Rational Religion

Contact the author:
tuppennyprofet - at - aol - dot - com
(translate into a real email address)


So, Where Do You Start?


If you're going to make sense of this set of essays, you are going to have to understand the origin of the universe.


I'm not talking about any cosmological event which may be agreed upon or argued about by astrophysicists.   That's way outside the scope of our investigation at the moment.


I mean the Universe as you individually understand or conceive of it:  Which means the individual universe which is yours, alone; as constructed in your consciousness.


This universe begins somewhere in the depths of your central nervous system and extends as far in every direction as you can fling your imagination!  


But, paradoxically, its physical reality is confined inside your skin.


Because, like all of your cognitive efforts, it is made up of electrochemical impulses which are organized in ways peculiar to you, this means that only with the greatest difficulty will you ever be able to communicate your concept of the Universe with any other creature, sentient or not.


For instance, you may firmly believe that the previous six paragraphs are nonsense; that God has endowed you with an aware immortal soul which organizes all of your electrochemical impulses (if you even believe that those exist) and puts them in intimate contact with the overarching reality of God, itself, as the creator and steward of a universe which is dependably very much like everyone else's.


Some deep, probing conversations with other members of your congregation (who can be assumed to think very much as you do about most important matters) may wobble your conviction about the universality of universes. 


(Actually, in most situations and settings very little enlightenment will result from such exercises.  However far apart the conversationalists begin, the dominant personality will tend to browbeat -- subtly or crudely -- the less assertive mind into accepting his or her interpretations.  With relief!  Wobbled convictions are not comfortable, especially to minds which are not accustomed to dealing with them.)


Nothing at all will happen if you converse only in the code words and formulaic cant that your system of belief uses to transmit its dogma.  If you are a certain kind of thinker; i.e., not a thinker at all but a sort of organic copy machine which cannot entertain any ideas which have not been put into it by some external authority; you are not going to be able to understand what I am talking about from the get-go.


This is not necessarily a failing on your part, but an inadequacy in your training and education, for which you are largely not responsible, since the most egregious of it occurred when your consciousness was too new and ill-formed to protect itself from the blunt assaults of indoctrination.


If you are convinced that your training was right, and you don't want to entertain any other possibilities, you had better stop reading right here. (Note:  This is your second warning!)


If you are sufficiently intrigued by a new idea (not really new---I've stolen it from a myriad of available sources) that you are willing to expose your consciousness to it...


This is how it works:


It's all a story that you have made up, piece by piece, to locate and define yourself within a physical environment and a human society which are simply too huge, diverse and contradictory to deal with any other way.


You can live in this world only by ignoring most of it.


It is what you choose to ignore which determines how you will live your life; or if you will live, at all.