Thursday, September 01, 2011

Point Of View

When beginning to discuss religion and it's role in American politics, we have to define our views on religion and how religion evolved into what it is in relationship to the development of our consciousness and how it is affected by the environment it evolved in. All major religions are the outgrowth of the developmental stages of human intelligence.  To begin, I would like to divide the concept of religious experience into two categories: 
Religions of hardship and religions of plenty.
Western religion is one of hardship of the harsh desert climate, Eastern religion is one of abundance of lush forests and valleys.

Take this painting Christ in the Desert (above) depicting Christ in the desert. It is clear that such an arid climate, where a day not looking for food or water is a risk for your life (see human life in deserts), will lead to a religion that is unforgiving. The western religions that developed in the middle eastern deserts, christianity, judaism and islam are tribal, harsh, dogmatic, inflexibly authoritarian. The dogma of each religion has been kept from the questioning intellects of the subjects. For centuries, the christian bible was not accessible to the common man. Either you obey or are damned.

Eastern religion developed in the land of plenty, so its religions are much less geared towards punishment. The Garden of Eden was a land of plenty, as depicted here in The Fall of Man by Lucas Cranach.

But, Eastern religions, like buddhism, are open ended, adaptable. The symbols represent concepts for transcendence. They are tools to give one the ability to focus the truth with in us all.  The image above, of the traditional Hindu god, Ganeesh has transcended the concept of Hindu ism. Ganeesh is everywhere through out the east in many forms. It isn't the deity, Ganeesh that is worshipped, it is the concept that Ganeesh represents. Ganeesh has managed to insunuate his happy vibe into the many forms of buddhism, throughout much of the world. Ganeesh becomes a focus of meditation, the ceremonies are a gateway into the inner mind. The vibe of Ganeesh becomes a way of channeling energy and thoughts in a very positive way. Positive thoughts and meditation translate into positive attitude and action. Meditation is more of a scientific, therapeutic technique for self exploration. Zen is a blissful experience of the concept of nothingness. In Western theology, eternity is the sword which is used to exact subjugation, in Eastern religion, eternity is a concept of release, ultimate freedom.
Repressive Puritanism or  Enlightened Zen? Is that a question? 

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