Saturday 27 April 2019

Spirituality and the World

When I first became interested in religion and spirituality some forty years ago, religion and spirituality were what I was interested in. That is to say, my focus was on the deeper truths behind the world and the world itself did not really matter much, not in itself. It could carry on as it wanted in a non-spiritual but, on its own terms, reasonable way. It was something that was there and I lived in it but I was not particularly concerned with what went on in it or how it went about its business. But that was then. Now the world has become not just not spiritual but positively anti-spiritual, and this means I have to pay attention.

Then the world was clearly rooted in the normal and everyday even if the seeds that are now almost fully sprouted were present in inchoate form. So, it may not have been spiritual but it was at least natural. However today not only have we lost the spiritual, we are in the process of losing the natural as well. Probably there is an inevitable downward trend once the basic truth of life, that it is a spiritual thing with a divine progenitor behind it, is no longer acknowledged. When we lose that basic truth, all the subsidiary ones that are effectively grounded in it start to go too. Consequently, while I used to think that a person who aspired to spiritual understanding could pursue his path and let the world go its merry way, I now see that there is no real separation between this world and higher ones. When we abandon all connection to the higher worlds this world is cut loose from its moorings and will drift away into ever greater darkness and illusion. It's just a matter of time.

This is why a spiritually orientated person in the modern era can no longer ignore what is taking place around him in the ordinary world. He must stand out against it and proclaim its falseness, and he must do this because otherwise one day all human beings will live in a world from which it is almost impossible to escape. The lie will be triumphant. It is one thing to seek the spiritual in a world which may be largely materialistic but still has the residue of a belief in God and the supernatural underlying it and conducts its affairs according to a reasonably sane agenda rooted in the natural order. There is still the opportunity to seek the true God from within such a world. It is quite another when even the natural order has been destroyed and spiritual values are not just ignored but actually inverted and turned against themselves. This is what is happening now and the speed at which it is happening is astonishing. Each generation is considerably more severed from reality than the last and will therefore find it harder to make its way back. We will always have Christ, and the Christ of the Gospels will always have the power to guide us to truth, but when the religious channels through which Christ is presented to us in the world are corrupted and a distorted image of him presented as the true one, the situation is a lot more complicated.

I have no doubt this is a demonic strategy. As long as human beings, even if materialistic, live according to natural ways they can relatively easily return to the spiritual. The way back has not been closed off because it is, in a way, just an extension and deepening of what you already are. But once nature itself has been rejected then the spiritual is very hard to attain. Oh, a false spiritual can be imagined but this is most likely to lead its advocates right into the jaws of the demons who will be waiting to welcome any hapless victims to their world. You think this is fanciful, even hysterical? Let me tell you that there is a supernatural world, even what you might think of as a spiritual (in that it is immaterial) world, beyond this one which is the home of the demons. That is where those who pursue a spirituality not grounded in the real transcendent risk ending up if they are not guided by humility, wisdom and genuine love. There is a false love, widespread today, which is based on not hurting people's feelings but this is not a spiritual thing and will not lead anyone to the true God.  For just as all that glitters is not gold so not everything that is called love is love. True spiritual love is known in the heart and, while directed towards all things as all things are manifestations of God, is principally directed towards those things in which God is most manifested. Which makes sense given that God is the ground of love so the nearer something is to him, the more love it will call forth. However, the modern version of love is largely theoretical, a head thing which is meant to be directed towards everything equally. Hence it is not love but an idea about it and, because separated from God, it is not even an accurate idea.

It seems that fewer and fewer people recognise the fact that we are losing all connection to reality. But if you don't see this it is because your spiritual compass, your inner sense of right and wrong, is not pointing due north. This not an intellectual thing but a moral one so it cannot be argued about. It's a fact that is there and seen or not seen. Unfortunately it is increasingly not seen as people identify the good and the bad in terms of how they are in relation to this world. Actually, they don't even do that though they might think of it in that way. For, in truth, the way we look at the world and ourselves is not just about augmenting worldly happiness and diminishing suffering. It is also about destroying even worldly excellence and reducing everything to the same level because of such unsavoury human sentiments as resentment, anger and hatred. But these are usually not acknowledged and often justified in highfalutin moral terms.

