Religion means many things to many people. To some, it means a deep faith in the words written in ancient books, or supposedly spoken by ancient persons of supposedly great wisdom. To others, it means faith in the words of gurus who live in this day and age, but draw their authority from ancient texts or bodies of knowledge. To many, religion represents the formula for living a Perfect Life in some sense.
There are many, many meanings to Religion. So one can easily go wrong by generalizing.
Nonetheless, let me generalize in order to make a point here: Broadly speaking, religion is a body of thought that focuses on an ideal that is represented by God, and is driven by the feeling that the world SHOULD conform to this ideal. Accordingly, their religion is full of laws that are essentially Dos & Don’ts which are handed down to them from “God”, a holy book or some “sacred” authority.
Let me call this perception of religion the RELIGION OF SHOULD.
My religion isn’t about following Shoulds & Should Nots, Dos & Don’ts. My religion is about discovering What Is & What Isn’t. It is about discovering the nature of Reality. Let me call it the RELIGION OF IS.
The crucial difference?
To follow the Religion of Should, you focus on obeying Sacred Laws of God, which are handed down to you.
Whereas, to pursue the Religion of Is, you focus on exploring in order to discover the Sacred Laws of Nature.
From the standpoint of the followers of the Religion of Should, we who walk the path of the Is seem like violators and sinners.
However, from our viewpoint — the constantly-moving standpoint of those devoted to discovering what is and what isn’t, what works and what doesn’t – the followers of Should seem to be devoted to an imaginary God who stagnated in the past and ceased to think after he formulated his sacred laws.
I for one believe in a God that doesn’t rest — not for one solitary moment. I believe in a God who is constantly searching, finding and searching again for what is good and whole in his world, a God who is constantly sifting grain from chaff even in His own Mind. To understand His laws and His Ways, you cannot allow yourself to come to rest in a set of beliefs. You can only believe in the sacred act of questioning, doubting, seeking, exploring and delighting in discovery.
The believers of Should live in terror of violating a static Law that is so sacred that their eternal soul shall be damned.
I believe that the laws of God are like the Laws of Physics. You can’t defy the Law of Gravity, for instance; so why worry? You can only discover the Law of Gravity, like Newton did.
You can only discover the Law of Displacement of Fluids, and, like Archimedes is said to have done, jump out of your bathtub and run naked through the streets of your town shouting “Eureka!”
No violations possible there, except in the nakedness-in-public part.
Is this religion? I say it is.
And as always, I eagerly await your thoughts on the matter.