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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Can Religion be Humanized?

For thousands of years, the world has been in an almost constant state of religious tension, dispute and violence. During this time, humanity has been hit with a continual wave of religious fanaticism that enslaves the body, mind and soul to a heinous and oppressive ideology. This pathology is obviously innate to the human mind, unfortunately.

Fortunately, what is also innate to the human mind is the desire to be free and liberated from all enslaving and degrading regimes and ideologies. The pathological and oppressive aspect of the human mind also possesses the megalomania to associate itself with "God," the greatest power of the cosmos. Hence, this criminal element that desires to enslave and exploit humanity passes itself off as a "religion."

Let us challenge all those of a religious bent to show us the humanity within their religion. In the case of the fanaticism that frequently defines a religion, the problem is, if this fanaticism becomes less harsh, cruel, brutal, intolerant and violent, it won't be the same religion anymore.

"Let My People Go!"

All free, liberated and sovereign beings need to ask fanatical religionists to demonstrate the humanity of their religion. Such a demonstration would mean allowing the following:
  • Women may wear whatever they wish, in whatever colors desired. They can expose their beauty for all the world to see. If there were any decent god "out there," SHE would be disgusted by the treatment of Her beautiful creation within fundamentalist religion.
  • Women may choose their husbands OUT OF LOVE. If men may have more than one spouse, women may do likewise. Women should be able to live in an abuse-free environment full of joy, happiness and love. ALL of humanity needs to strive for such a state of enlightened life. Anything less than striving for true love and community is a degradation of humanity, the creation and any creator of such.
  • Children are free to believe what they wish about God, religion, afterlife, etc. - they can be taught about a wide range of beliefs and disbeliefs without being brainwashed into one religion/cult.
  • Children should not be compelled to recite long, boring, VIOLENT and bigoted "sacred scriptures" that teach them not only to hate themselves but also to hate others who are not like them, who do not share their rigid beliefs and traditions.
  • Children should be allowed to be children and not be indoctrinated into adult matters, including and especially warfare, hatred of others, bigotry, prejudice, genocide, misogyny, etc., ad nauseam. Teaching children these hateful things, including hating themselves and life in general, constitutes CHILD ABUSE of the highest order. This child abuse includes telling innocent and beautiful little children that they are "born in sin" pieces of garbage and unworthy in the eyes of the great and glorious God/Allah, who is wholly separate and apart from this "lower" creation. This emotional and psychological child abuse is a LIE. Period. It should not be allowed.
Just as is abusing their minds, beating children physically because they are not learning or accepting a religion is EVIL. Leave the children alone! They will develop naturally as healthy and happy human beings - and if there's any true religion on planet Earth, that is it! Nothing more and nothing less. The children know what life is all about - let them be children.

And let the children show YOU the way out of the manmade HELLS created on Earth because of religion. No decent god worth its salt would be interested in the oppressive and brutally anti-human psychosis that passes itself off as "religion" on this planet.

To humanize the current violent, malevolent and woman-hating religious fanaticism is to change it utterly to the point where it no longer exists. To humanize this sort of religion, therefore, is impossible, because it is so entirely inhumane and anti-human.

In the long run, that which is truly humane in any given religion, what constitutes common decency and morality, is already intrinsic within the human mind and does not need religion either to create or sustain it. If religion is to serve any purpose at all, it must emphasize and develop that common decency and morality which provides the greatest chance for benevolence to thrive to its fullest potential.


Unknown said...

May I suggest M.Shermer's recent book, "The Mind of the Market"?
Love and trust are natural human attributes.
I would prefer the religionists revert to simple solar orb worship, and let the rest of us alone.
'Religion' as I know it is inhumane from its conception in the mind of self-serving priests/shamans. It is based on supposed supernatural causes, which are chosen because they can't be proven. Its chief weapons are ignorance, fear, awe and the herd instinct.

Anonymous said...

The conservative concept of freedom is radically different from the more traditional progressive idea. Conservatives believe "freedom" means "free to proselytize the one true religion" (whichever religion that might be. Notice it's not their one true religion, but the one true religion.) Freedom is being free to spread the one true religion throughout all the country without government impedance. When government says, "You can't have Christian prayer in public schools," conservatives see that as an impingement on their freedom.

Conservatives do not see "freedom" as "freedom from conservative Christians taking over our government and compelling us all to join them." Quite the opposite. Conservatives see "freedom" as "freedom to spread their religion throughout the country and it's government," since "Congress shall make no law... prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]." (Those important missing words in the ellipsis are not seen as an injunction against their "freedom" to spread their religion.)