Sincere spiritual people can either turn their backs on the world completely and concentrate on their own salvation or else, while still seeking this as their primary objective (and it is, there is nothing selfish about it, it's our principal responsibility), try to present the case against progress. Of course, I mean apparent progress, progress according to a false vision of humanity. For that is what all this is about. In the not too distant past, the world may have been materialistic but it still organised itself according to natural principles and the connection between Heaven and Earth, while weak, still existed. No longer. That connection is being cut. I don't suppose it can ever be completely cut because the world would cease to exist but the link can become so attenuated that it might as well not be there. It is difficult to find one's way home when the road is being dug up and the signposts taken down. All those who recognise this have a duty to point it out.

Afternote: This might sound more pessimistic than I meant it to be.  The current situation certainly is bad but the fact of the matter is God is always there and he is reality whatever outer appearances might suggest. Besides, all this was prophesied as was the end of it. So we know that, however bad things may seem, the good cannot be defeated.

Monday 22 April 2019

A Visit to Church

I went to church yesterday morning, a Catholic church as, though I'm not Catholic, the rest of my family is. It was a communion service and the church was overflowing with people of all ages. There were flowers and incense, and the church itself, while not old, was built in a traditional style with some fine stained glass windows above the altar. The choir sang well and the priest seemed kind and friendly.

But there was absolutely no feeling of holiness or even, if that's expecting too much, reverence. Now, you might say this was because it was Easter Sunday and the church was full of people who, like me, only go on special occasions.  That was no doubt a factor but the problem goes much deeper. It is rooted in contemporary religion itself which is usually just an external thing. By that I don't mean believers don't believe but their belief does not affect them anywhere near deeply enough. Of course, this is not a new phenomenon but it does seem worse now. Religion, even where it exists, has just got shallower and more tailored to this world. 

Too often the substance of it is just believe in God and be nice to everyone. Otherwise, live your life just like everyone else, enjoying and valuing what everyone else does. There is no call to deep repentance and reorientation towards the real spiritual. There is no real understanding that rebirth in Christ actually means becoming a totally new, completely different kind of person. So it seems there is basically no fundamental difference between a religious person and a secular one, if the latter is more or less a decent law-abiding type. They both identify themselves with their worldly egos and see themselves in a similar way. One believes in some kind of idea of God and an afterlife and the other doesn't, but they do not really see the world in a different light.

All of which leads me to ask, what does it mean to believe? What is belief? Is it just intellectual assent to a particular proposition or is it something that must turn our life round completely and transform what we are, what we think and how we act? Should it affect every single aspect of our life and how we see ourselves and our purpose or should it leave these largely untouched?  Obviously, it's the former. It must not just be a mental thing. Belief in God must be all-consuming to the point that nothing else matters except how it appears in the light of that. I am going to say that even our relationships with those we love must be seen in the light of the reality of God. If that shocks you, well, Jesus said the same thing.

I'm sure these were all good people in the worldly sense, probably much friendlier and more charitable than me. And I know no man can judge the heart of another. I wasn't sitting there looking for things to feel superior about or criticise. I would rather not have thought what I did. But you cannot escape the fact that even of those people who think themselves religious or spiritual, many are only so superficially. Their focus is on this world and they see themselves as what they appear to be, physical beings, not spirits clothed in flesh come to this world for a brief duration to learn certain lessons before returning to their true home in heaven. This world is not our home and anyone who identifies with it and its goods is not truly a spiritual person, whatever their feelings. That seems a good Easter message to me. If it seems a little too close to Gnosticism for you then consider this. Do you see above in terms of below, spirit in terms of matter, or below in terms of above? If the former then, whatever your beliefs, however deep you might think your faith to be, you are a materialist. Just like many modern Christians.

Friday 19 April 2019


Human beings have abandoned spiritual/intuitive and natural/instinctive ways of thinking and fallen into what they believe to be rational, logical ways, but reason and logic as based on materialism (which is irrational but never mind). That is why such things as homosexuality, feminism and now transgenderism are not just accepted but actively promoted these days.

There can be no meeting between the two ways, spiritual and material, or people who perceive the world according to them. Each group has a different idea of what is good and what is bad, what is true and what is false, and the differences between them are fundamental in the most literal sense.

