The truly spiritual person is better for the world than the non-spiritual; that is to say, for example, that a spiritual athiest is better than a non-spiritual Christian, or Jew, or Muslim–for him or herself and for the world. The spiritual can see truth more readily, whether it is in science, or in the Divine, or in the law, or in nature, or in Zen or theism, for that matter.
The spiritual can be righteous. The non-spiritual cannot. This will perturb the non-spiritual scientist, the non-spiritual Christian, Jew, and Muslim–the non-spiritual Buddhist and the Athiest… because they aren’t spiritual, either, and because they mistake the meaning of the word. It will especially perturb the non-spiritual Athiest, because he rails against spirituality.
John Lennon was right: “God is a concept…”, but that does not mean God is not real; rather (and I add) it is the definitions of God that are unreal; God is a manlike form to many Christians; God is formless to Jews and Muslims (I could rather agree with that). Christians were thrown by the ‘in His image’ bit. But God is a concept proven by the fact that everyone is touched by God, either by disagreeing with it or believing in Him, or believing in it… or not.
And God is a concept because in each religion describing God and/or giving God voice, He or She is interpreted different ways–and evolves, too.
The Hebrew god was probably the Canaanite god. That became a part of a trinity in Western Christianity. Before that, Jesus was a man who became God, a god who became man, and so on. The Muslims had a mysticism that was pagan, before Muhammad Abdullah showed up, like the people who became the “Jews”. Then, each of these religions split into denominations–all describing God differently.
The Japanese have Shonto gods (or spirits, really) in all of nature. The Koreans had Dangun and a She-bear, and as thwir Confucian Chinese neighbors, qorship thwir parents and ancestors–as do other Asian nations. The American Natives have Mother Earth, The Greeks had gods in human likeness who like the Semite gods, right into the time of Abraham, mixed with humans. The Canaanites, Egyptians, Babylonians, American Indians, Europeans, and others had fertility or female gods. The Indians have many Hindu manifestations of one god. It’s all “higher power” and it’s all God. Even Buddhists, who have no god, adopted from the Hindus, Dharma and Karma, the governing “cause and Effect” law (or “God”) of the Universe. It is a force in human consciousness, and an aspect of the human condition to see a “mana” or spirit where we cannot explain, and even where we can.
Einstein steadfastly did not believe in a personal god, but spoke of “the mysterious.” Only the fundamentalist worries about this, and is thereby injured and injures by it. All that is important is the reverence, the inquisitiveness, the struggle, the humble nature in the face of it, and how it brings us together.
Fundamentalists are the only ones who truly do not understand God. This is because these people, these poor souls, in their effort to do good and in there mortal fear and self-limited minds, don’t know three things, and they cower in fear of them:
1. The encompassing simultaneity of Honesty and its concomitant, Courage;
The better one knows history and science, and the more one is honest, the more one sees, grows smarter, develops courage, and inspires confidence, love, intelligence, and freedom–all the things any good god wants for its people.
Spiritual people inherently build and embody these assets, or acquire them in earnest efforts to be righteous.
Unfortunately, the mentally challenged (and I don’t mean people formerly known as “retarded”, but simply those possesing cognitive barriers) and the imprisoned in ignorance by themselves or others, cannot escape the vulnerabilities that make them susceptible to fundamentalism.
In a sense, I digressed, but what I just said was important. Anyway, those who are spiritual can see God in the Dharma, Karma, El Shadai, Baal, Anat, Isis, Ishtar, Zoroaster, Zeus, Yahweh, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, Ghandi, Darwin, Marx, Einstein, Curie, Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh… in the Earth, the Moon, the stars, the galaxies, the atoms… in love.
Only the the poor fundamentalist wants to do the opposite of the spiritual Buddhist, Zennist, Christian, Muslim, Jew or scientist–even of the Athiest… recreating god in his image, blaspheming against the mysterious and attempting to own God, and use him as an omnipotent military general as Moses did with the early to-be Jews. The later Jews civilized their god. Jesus did so more. Today we can finish the job, because we are the authors of our interpretations of the Divine–in whatever form it comes to us. The Muslims have work to do, too, because their loving religion was hijacked, too–by fundamentalists. It also has violent punitive Deuteronom-ous and Livitican overtones, still in effect.
The important thing is the community of beings and things around the idea of the mystery inherent in all God’s manifestations–as one, and if you want to pray to that, listen to that, hear the wisdom in the words of that which your tradition crafted of that, then you are of the spirit. But where it describes violence, you must know this this is the work of ego, and not divinity. Where it describes Election of one group over another, this is vanity and exceptional ism that was needed in a desperate age gone by. Where it prescribes bondage or control, this is greed and fear. And dominance over creatures different is primitive and cruelty. These are proofs of the flaws if religion, not the Divine, the Dharma, the Mysterious, or even of us.
Take the “miracles” of corporeal existence and sentience and thank the mysterious, or God, but leave the ego out of it. Why else, do you think the Hebrew and Muslim Word left God nameless and image-less?
Copyright 2015 Mando (Carl Atteniese Jr.) All rights reserved.