(See George Lakoff Whose Freedom?. Even better is Lakoff's newest book The Political Mind which I highly recommend. He makes clear why progressives are losing elections and what we need to do to reverse this (to literally change people's minds, since Lakoff is a cognitive scientist).

We need to talk to conservatives about issues they already have a progressive view on (issues we already agree on.) This strengthens their "progressive" neurons and makes it more likely they will adopt a progressive view on other issues.)

Alban Fenle said...

Acharya S: "No decent god worth its salt would be interested in the oppressive and brutally anti-human psychosis that passes itself off as "religion" on this planet."

That is true. But the truth is also, that no decent or benign god would even put you here where everything dies, and you loose everything you love. Any god to allow that to happen to you, must be evil. That leaves you with an impossible situation: God is real and true, and you find yourself here in this place. Only one can be true. Or there is no God and no truth. What could that possibly be?

So, the only reasonable solution is that I am making this all up. God does not know of this, I am His perfect creation, dreaming a nightmare. And I am about to wake up. Because I am tired of it.

jorge vicente said...

God knows nothing. It is just the creation of the human mind. Nothing more. Or at least the Christian, Islamic and Judaic god.

However, there is Humanity and there is Life and there is one soul that produces works of art, a soul that loves and aches and smiles. And, deep inside that soul, you can find what true God is: your inner self.


Anonymous said...

A good article overall, but I don't think oppressive religious zeal to be innate psycology, but rather learned behavior imprinted within a paradigm that says: 'There is a Logos in thought word and action that may be given as rules for mental and physical behavior', and contained within that trained concept, the deeper idea that if one does not find and follow this Logos, whether Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jedi, or whatever, then the very essence of the Self will suffer.

Within this fear based paradigm religious zealotry cannot be avoided, it is an outgrowth of the fear contained within the 'sin' concept.

We have many examples of children raised within other paradigms, raised by our very own contemparies and by our selves, who are not inspired to think, nor act in such ways by either religious, nor by political or other such ideological paradigms.

And so, once again I express doubt that religious mania is any more innate within our psycology than concepts like 'marriage', 'nationality, or or 'money' are.

Thanks for all your hard work in the name of common sense, Acharya.

Anonymous said...

There is only One True God worthy of our attention and It has our attention already. That God is Reality Itself as such. Unfortunately most religions, themselves and their anti-thesis products of reality as such, hamper our efforts at getting to know Reality as it is, or do their incoherence and lies actually spurn us on to get to know what is real in our efforts to denounce them as false? Think about it... if they made perfect sense, would we be searching for ever greater understanding and truth or just remain complacent followers of tradition? Like it or not, tension promotes growth although I think at least some of us have grown enough for now.

Anonymous said...

I can think of nothing that could add to this post.

Thanks, Acharya, for the great rant.

Anonymous said...

For thousands of years, the world has been in an almost constant state of religious tension, dispute and violence. During this time, humanity has been hit with a continual wave of religious fanaticism that enslaves the body, mind and soul to a heinous and oppressive ideology.

Enslavement of the body, mind, & soul has been paramount to religious ideologies and detrimental to humanity. In my opinion people should empower themselves and not look to another source for their sense of well being. To much of our power has been given away to others who have taken this and enslaved humanity. What we have become is lazy in that we grant others the right to determine our path in life. We do not think for ourselves, we do not do the research needed to achieve our own knowledge base. If one strives for integrity within their own lives there is no need to look outwards for true moral value. Children start with a blank slate so to speak, what a parent can do is observe that child to see the creativtive flow that is occurring. We spend far to much time amusing ourselves and our children instead of learning and gaining knowledge why is that?

Another excellent post Acharya and one will see if religious fanatics can and will remove the violence and suppression from their voices.

Heathan said...