Given that the materialists are wrong (and they are; crudely put, can a conscious mind really come from a pile of rubble?), we have to ask why. Are they well-meaning but mistaken or is there something actually wrong with them?

As I know many ordinary people who are materialists, including in my own family, it's hard to say this but the only answer I can honestly come up with is, yes. There is something wrong with them. For the truth of God really is within us. It's usually in an undeveloped form, which is why there are primitive religions that are full of ignorance, and it does need cultivating and nourishing to become truly known. Nonetheless, all human beings are made in God's image and we do have that image as a living reality imprinted on our hearts.

 I used to think that there were bad people and spiritually weak people who just went with the flow. However, the fact is that, while there certainly are actively bad people and others who do just passively follow the zeitgeist, and there is, of course, a qualitative difference between them, "He who is not with me is against me." If the truth is in you, then you will see the truth. You can't help it. If it is not positively in you then it must be asked, why is it not? Given that God is in all of us, it can only be because you have suppressed the knowledge of God for your own egotistical ends. And then the difference between active evil and passive acquiescence to it is not so large.

Jesus the man was crucified at Golgotha 2,000 years ago but he rose from the dead three days later. Jesus the divine image is crucified in our hearts every day today. Whether he rises from that crucifixion or not is up to us.

Wednesday 17 April 2019


The world today is a hotbed of competing ideologies, the result of the tendency towards abstraction of the modern (over-) educated mind.  I wrote in a comment elsewhere that all ideologies are evil because they are attempts to impose thought on reality and reality comes before thought so should never be required to submit to it. This point also has a connection with the previous post so let me expand on it a bit here. 

Fundamentally, I hold that ideologies are both evil and violent which are obviously strong words, especially when used to apply to any ideology regardless of what it is. But I use them because I see ideologies as attempts by man to force reality into the straitjacket of thought as opposed to him living naturally and harmoniously with reality, conforming his being to that instead of expecting that to conform to him. This implies that anyone living according to an ideology is rejecting God and living dualistically meaning there is always a division between the person as what he is and his behaviour as what he does instead of the two being one. Hence it is always artificial.

Christianity is not an ideology in essence (though it can become one) because it is based on revelation of reality and love. Islam is an ideology since it is based on submission to authority.  It is also the product of one man's mind because even if, for the sake of argument, there was some revelation in the Koran, that is clearly deeply overlaid by the thought of Muhammad. Buddhism is not an ideology in essence because it is based on the experience of a man who had transcended the limitations of thought.  Hinduism is many things but at its heart in the Vedas there is direct insight, though this too has become overlaid by human opinion.

Thought separates man from God. Ideology is thought pursued to the limit. This is not to denigrate thought per se but to put it in its place and that place is as a builder not an architect. Thought is there to clothe instinct and intuition with form and help them to manifest in the world. It is not there to usurp their function of insight into reality, unconscious or conscious, and when it does the result is chaos and disorder. Thought as master places man outside creation and makes of him an exile from reality. Ideologies are all towers of Babel, man's attempts to dethrone God.

Monday 15 April 2019

Closed to the Transcendent

If we deny God there is no real meaning or purpose to life, and yet human beings need meaning and purpose. We all do, whatever we may say. Where does that desire come from? What could cause it if there was not something real behind it which something would have to be beyond this material world or we could reach complete fulfilment here. And we know we can't. There is no lasting happiness in this world, ever.  That is a basic fact known to all cultures throughout human history.

A sense of meaning is necessary for human beings if they are to be psychologically healthy and not fall into despair or hedonism (two sides of the same coin, I would say). Consequently, whenever there is a denial of the true source of meaning we find that people look elsewhere for it which goes some way towards explaining the extraordinary political and social movements of the day.  The transcendent has been closed to us, or we have closed ourselves to it, and this has led to the search for fulfilment in this world in all sorts of peculiar places. But we can never find fulfilment in this world. Even the most spiritually dull of us cannot do that for long, and we constantly have to stave off emptiness with entertainment and distraction, whether that be physical, emotional or intellectual.

