm and another group who believed it should be destroyed because the flower also created the most dangerous poison in the world. Both equally justified, the two sides engaged in a bloody war. As the blood flowed it caused the flowers to begin spreading even more, the pro flower supporters took this as a sign. The pro flower supporters used the new volume of flowers to poison the water supplies of those who were against the flower. This further supported those who were against the flower and believed the flower only brought death. The anti flower supporters began to kill even more of the pro flower supporters which lead to even more flowers growing. As the last human stumbled through a field full of the flowers, bleeding to death, she came to the realization that the flower had not killed anyone, it was humans.
The war between Israel and Gaza brings up some valuable issues for the entire human race. The primary issue for me of the war is not about who is right, wrong, political, or religious issues. These issues we have always had wars about. The most important issue is about how we define good or how we justify actions. In the movies when a villain is holding a hostage the hero will always do something like shoot the gun out of their hand or steadily aim and take out the villain without harming the innocent. This is how we believe it should be and it makes us feel good.
Real life isn’t so clean and there will always be split second decisions that have to be made that could cost the lives of the innocent. There seems to be a tendency to get caught up too much in reality and lose our focus on Elolight. There is only one word to describe innocent death and that is tragedy; it’s not a necessary evil or an accident. We all die and there will always be more humans but that does not mean there will always be ascension or evolution. There will always be people who will want to believe people, property, or ideas are holy. There is absolutely only one thing in the universe that is truly divine, and truly holy – our desire to ascend. How we believe we should ascend may vary greatly from person to person but the idea that we can is the only perfect thing in the universe because any possible perfection will derive from our need for it.
The slope from justification to regression is a steep one. We have brutal examples of this such as Stalin killing millions believing that the ends justify the means. We have all done it, it is easier to justify things then to confront them. Religion is in the business of justification, everything must be justified. Whether it is the promise of heaven for good deeds or the fear of hell, we like to justify our actions. The problem with justification is that it is almost never for the good of human race but instead it is for the good of ourselves.
One of the biggest revelations I have ever had in life was that I was capable of being wrong. Not only can I be wrong, I can even be wrong about things I am sure about. Many of us might say that we could recognize when we are wrong or change our minds if we are proven wrong, but the reality is, most of us can’t.
In most cases we define our universe almost entirely by our personal experiences and this is highly dangerous. A series of unfortunate events can lead to you becoming bigoted. If we are slighted by a member of a minority, for instance, on more then one occasion we might shape our entire universe in a different way based on these experiences.
We are vicious about defending our experiences and the opinions we generate from them. We are so aggressive about it, that we will often surround ourselves in people that agree with us just so that we can believe we are right. It’s much easier, and satisfying, to surround ourselves with people that agree with us. We would rather ramble on for hours on end in agreement, not accomplishing anything, then to create purposeful friction which benefits not only ourselves but the entire race as a whole. The examples of this behavior are plentiful; the biggest being religion and politics. Outside of religion and politics you have major and minor social groups that conform to certain ideas or philosophies.
Hitler had some bad experiences with some Jewish people and decided it would be better if they didn’t exist. Ayn Rand witnessed the effects of extreme socialism and decided that the complete opposite has to be the answer. Karl Marx witnessed the distress of the proletariat and decided the only way to make everyone happier was through a complete abolishing of free enterprise. It’s very common for us to be hyperbolic. When something doesn’t work many of us assume the opposite is the answer and we rarely stop to think about the center.
What is at stake is everything. Without compromise, objectivity, introspection, and debate there can be no progress. Elolight will slip away from us.
Humanity has become a species of self evolution. Everything from our technology to our religions have evolved with us. The evolution of Judaism to Christianity could be perceived as a progressive evolutionary step in religion from a belief system that had laws on diets, slavery, and stoning to a more progressive belief system that did not need those rules or laws. One of the underlying concepts of all religions is the idea of a prophet, a person that has a radical or new idea that can change the minds of people. However, prophets don’t necessarily only express religious ideas but ideas on the universe as a whole.
Who was the first person to truly express the idea that the world was round or that electricity could be utilized to our benefit? When all the right variables fall into place a person will emerge that can fundamentally change the world. However, people rarely stop and think about if prophets can emerge in other species and I believe they can.
Imagine a group of monkeys who have never utilized tools before. If for whatever reason one of those monkeys decided to use a stick to get food, that monkey could be considered to be a prophet among its species. Now when we look at that we might think it is silly or endearing, however, to those monkeys it is a massive revelation. It is as big a revelation to them as us discovering the earth is not the center of the universe.
This line of thinking has some profound and possibly interesting implications. Under what circumstances do prophets emerge? If you’re spiritual, you could choose to believe that from the very first single cell organism to where we are at today, prophets have pushed us to the next level. The real question is, what major revelations will future prophets provide?