I am not religious and don't want to be, I am one of those irky tepid fence-sitters who doesn't know about God. For me that is the most humble position, i.e. to say I don't know as opposed to religions or people who say they have the answer, the final answer and everyone else is wrong. Absolute belief must exclude 'the others' and in the extreme this promotes violence – the others are an insult to your God.
To say I can't be wrong is to overestimate our ability to understand – God is a huge concept – to say that we know the real God is virtually the same as saying I am wise as God. If there is any SIN, to me that it is to say we can encompass the infinite with our human intelligence (whatever version of God we currently have).
However to say that religion can't be humanised is to deny the opportunity to develop many human emotions. We in the West idolise freedom and choice but too much of anything even choice is bad. Religion as a social activity can provide the group support which will enable us to grow in equality and social justice. If we can only divorce self-serving customs from religions as practiced.
Customs which enslave women and children are abominations that must be changed, but many practices create the structure in people's lives where they can learn and maintain values other than ME and having THINGS. We can humanise religion if we humbly realise we don't know everything and endeavour to learn and grow.
Even the matter of dress, especially Moslem dress is complicated. It is not only keeping women in their place. It is cultural identity, respect for oneself in light of one's belief, a statement of belonging to the faith, rejection of Western values. I personally have trouble with the full Moslem dress as it puts up barriers. Ironically, though I recently saw I a women in full dress that was a colour of the water on a pristine beach and the vision of her was very beautiful. Odd isn't it.

Anonymous said...

You are kickin ass!

we do not need to be kept tight. thats the way of the masters , not in our intrest.

all these religions are corrupted and humiliate human beings. no upliftment of our spirit if you let yourself be guided by them.

true knowledge arises in a truly free spirit by it's own essence and force, wich is the blueprint of our soul. no need for external man/alienmande interference.

book very bright : william bramley : the gods of eden.

islam,christsects, jewish faith, all same energies of death and negativiry hiding behind different faces. all sides have been infected by blind faith and slavementality.

let's look at things froman human perscpective nd harness our goddamn human troubles before we et ourselves be used for anonymous non visible
non-real entities who do not care for our best intrest butonly their own needs.

let's peace for peace by takin out the pieces of the puzzle and rearrange our own thoughts until they match our best interest and leave all the negative shit for the gods to eat and be poisoned with.

peace ! an ex-muslim .

Anonymous said...

Great article, Acharya. At the head of all these religions we always seem to find a power-mad individual intent on controlling everything and everyone and conforming them to his/her wierd ideal. Serving under this particular nitwit is another group of losers, sorry, priests or whatever intent on picking the carcass, sorry, grabbing whatever power is left, sorry, helping the masses see the "light" which, of course, only they can magically dispense.
Personally, I have found that I can live a truly free, wonderful, just, creative and exciting, and, oh yes, even an eternal spirit life without all priests, allah helpers, and assorted wierdos.
keep up the good work - you are loved.

Anonymous said...

"This child abuse . . . should not be allowed."
There is a conflict here because all of the abuses you mentioned grow out of the struggle to to have the power to decide what should or should not be allowed. It is all about the power struggle of the ages. The thought process goes along the line that I want to have control over my own life but there are other people in the world whose behavior effects my choices of behavior. Hence, I have to control others to have control over my own life.
Solution? Resurrect Isis. Let us build a multicultural 'World Culture' civlization based on love wisdom and cooperation, not governed n=by fear, money, authority and force.

Resurrect Isis

Anonymous said...

I'm not religious either. That being said, I do realize that religion is an outgrowth and response to the void of education, spirituality, and social instability that occurs in nature.
If you want to minimize religion (note, you can and never will get rid of it), then you must improve education, spirituality without religion, and solve the economic and social problems of the world. Once all these problems go away, then there is not as much a need for religion, except as a way of socializing or protocol for social behavior.
And once people are generous, then there is less of a need for people trying to set up or force religion people on others for their selfish needs.
Direct confrontation never works unless you become draconian about it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds pretty good - but do you remember the times during the Protestant Reformation when some alternative communities set up children as moral authorities? Crimes as horrendous as the inquisition were carried out by adults following the dictates of children anointed as "lambs of god".
Sorry, part of the thesis is good, but to cede moral authority to children would lead to a descent to madness. No worse than we already have, of course ;-)

Acharya S said...

Thanks for all the comments.

First of all, I agree that it would be impossible to stamp out religion - and I have never agitated for such a thing, as I actually enjoy much of mankind's religious ideation.

Of course, I abhor the parts of religion that are bigoted and hateful towards other human beings - and that is what I mainly assail, as well as this false notion that clearly mythical stories "really and truly happened" on planet Earth.

Otherwise, with the deeper understanding of religious ideology as relating to natural phenomena, religion is a fascinating subject.

As concerns children, I have never advocated ceding authority to them - that's ridiculous. I am talking about only the natural instinct of young children who do not see color, religion or other distinctions between people but who are highly social and loving little folks. That's the lead I'm suggesting - the childlike innocence in approaching others. (With adult supervision and caution, naturally.) As much leeway as we can give the little ones in play, we are still adults and parents. Children need freedom but they also need parenting, obviously - true parenting, not enslavement and abuse.

