Only Domesticated Religion Can Work With Democracy

September 5, 2011

Religion promises a rewarding relationship with some supreme reality. Neither naturalism nor democracy does that.

Only religion hijacks one's cognitive centers. Having committed to religious promises, people feel certain about the spiritual rewards. Religious people love that certainty and they detest doubt about their commitment, whether that doubt be internal or coming from other people. That is why religious people have gone to any lengths to silence or banish (or worse) any dissenters, heretics, or atheists. Religions are intrinsically totalitarian -- given the opportunity, they will erect governments demanding conformity to religious edicts.

Many religious people would deny such statements. They would protest, claiming that they feel plenty smart for being so religious, that they don't need to feel so certain about their religion, that they have no problem tolerating dissent, that they would never approve religious government, and that their religion is the friendliest and most pleasant worldview around. 

What those people have is "domesticated" religion -- a kind of religion that could only exist under civilized, scientific, and democratic conditions. Here is how you can tell that you are dealing with believers in a domesticated religion:

1. Believers who describe their religious views as their "beliefs" -- implicitly admitting the psychological reality that people can't have certain knowledge. Yet they stay religious by wielding their “beliefs” with excessive confidence that their "belief" is at least as worthy as any other "belief" out there.

2. Believers who justify their religious views as "very good for them" -- implicitly using the humanist standard that people deserve worldviews that benefit them. Yet they stay religious by self-righteously assuming that their religion is best for everyone.

3. Believers who defend their religious views as "my right" -- implicitly applying the democratic principle that people can't be forced to surrender their conscience. Yet they stay religious by frequently complaining when their religion can't get even more rights.

Domesticated religion exists only because some believers admit that their brains don't have any supernatural powers to know things that others cannot, and they admit that they are better off with a democratic and secular government that does not favor religion.

For its part, democracy stands because the people understand how they are smarter united than when they are divided by faith or creed. Democracy stands because the people grasp how compromise is necessary sometimes -- even compromise over one's deepest commitments. Democracy survives only where religion has been domesticated, and democracy is strengthened the more religious commitment devolves into fidelity to the humanistic ethos. 

Yes, many religious people have little clue how their religion would destroy democracy if it could. Perhaps we should keep them in the dark. Perhaps we should make sure that domesticated religion stays committed to democracy and to secular government. Wild religions flourish in our midst. Too many faithful stay convinced that they have supernatural cognitive powers, they know the one true religion best for all, and they’ve got a righteous recipe for the perfect government to rule over everyone. If domesticated religion gets too friendly with the wild religion still inhabiting these lands, democracy is doomed.

Comments:

#1 Spacetime (Guest) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 at 8:19am

The fifth gospel of Thomas was written in India.

It has not been included in the Bible, it was not available to
Constantine, who was compiling, and who was deciding what was to be included and what was not to be included.

It was because of Constantine that all these ideas, mythologies, and fictions have been added to the life of Jesus.

Thomas, is the disciple closest to Jesus.

Jesus sent Thomas to south India.

But his sayings are not included in the Bible, because the real Jesus and his closest disciples have to be excluded – they are too dangerous.

JESUS SAID: IF THOSE WHO LEAD YOU SAY TO YOU, ‘SEE, THE KINGDOM IS IN HEAVEN,’ THEN THE BIRDS OF HEAVEN WILL PRECEDE YOU.

IF THEY SAY TO YOU, ‘IT IS IN THE SEA,’ THEN THE FISH WILL PRECEDE YOU.

BUT THE KINGDOM IS WITHIN YOU AND IT IS WITHOUT YOU.

IF YOU WILL KNOW YOURSELVES, THEN YOU WILL BE KNOWN AND YOU WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE SONS OF THE LIVING FATHER.

BUT IF YOU DO NOT KNOW YOURSELVES, THEN YOU ARE IN POVERTY AND YOU ARE POVERTY.

The kingdom of God has been preached as if it is always somewhere else: in time, in space, but always somewhere else – not here and now.

