Rational Religion

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Feng shui, and Other Imponderables.


Feng Shui, at first inspection, would seem to be just another bit of Eastern superstition, more charming than practical.  However, I would not venture to say that feng shui doesn't work; for several reasons.


First, there is ample evidence that the placement, juxtaposition and orientation of physical objects can interfere profoundly with subtle physical phenomena.  Anyone who has tried to deploy a small aerial for radio or television reception has had concrete (or at least auditory) proof of that phenomenon. 


More obviously, not necessarily more simplistically, whole additional sections of the electromagnetic spectrum are blocked, screened, attenuated or, occasionally, amplified by walls, roofs, bodies of water and the atmosphere of the Earth, itself. 


So there is ample precedent for the principles of feng shui, at least by analogy. 


Furthermore, a great number of people in the world believe in feng shui.  I hope we have already established that belief in anything can produce functional reality; not necessarily always through the mechanisms outlined in the belief, but - for the purposes of the believer - with indistinguishable results.


Then there is the undeniable effect of aesthetics upon the human nervous system. 


As I understand it, feng shui seeks to create balance.  Any good interior decorator tries to do the same thing.   As a matter of fact, a professional decorator who professes to believe in feng shui might be a logical phenomenon.


The placement of objects in a room, the orientation of the room to the various angles of the sun, can soothe or jar the spirit of the room's occupants... all without recourse to superstition or occult "vibrations."


So although I do not believe in feng shui, any more than I believe in praying to a metaphysical deity, or planning my life according to a horoscope, I would not presume to think that these beliefs do not work.


Since I admit the efficacy of metaphysical beliefs, why don't I just shut up and let live?


Because metaphysical beliefs won't do the same. 


Believers tend to meddle, far beyond the scope of their belief. 


They pass laws which affect people they have no business affecting.  They restrict rights which do not belong to them.  They maintain "community climates" which benefit them to the detriment of other citizens in the community.  (Well over two-thirds of the world's human females are second-class citizens - or worse - in their own communities.  The justifications for keeping them so are overwhelmingly Metaphysical.)


They do these things in the name of truth and righteousness, which is a distortion of Truth and Righteousness.


I have already stated, elsewhere, that I believe organized religion to be one of the most divisive and corrupting influences in human society; second, perhaps, to the drive for power and domination; equally corrosive, arguably, with the in-group/out-group instinct which we have brought with us from our rock-chipping ancestry and which gives rise to racism and ethnic cleansing. 


Religion is equally dangerous with these admittedly less-admirable traits of our "nature," because it is so readily available as a tool and an excuse for practitioners of both of them.  


And it threatens to be even more of a peril because it most commonly refuses to admit that it can be a part  -- often a very large part -- of the problem. 


As any 12-stepper knows, denial is the first and most intractable enemy. 


There are, of course, Persons of Good Will in any of the major religions.  They must often ignore some important tenets of their faith in order to demonstrate their good will ecumenically.


This leads me to conclude that Persons of Good Will exist in the species independent of, possibly in spite of, the metaphysical beliefs they profess. 


The Belief, of course, will happily take credit for creating these paragons, even as it forces them to negotiate an obstacle course of dogma in order to remain in their state of grace. 


I think they probably inherit it along with the color of their eyes.  Good people may be both born and made, but I suspect it's easier to make them if they are born with a genetic head start.