Modern liberals seek to remake the world, which includes both society and human nature, into how they think it ought to be.  But what they think is based on a rejection of transcendent reality. They fail to see that nature is real and that corruption of nature is spiritual corruption precisely because nature is grounded in the transcendent order which is truth. Effectively, liberals deny truth because they mistakenly see the world as clay waiting to be shaped rather than something that has its own natural form.  They are materialists even if they believe in God or some form of spirituality because their primary commitment is to this world.

One of the ways we know that transcendence is real, and so know that this world is not the source of itself, is because we can see its manifestation in goodness, beauty and truth. And we can see the corruption of these things in sin, error, and ugliness. No doubt the reason the modern world, through its art and philosophy and in other ways too, has to deny the reality of sin, ugliness and evil (which it does, objectively speaking) is that it would be affirming the reality of God if it accepted them.  But the world now takes one of two equally false approaches to God. Either it denies him completely or else it reduces him in significance from transcendent spiritual reality to a figure that is tailored to human feelings and desires as they are in themselves here and now, thereby ratifying these. For us today almost anything can be justified in the name of love but this ignores the truth that while God does love humanity, he does not love the fallen aspect of humanity which is precisely what separates us from him. You cannot have God and sin and, while we may all be sinners, it is one thing to know this and repent of the fact and quite another not only to ignore sin but, as is often done today, actually promote and celebrate it. 

I sometimes wonder which is worse. The rejection of God of the atheist or the distortion of the idea of God found in so many modern forms of religion. For example, liberal Christianity which has cut God down to fit its politicised humanistic agenda thereby showing that it has no idea of the true God at all. Church leaders may claim they do this to attract modern people to Jesus, but I call them self-deceiving hypocrites who clearly have no proper conception of the reality of God beyond their text books. They are false shepherds leading their flocks astray, but then the time has come for individuals to cease to be spiritual sheep merely following their leaders and to forge their own inner contact with spiritual truths.  While we should lament the fact that so many church leaders lack vision, this does have its plus side in that it can drive those who are ready to look within themselves for truth even if that inner truth must be checked against the reality of Christ and the best of tradition to make sure it really is truth and not just personal inclination.

The modern educated person is more and more detached from common-sense reality and locates his intellectual being in abstraction. That is why theory and ideology increasingly override the fundamental facts of nature in the mind of such a person. It is why the forces of evil have changed their approach and today encourage the retreat into intellectual abstraction (hence separation from concrete reality hence increased separation from God) and are, in the sophisticated West, at least, not so much bothered with 'traditional' forms of sin and evil such as violence, murder and so on. We can all recognise the evils of the past but we can't see the new forms evil takes in our own time and in our own minds. We can all see that the Nazis were bad but we don't see how our attempts to redefine reality according to theory is bad. It actually doesn't matter what that theory is. Though some are, of course, worse than others, anything that derives from the human mind separated from God is corrupt. Anything whatsoever. Why that is may not at first sight be apparent so I will try to explain.

God is truth. He is not true. He is truth. He is what is. If a mind conforms itself to the reality of God, which it can do either in full consciousness or in part or in a basic but real sense because it has not yet developed its own independence, then it thinks and acts in a natural way and, because this derives from God and the order he has established, it is good. But when the mind separates itself from the natural rhythms of being because it has become absorbed in itself and fascinated by the power of its own thought then it risks alienating itself from God-reality and creating or attempting to create a pseudo-reality of its own. This will always be false even if it is true. What I mean by that is that, even if true, it will be the mind's version of truth and therefore constructed and not spontaneous. There will be a division in the person between his thought and himself so his actions will be artificial, external to what he really is. You can see this dualism in many people of the left who display a wide gulf between their thought and what they actually are. It is less common among traditional conservatives who are not ideologically motivated but seek to establish common-sense principles. They may have plenty of their own faults but they are much less likely to suffer from the faults of abstraction which are basically those of a mind that thinks it knows better than God. It is also a mind that artificially seeks to bend its being (and that of others) to ideas and theories instead of naturally abiding in living reality.

In this post I have just followed a train of thought to see where it leads. Hence it might appear somewhat disorganised.  Never mind! I hope the points have been made. But if there is something that binds it all together that will be in the title of the post. The mind of modern man has become closed to the transcendent and so it has become separated from reality. This is why it seeks to construct its own false reality which, when you think about it, is more or less what Satan did. He built hell. Are we doing the same?