Sunday, October 14, 2012

Brian’s Reflection: Monday, October 15,2012

After coming into contact with a religious man
I always feel I must wash my hands.

Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher, theologian;
He was born on this day, 1844, at Röcken, Saxony, Germany

Have you ever read anything by the Canadian writer Louise Penny? Do! I think most of you will love her writing. She writes “murder mysteries” … but that’s just the “pretext”. What she writes about is the complex business of human brings and our foibles and our avoidance of the truth and our inner confusions. I think you’d really get into her books. When I awake in the middle of the night, I know the goddess of murder mystery has awakened me to turn on my iPad and continue reading!

If you are a Christian, you might remember Pontius Pilate washing his hands before sentencing Jesus to death. Absolving himself of responsibility. Having to deal with the politics of his position. This points to the difference between faith/belief and the constructed systems in which we participate which guide us on the path of faith/belief. Christianity is about Love and about the divine nature in each of us. Judaism is about relationship with the God of Covenant, and about Justice. Buddhism is about Compassion. Taoism is about experienced Wisdom. Islam is about the revelation of the Prophet. But then there’s the Church, and the Synagogue, and the Sangha, and the Mosque, and the various cultural and political communities in which these faiths exist. And there’s the “problem”. Human Beings and human institutions.

Revolutions have erupted when the gap between faith and “religion” grows too great. Blessedly, we are at such a point right now … I hope.

“Religion” … those rules and regulations and rituals devised by religionists …  is a human creation. And the construction of religion is always subject to human fear, longing for power, sin (failure of love), greed, venality, pride, self-hatred, ignorance … out of which come exclusion, intolerance, arrogance, contempt. All of which lead to division and to a denial and abandonment of most of the core principles taught by the Founders.

Today, in the light of Neitzsche’s comment, I’m pondering whether I am a faithful servant of “God” … of the core sublime goal of being a human being, or of “religion” … of the temptations to make an idol of Religion. I’m driven even more into such a meditation by an ordained pastor who attends our church and who announced that, after reading Neitzsche, that he would no longer have anything to do with “organized religion”. I’ve walked that road the last few years. I’m sympathetic … especially in the light of the right-wing fundamentalist Christianity and other religion that is so prevalent in American society these days.

I feel like Neitzsche these days. Feeling soiled with so much of religion.

I think it’s a godly, sacred, life-giving thing to feel.


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