I guess I’ll share these thoughts here too, but I’m not sure how well it will go over. I originally posted this on my MySpace Blog. Mind you, they are just thoughts and nothing more:
I wasn’t going to write on this today, but it seems to me that some religious groups are definitely cult like.
Take my mother and my aunt’s extremist views, for example:
I called to check on my aunt last night to see how she was doing and how the memorial service went for my step cousin, who committed suicide not long ago. I seriously believe their behaviour contributed to his death, besides his medical issues.
The preacher once again preached on the “Path to Salvation” and my aunt goes on and on as to how they reached the non-religious. It was all ridiculous, in my opinion, and when I told her the Episcopal Church, without telling her I don’t attend anymore, doesn’t teach that, she asked how to you tell people how they can be saved. They don’t. They talk about love, Christ’s love, and alike depending on the point of view they come from, if they discuss it at all.
She could not accept that point of view or how it turns people off to impose her beliefs on others. I offered her a list of books written by Episcopalians, such as Robert Price and John Shelby Spong, who come very close to my own beliefs. I may lay some where in between, even so, she said, “I don’t want to read them. I want to say friends.”
Does this mean if she knew that I was a Humanist and what those views entailed, she would turn her back on me? Does this mean I would not be family anymore in her view? Does it mean, in her view, I would not be the “good little girl” she views me to be?
So, much for an opening to my own views and I didn’t really expect her to even get past the first chapters of those books, especially once she read that Price is an atheist and a Humanist and Spong is a non-theist and humanistic.
However, I know how that last, “the good little girl” bit, can make a person sick as they try to overlook their own values and beliefs in favour of approval. This is not a healthy condition and one has to be themselves or they do become literally sick. I know this from experience and it took years of therapy to overcome such a pleasing attitude to everyone. The only person you can please is yourself, in order to stay a healthy individual, autonomous from others.
A friend told me not to expect my relatives to grant me my independence from their views. Adding that I have to seize it for myself, because it is my life and she is right. I love her for her great words of wisdom and to me, it doesn’t matter what she labels herself. I really don’t care, although we share the same views. We don’t always agree, but that’s alright and that’s the way any relationship should be- on the internet or off the internet.
There are many more words of wisdom I can draw on in this case, even the Gnostic view of the crucifixion, which basically goes like this: All of us are that being. We are all divine and divine power is in us all. What the god incarnate represents is our own very being. In that sense we are all Christ crucified. That being is our own very life and is inhibited through our own limitations. We are the redeemed redeemers. He is what you are trying to discover in yourself. Each individual is the incarnation. The highest manifestation of this is you the individual.
Joseph Campbell describes this view well and thanks to Abraxas, I have part of Campbell’s speech on that on my MySpace page.
How does all of this remind me of the Gnostic view point? Humans, especially the religious, are always finding ways to crucify each other every day. However, to be “a god in the making” as some Gnostics put it, we have to overcome this, strive to be better than that, and realize that we are the only ones who have control over what we do and how we live our lives.
This Gnostic view sounds very humanistic and it is certainly one view I can accept even if there is a religious connotation to it. The thing is, the interpretation of religious texts is totally different and focuses on the human and sees the metaphoric meaning in it all- not literal and I find this definition to be truer than any other I have heard.
It precisely expresses the human condition and what humans do to each other as well as a means to overcome it all. Why can’t we all be gods in the making? It makes sense to me, especially if you think about how much control as to how we react to others who do us harm or are just plain cruel, especially in the name of religion.
Can a Humanist be a Gnostic too? I don’t know, but it is a view I can appreciate and it does have its origins with the Greeks too, just as Humanism does. I don’t see them as being in opposition to each other and in my honest opinion, if Price can be a Humanist and still have a love for the Bible; I think I can appreciate the Gnostic view point and apply those thoughts to my own life… Even as a Humanist.
However, my relatives, as well as other Fundamental Evangelical’s behaviours, I find disturbing and it makes me sad that my relatives would turn their backs on a family member all because of religious differences. It is one of the religious extremists’ cruelties to other human beings and they seem to miss the fact that even the mythological Jesus character associated with others who had their own views on how to live their lives. It is a good example of how they metaphorically crucify the anointed one (Christ) every day and don’t even realize it nor would admit it if someone pointed it out to them, for they do not believe any of us is “gods in the making”, as Abraxas puts it in his podcasts. To them, we are not god, but if you think about it, we are gods of our own lives and have control over our lives, not some external Zeus sitting above the clouds judging people and ready to throw lightening bolts at us if we do not meet his approval.
I’ll leave you all with this thought, something that comes to my mind when dogmatic Christians try to impose their beliefs on me:
When an emissary from Zeus came and said, “Just say you’re sorry and he’ll let you go.”
Prometheus said, “I care less than nothing for Zeus. Let him do what he likes. I am not going to renege on the human system of values.”