Sunday, 17 March 2013

The True Nature of Things

All the problems we experience today (I am tempted to say in any field) have but a single cause, a cause absolutely fundamental but rarely recognized. One whose discovery would start to put right all wrongs, and, if properly acted upon, would liberate the human race from the prison in which it is currently confined without, for the most part, even being aware that it is in prison.

I refer to a profound ignorance of what we are. If we knew what we were then we would know what we should be, and if we knew where we came from, we would also know where we should be going. But because we don’t acknowledge our true nature we are unable to find solutions to our problems. We never shall find those solutions until we understand the real cause of the problems.

For anyone growing up in the modern world there are really only two choices when it comes to an understanding as to what a human being might actually be, and neither of them are satisfactory. Either we subscribe to an increasingly outdated religion, which is usually a matter of believing what we are told to believe, or else we adopt the prevailing materialist ethos. In fact, this ethos is so powerful, in that its tenets are mostly assumed without question by the common culture, that it has affected religion to a large degree, weakening its already diminished power and leaving it looking like an archaic superstition, fit only for the naïve and the gullible.

I don’t mean to attack religion here because, for all its flaws, it does at least preserve something of the truth, albeit in a form that is quite inadequate for the modern world. I lament the fact that most people growing up in the (what was once) Christian world have little or no idea of the religion of their forebears. They are indoctrinated with the atheistic worldview that sees humanity as evolving out of the animal kingdom and still no more than an intelligent ape. They uncritically accept that idea and inevitably it moulds their approach to life and their behavior as well. I rejected the Christianity I grew up with as a belief system but I’d be an ungrateful fool not to recognize how much I learnt from it or to acknowledge the great debt I owe it. I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from other religions too. We can certainly gain enormously by peeling off the outer skin of the old faiths and detaching the sacred revelation that lies at their core from the manmade elements that have obscured that over the centuries. But still, when all is said and done, for it to be a viable path, a religion needs to engage our whole being. This the traditional religions can no longer do for most people.

We moderns believe we have discovered the truth about ourselves, that we came from dust and to dust we shall return and that’s all there is to it. The ancients, who recognised that God breathed life into that dust, and that we are part animal and part angel, were wiser. They may not have had as developed an understanding of the physical world as we do (and nothing I write here should be taken as a rejection of the achievements of science), but they were immeasurably more knowledgeable about what mattered for they accepted their true source. They knew they were the children of God and that children grow up to be adults. Perhaps only a few of them knew that fully but all of them had it as the backdrop to their lives, and it will have informed their attitude to everything.

The modern worldview is based almost entirely on the scientific understanding. It is therefore based on a falsehood. Science, as it stands today, is the denial of God. Now, that is not to say that a sacred science cannot exist. It has existed in the past and, God willing, will do so again one day. Nor does it mean that there are no individual scientists who would subscribe to a spiritual view of life. But science as an intellectual discipline and mindset sees this world as self-existent, without a source beyond itself, and it denies the possibility of a faculty higher than reason. It has cleared away much of the ignorance of the past but it has replaced that with a still greater ignorance, the ignorance of what we are.

We are spiritual beings. Our source is the Divine Intelligence that created the universe as a field in which to express love and joy and beauty. These things are at the foundation of our being and we can never be content until we rediscover that simple but extraordinary truth. So let’s waste no more time in pursuing the transitory pleasures of a spiritually empty existence. Let's dare to believe.

I apologise for the polemical nature of this piece but when the building is on fire you need to sound the alarm.


Paul Hillman said...

A clarion call! There are a lot of people who should rally to this. Many of the more aggressive atheists are more fundamentalist than their religious counterparts in the literalist interpretation of world scriptures.The word soulless, when applied to so much of modern life, is so very appropriate.

William Wildblood said...

You're absolutely right, Paul. It's a puzzle why people should actually want there to be no such thing as spiritual truth but so many seem to. Dissatisfaction with contemporary religion is one thing but to actively reject the spiritual as passionately as some do is another matter. Perhaps atheists should examine the motives for their atheism. Could it be a hatred of the idea that there is something greater than themselves? Do they think they'll have to sacrifice their freedom? Of course, they will but only to gain a far greater freedom.

Paul Hillman said...

Many churches seem to have done their best to remove the spiritual, the mysterious and the mystical from their teachings. What is left is unlikely to appeal to many. The living spark has gone.i noted last week that there are now atheist churches ( honestly!) where people gather to celebrate the Beaty of life, nature and humanity. It could be said that this offers a greater spiritual experience than many acts of worship that I have experienced. Not that I have experienced that many.

Paul Hillman said...

I don't think that atheists are worried about losing freedom they appear to be angry that there is no definitive , scientific proof for the divine and to be taking it out on those for whom there is a spiritual dimension. Mr Hitchens is a little milder than he was but he used to be so angry and so exercised by people' s belief in the divine dimension , although he only took on soft , literalist targets and got unreasonably angry with them, making him look rather unpleasant, in comparison.

William Wildblood said...

Too often churches have tried to fit God to Man instead of vice versa. That's because they have no inner contact with the truth behind their doctrines. Atheists do the same thing in a different way when they demand proof of God's existence and try to encompass what is beyond the mind with the mind. Spiritual truth is not irrational but it is supra-rational.
All this is because both the churches and the atheists mistake form for substance and don't know what a human being is. We are not the outer man or woman made up of mind, emotions and physical body. We are the spiritual consciousness or soul that underlies that and which speaks to us through imagination and conscience.
As for atheist churches, when people lose touch with the divine they come up with all kinds of substitutes to fill the hole in their hearts but none of these will be any good because none have of them have a basis in reality.