“Judge not, that ye not be judged.” Matthew 7-1.
Organized religions clearly demonstrate the weapon/peace antinomy. Every preacher, priest, rabbi, mullah, imam, ulam, monk, etc., exposes to our observation the practical outcome of that cleric’s belief. Religious hierarchies shelter a few peace mentors: the early originators like Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed; and their lovers, today’s marginalized mystics. They also shelter many weapon mentors: secondary organizers like Paul, Augustine and the Caliphs; and their followers among today’s religious bureaucrats.
The modern Catholic Church is a mix of “introverts” who a prefer tradition, stateliness and generally messing with peoples’ lives to their chagrin; and “extroverts” who favor love, forgiveness and grace in the spirit of St. Francis. Answer me this, since I’m an introvert through and through: since when do introverts mess with other people’s lives against their will? Now sociopaths, yes indeed…
Regardless of the nature of their religious creed, peace mentors hope that heroic love, justice, truth and peace will triumph in time under the watchful gaze of a loving God. They feel sympathy for highly principled advocates of these hopes regardless of their ideological and theological differences.
Weapon mentors use religion (and other cultural memes) to set themselves apart and justify their brutality. They fight – often to the death of innocents entrusted to their care – even though they and their declared enemies may share the same creed and symbols. They reject the common bonds of Learning, which rejection fosters the conflict they crave
Let me repeat this because it is so important. Psychopaths, regardless of their religious affiliation, make use of faith to justify their homicidal tendencies; they abuse the faith of non-psychopaths to multiply their toll of destruction and casualties (stretching from volunteer combatants to suicide bombers).
The political systems and ideologies of today are byproducts of blind human faith: the bastard offspring of prior weapon religions. They illustrate the weapon/peace antinomy quite nicely. Just substitute the verbiage of ancient beliefs with more recent ideological jargon and observe the same contradictions unfold as weapon and peace mentors cohere and break up like oil and water. Note how the weapon/peace antinomy is left carefully unexamined and therefore intact.
For weapon technicians like us, religion is a group obligation rooted in social obedience. It is ceremonial, objective, conformist, reductive, repeatable, stolid, recognizable and rational. Madness is loathsome to it. Orthodox religions follow a well-worn script easily memorized and analyzed. They strive to overwrite theby imposing their own dogma, myths, and prejudices.
Only a handful of long-dead prophets may have experienced sacred wonder. The rest of us, the unelect, must settle for mandatory religious formations and nothing more. The more complete our submission to this pointless nonsense, the better as far as traditional religions are concerned.
Weapon managers rip off the richest, most captivating religious symbols — before which everyone must kowtow. More often than not, these revered symbols and stories formed part of a prior religion now banished and forgotten. Religious hierarchs reject the sacred in and of itself. Any real-world manifestation of it is dreadful to them because it evades their control and exposes them as fancy dress clowns.
Ceremonial religionists tend to be compulsive, censorious, time-bound, historical, archival in their secrecy, absolutist, simplistic, formulaic, linear, rigid, menacing and humorless. They emphasize form, structure and mode of transmission. “Our medium is the message.”
To the primal consciousness, everything is sacred. Its rituals and ceremonies merely serve to enhance sacred wonder, that which any clear-minded witness may glimpse in day- or night-time dreaming. Sacred worship is rooted in self-awareness. It is an individual gift: subjective, irreproducible, passionate, intimate, dramatic, chaotic, adaptive, situational, transcendent, dream-driven and drug accelerated. It verges on insanity: a narrow birth canal into the sacred set aside for a select, tormented few (shamans). It is often conveyed wordlessly through music and dance as practiced by the Sufi, American Indians, some Africans and others; plus sensory and extrasensory clues. In general, sacred religions are obsessive, creative, naturalistic, timeless, cumulative, magical, pragmatic, anecdotal, spontaneous, holistic and playful — sometimes to the point of hurtfulness. If possible, they strive to tap into the collective superconscience but not to over-write it.
As far as its practitioners are concerned, who would dare impose such constraints on the limitless Sacred — except lifelong regimented religionists? Unlike them, primal seekers emphasize content, meaning and outcomes. “The Message is.”
Human faith has endured crushing entropy at the hands of faithless sociopaths in charge of our systems of faith. It has degenerated from a state of reverence and awe shared by everyone, into a traffic jam of baroque inventions interchangeably ridiculous: each one relentlessly incompatible, exclusionary and compulsory. The only justifications that remain for today’s mass religions are the weapon technologies they’ve spawned to safeguard their vacuity.
Each new weapon dogma tries to outdo its prior competitors in cruelty, arbitrariness and harm. It is deaf to its own hypocrisy and immunized from improvement. Its practitioners’ habits of anti-thought, gross simplification and rote repetition may be passively neutral or actively vicious depending on the prevalence of ignorance and misery under their sway. Those zealots merit contempt, disbelief, ridicule and pity in direct proportion to their fervor, numbers, political clout and firepower. Any religion that condones mass violence automatically invalidates itself and its gullible adherents.
In truth, mass religions blunt our awareness of the sacred. They can stifle sacred wonder and turn a majority against God but not replace them. No wonder so many people have stopped believing in anything any longer until total misery or death draw them nearer to God! Religions operate on the assumption they can only flourish in the state of misery and ignorance they foster among their believers, and wouldn’t do as well in the midst of knowledge and abundance they reject as ungodly.
The best religious rituals and formulae would amplify our unique perception of the sacred without doing it further harm. We quest for this sense of wonder, this remembrance of things past from which we have exiled our souls. What we really crave is an ancient wisdom more profound than the latest, merely ceremonial dogma; its complement that would fructify and validate it in ways nothing else could.
In the meantime, we should be free to witness to our God or not, wear and display our religious symbols or not, neither be forbidden nor required to do so as long as it were done with reverence in private settings, with respect for the beliefs of others in public and always calmly, without menace. This could only happen without resentment on PeaceWorld where every manifestation of peace religion would be sacred and the worldly ones would no longer hold sway.