Anonymous said...

Religion has been used as a tool to frighten people to conform, but abolishing religion won't solve the problem, because religion isn't the problem. The problem is the people using the tool to control. If religion is gone, they will find another way to control. A prime example is the way the American Dream has been transformed in society to represent greed and gain, when really it was supposed to be about freedom. How many people can say they're free now? Government was supposed to be representative of the people. But now, when people say the word "government", they speak of something that controls them. And yes, a president will claim christian status to gain votes in the bible belt, but Bush proved to those voters that claiming to be part of a particular religion does not make one competent. And now, with the presidential race moving forward, each side is claiming to be better christians than the other, but do you really think religion will play a role once they're in power, or do you think the economy will play a stronger role in determining the decisions people make? Housing markets slide further along with the become ever more scarce...will people pray for manna or beg government for food?

Anonymous said...

the Divine Conscious Light is acausal. it doesn't "cause" all this, this whole "reality" here that seems to us to be arising. Cause and effect, or karma, is not an issue in the nondual Divine Reality. Karma is a problem brought about by the dualistic human mind. In the one Indivisible Divine Reality none of this even exists. Its appearance is brought about by the contracted lens of the human brain. Expand your pinhole mind, and all this manifestation that seems to be here pales out the blinding Love/Bliss Light of the Eternal Acausal Divine.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's innate for folks to believe in a devilish god. I think folks tend to believe what they are taught no matter how illogical it is.
One individual on here, for example, stated that death is bad, and if god were good then there would be no death. Why is death bad? You see, the devilish god cults start with some ridiculous assumption that everyone is supposed to believe on "common sense". Upon second look though, these aren't common sense questions at all. It's like the whole "free will" argument. God gave you free will to believe in him. If you don't you'll burn in hell. Doesn't sound like free will to me.

I have to say that I enjoyed your books and articles. I'm not an atheist though, but I believe that we will all be saved in the end and all paths lead to salvation eventually. I have allowed my children to choose their own paths.

Anonymous said...

David Icke and others have proven that all religions on the earth derive from a common source in ancient Babylon and and are deliberately designed to divide, control, and keep people in ignorance of their own divinity.

If you hold any other opinion than this, I can only ask, how is that working out for you?

Your tribal thinking will cause you to question this, but it only proves the point.

How about some reverse logic. Assume it is true for a while, and see how many mysteries in your life disappear without anything good going away.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article, Acharya. And I know you're too subtle a thinker to think that all aspects of religion are bad. The problem is with the "black/white" simplistic minds who can't see the positive sides. People seeking goodness and the liberating aspects of God can get many benefits from the great spiritual traditions -- e.g., the example of wise masters and their guidance through the complex world of illusion, the focus given by certain disciplines, and inspiration from scriptures, poetry, etc. that arise from a state of purity and clarity. I also think that worshiping within a community can have synergistic effects.

I respect good people who find what they want without a tradition -- but they need to be careful about assuming that ALL those who opt for one (a) think theirs is the best or only path, (b) want someone else to think for them, or (c) have an unhealthy need to conform.

I personally was guided to a tradition after being raised humanist, and it's been a very liberating influence in my life. It happens to be a non-dogmatic, heart-centered form of Sufism, a form of Islam that emphasizes personal connection with God. My son, who was never constrained and always knew his choice was entirely his, finds that it suits him as well.

Anonymous said...

99.999% of people have no clue of why god set up things as they are. I wish I could offer a brief explanation but the outcome would be grossly misunderstood. Suffice to say the soul needs to be freed from its prison due to the overwhelming control of ego,mind and personality, which keeps it buried and also responsible for ones continuing karma while in the physical plane. The physical plane is also the plane of manifestation and the only place we can find freedom from our self imposed slavery. This cannot be done by waving a magical wand by saying I believe in someone and then insure a place in heaven. Our situation cannot change because we cannot admit responsibilty for creating who we are individually. Our living in the past and anticipating the future leaves us out of the present moment which is the only place this change can take place, not if we curse the past and fear the future because some race,creed or religion has screwed everything up. It's so easy to blame and hate another,mostly because we hate ourselves for becomming what we've created. Truth is above and beyond anything the meager mind can concieve.

Acharya S said...

