It’s you doing this. You’re the one reading this. It’s you who decides if it’s bullshit or if it contains anything worthwhile. You’re the one who will weigh the ideas and either incorporate them into your world view or let them slip into the ether. What’s more, you’ve been doing this all your life. In a way, you’re the sum of all the decisions that you’ve ever made about what you’ve read, seen, heard – everything you’ve experienced.
I feel that this is an idea that needs to be kept at the forefront of our minds as we deal with the problems that are arising these days from the differences in our various religions. No matter what it is that we individually or even collectively believe, it’s essential that we keep reminding ourselves that it is US creating these beliefs. They don’t exist somewhere outside our heads, even if the tenets of the religions themselves often posit that they derive from a source (possibly supernatural) that lives outside ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you CAN’T believe in a god or a creator. I’m not even ruling out the possibility that he may author books from time to time. I’m simply saying that if you DO belong to a religion, it’s crucial that you admit to yourself that you are designing and tailoring that religion yourself, in your own mind. Even if you adhere to one of the sacred texts that abound in our world like the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, Dianetics, whatever – you’re still running their teachings through the filter of your consciousness. Maybe you’re fasting on the Sabbath, but you’ve decided not to stone any homosexuals. Perhaps cows are sacred to you, but you inwardly complain about the smell. Part of you knows Joseph Smith was a bit of a con artist but heck, life as a Mormon is pretty darn uplifting. There are a thousand little decisions you make as you grow inside your faith, whatever it is. Some of those decisions are guided by your religious community, to be sure, but lots and lots of them are just you – or maybe you and your partner – deciding what you will accept or reject.
This isn’t a new idea. Rene Descartes, the guy who pretty much re-invented philosophy after the dark ages, said that our starting point for all of existence had to be the primacy of consciousness – I think therefore I am. If consciousness IS in fact the only starting point that can be objectively demonstrated then we can at least entertain the possibility that our morality comes from ourselves, not from an external source. If we accept this, then we no longer have to play the game of “my God’s better than your God”. That’s a shitty game anyway, because gods are immortal and unchanging, which means wars could break out. Our minds on the other hand, change all the time. I bet you can easily identify an issue that you felt strongly about ten years ago that you now feel differently about. We all remember changing our minds from time to time. Since we’re all in the process of constantly changing our minds, a much healthier game to play is “my idea’s better than your idea”. And if we accept that our faith is an IDEA, and not an external concept set in stone by some deity, we take a first step towards (dare I say it without appearing hippyish?) – peace.
Ok, that’s enough. I always write first thing in the morning, before breakfast. As soon as my tummy starts rumbling I know I’ve reached the last bit. I think, therefore I’m hungry.