Sunday, June 20, 2010

Religion and Spirituality

Today I attended a high mass in Melbourne. I will freely confess that I love the whole thing, incense, bells, choir, chant and the atmosphere of a great Cathedral. I have blogged elsewhere on what we can learn about Architecture from the great Cathedrals. That is not the purpose of this blog.

Here I intend to explore a few more personal thoughts on what it means to be human and to undertake the human journey. Call it mid life crisis if you will. I hope that it is actually a little more than that. I have been on this journey for nine years now, and at no time have I felt the "self" that is me so completely shattered as it is now. Does that mean I am suffering from some sort of psychosis. I don't think so (but perhaps that is for others to judge ;-) ).

What it means is that I have undergone a very difficult journey of transformation which has traversed much of what it means to be human.

So this blog will capture some of those thoughts - the EcoThought blog will remain focussed on what EcoThought is about - this blog will capture something of my personal thoughts.

So in the Mass this morning I pondered what this thing called religion means to us today. What are we to do with belief, and the Church and the ritual? Are we to throw it all away in a welter of scientific rationalism? Science has, for many, become something that is defended with the same stubborn zeal as any religious zealot. In order to verify their position the scientific community finds it necessary to dismiss the entire human spiritual experience. If it can't be measured or subject to experimentation then it must not exist - or so they would assert. I will freely state that I am astonished at the depths that people like Richard Hawkins will go to deny the existence of any spiritual element of the human experience. The zeal of his assertions closely approximate those of individuals who would go to any lengths to assert the absolute rightness of their position and the absolute idiocy of anyone who would dare to believe otherwise.

Rather, I think, we need to accept that there is part of the human condition which is beyond measurement, beyond analysis. Who can listen to Bach and not sense that there is a higher potential in all of us that we can aspire to. Who can look on the beauty of a coral reef and watch a Manta swim by and not feel a sense of awe that we live here, and alongside the awe, a sense of guilt at the damage we have done to this environment with our scientifically developed tools and chemicals.

Likewise, for individuals sensitive and open to the experience, within the High Mass there is something that calls to a higher aspiration in all of us.

The Archbishop posed the question - what is Jesus to us individually? I wonder. I think that, perhaps, in seeking a defence against the scientific position, elements of the Christian world have invested large amounts of resources to try and find the historical Jesus. And in so doing they have lost the core of the Jesus message. My personal view is that within the Jesus story is something that speaks to the human condition, the experience of what it means to be human.

Somewhere between the Jesus story and the story of the Buddha is the place where we can accept who we are and that, as human as we are, there is a wonder to the life that we live. The very fact that we can think about the fact that we think is a wonder to me. As a man thinketh..... Words of great truth....

So in this blog I will put forward my sense of wonder at being human and what it means to stand aside from the daily world and all of the myths that the advertising community use to rob us of individuality, and to think about the human journey and the human condition.

I doubt any one is really interested in what I think, but at least for those who work closely with me, there will be the chance to gain some understanding of why I say what I do sometimes.... ;-)

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