Why has this happened?

Why is the kingdom of God not here and now?

Why in the future, or why somewhere else?

It is because of the human mind.

It is not anywhere else, it is exactly where you are this moment.

You have completely missed Jesus, because your mind goes on interpreting.

What have you interpreted?

A master is not a man who teaches you, a master is a man who awakens you.

A master is not a man who has some information to give to you, a master is a man who is going to give you a glimpse into your own being.

You can only change yourself, and the moment you are changed the world starts changing, because you are a vital part in it.

Self-knowledge happens only to a wordless mind – not knowledge that you gather through the mind, but knowledge that you come to possess when you encounter yourself.

Self-knowledge is a transforming force, nothing else is to be done.

The moment you know, change occurs.

Knowledge itself is transforming; it is not that first you know and then you do something to change.

Knowledge is not a method, it is not a means; knowledge is the end in itself.

Accept life as it is, and be thankful for it as it is; have a deep gratitude – that’s what makes a religious man.

And once you accept the whole, you become whole.

All divisions disappear, a deep silence ascends in you.

“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.

The idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously.

The most beautiful and most profound religious emotion that we can experience is the sensation of the mystical.

And this mysticality is the power of all true science.” Albert Einstein.

Modern physics, in the hands of Albert Einstein, has turned almost into mysticism.

Nobody has noted the fact, because mystics don’t understand modern physics and the physicists do not care about the mystics.

The mystics have always experienced that they are one, but nobody has listened to them.

Perhaps man was not mature enough to understand the depth of their declaration.

The mystics have simply expressed the oneness of all.

Physicists go into detail.

Albert Einstein, especially, was the first scientist to come to the conclusion that time is the fourth dimension of matter.

Matter has three dimensions, the fourth dimension is invisible and that is time, but it is not separate from matter.

Modern physics has declared – without declaring the death of matter – that there is no matter at all.

With the disappearance of matter and with the death of God, only one energy remains in the whole cosmos.

Now time and space cannot be two.

They have to be expressions of one energy.

Spacetime.

But the mind can succeed only as far as science is concerned, it cannot succeed in religious consciousness.

One has to understand that the methodology that works for the outer cannot work for the inner.

Simply because the inner is the opposite dimension, the same methods will not be applicable.

You will have to find new methodology for the inner.

And that is meditation.

The mind cannot understand that which is beyond words; it can understand only that which is linguistically, logically right.

It can only conceive very limited things.

It has no intelligence of its own; it is a memory system.

You feed it certain information, it will keep it on record.

Whenever you want, it will supply it.

An intelligent man’s mind is capable of containing all the information that is in all the libraries of the world – it is almost infinite.

But mind is simply a collection of memories of the past, and – out of those memories – imagination about the future.

Understanding this whole process, one thing becomes certain: why the mind avoids the present, which is the real, and why it tries to get involved with past and future, which are not real.

God is a need for the mind, because the mind cannot conceive infinite, eternal things.

God simply is not there.

A man of meditation knows there is no God other than life itself.

God is simply the poverty of human consciousness.

God exists because you are not aware of yourself.

The moment you know yourself, there is no God and there is no need of any God.

When I say there is no God, I am not saying that I disbelieve in God; even for disbelief, God has to be.

I am simply saying there is no God, has never been – all definitions are inventions.

When you come to reality there is no negativity, no positivity.

So there is no question of atheism or theism.

The whole world of polarities is transcended.

But the mind cannot conceive how contradictions can meet, how polarities can be one.

Yet in existence they are meeting, they are one.

Reality is herenow.

Osho – The Mustard Seed:
Commentaries on the Fifth Gospel of Thomas.
The God Conspiracy.
The Transmission Of The Lamp.

#2 gray1 on Friday September 09, 2011 at 10:31am

Gee, can I also do a lengthy double spaced dissertation?  I think the term for that is “hijacking a thread”.  But right now I can at least agree with the article’s closing statement providing that it is limited to “democracy is doomed”.  Argue with that if you can.

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