Thanks. I enjoy and respect Sufism, which is found largely in Muslim countries.

However, I would submit that Sufism predated Islam and is a residual of ancient spiritual practices that survived in spite of Islam. Islam has done its part trying to stamp out Sufism, in fact.

For convenience sake, of course, one could label Sufism the "esoteric" aspect of Islam - at least that would be a good point to make with Muslims looking for a way to escape from religious fanaticism and to increase their spiritual awareness.

Anonymous said...

Does the author think for a moment that women wearing what they want leads to men with uncontrolled senses? Controlling the senses is fundamental to any spiritual or religious pursuit regardless of what heading one puts themselves under.

Acharya S said...

Anonymous said...

Does the author think for a moment that women wearing what they want leads to men with uncontrolled senses? Controlling the senses is fundamental to any spiritual or religious pursuit regardless of what heading one puts themselves under.

No, the author does not for one second believe such a thing. It is the RELIGIOUS FANATICS who believe that patent nonsense. Men should also be insulted by what passes itself off as "religion" on this planet.

The point is that these "religious" ideologies ENSLAVE women - and men, in the long run. They are in effect criminal operations designed to exploit people.

Anonymous said...

Dear Acharya MM,
You are a special Soul on Earth who like an Indian Acharya is trying to teach selflessly all the inhuman aspects of so called Humanity.
You are a help in all that i am trying to do- I am trying to live accroding to All the Human aspects of our Humanity. Not only that i have an Independent School and Gurukul with some thousands of Children whom i am trying to teach to become good Human Beings according to Traditional Indian Standards as well from all over the World. You could visit my site to know more.
Thankyou dear for your lighthouse in the dark seas of Kaliyug. My objective or My Karma is to bring and maintain Saatyug, with your help too.
Korak Day eternally for you.

Anonymous said...

Even if the relegion is kept aside
M Shermer's recent book will not be able to answer logical questions
raised in front of the public.
This man will not be able to produce arguments when scientific and logical question will be posed in front of him.leave aside the relegion.I think he himself has lost his control over his mind.

Todd the Toad said...

Acharya - Bravo on one of your best essays ever!

When I was growing up my father made me drop my drawers and spread my hands on the bed. He would then Zebra stripe me with a belt. Crime committed: Refusing to attend church. I got my last beating at age 18. I lied and said I had gone to church. My father, being the smart detective that he was, checked and said my car engine was cold. He then proceeded to beat the shit out of me. So, yes, I can really relate to this post.

I wanted to expand on an excellent comment made by a previous poster, about religion being used as a control tool. The point being is that nationalism is an extremely dangerous religion as well, and skillful puppet masters have learned to combine nationalism and religion to effectively control people -- there are dozens of examples of this. This kind of double-sided manipulation is powerful enough for mothers to send their sons off to war, and then feel good about it when they die. I see U.S. flags flying in front of churches every day -- God, country, and Apple Pie. Only the Apple Pie is real -- the other two are control mechanisms driven by lies.

Anonymous said...

Not this one I suspect.

shakeitup said...

Can Insanity be Humanized?

that that is is that that is not is not is that not it it is that that is that that is is.

Science is the striving to understand that that is. Great minds try to help others make sense of the world around them. Religion is a delusion, a fabrication by low sanity egos trying to force upon others a totally fabricated system of misunderstanding that that is.

An honorable being tries to help others make sense of what is. They take the incomprehensible and try to make it … comprehensible.

That that is, is.
That that is not, is not.
Is that not it?
It is that!
That is, “that that is, is!”

Science is seeking to understand that that is. A human can experience this with wonder and exuberance. I recently listened to a CD series ,“Exuberance”, with in which the author studied many scientists and found a large number where totally turned on, totally in a holy state of WOW . WOW in what they were discovering , WOW in what they could create, WOW in their ability to ignite the spark of wonder in others.

Then you’ve got your Holy men like Kim il Jong , Moses , Hitler , King David, Pope Fillintheblank, all these bad asses with the “Gott mitt uns “ belt buckles , and their job is to keep their job as top dog. They said they were chosen of some God for their benevolence and they would kill you if you questioned that. For their world to work properly they had to violently coerce people into believing that that is not. Insanity vs Clarity.

Perhaps religion is quite humanized already. Too humanized. It seems to me that human egos are generally not looking to find clarity and understanding of that that is.
And the good soul that seeks clarity and understanding is a somewhat rare exception.
Can we dolphinize religion? Or puppydogize religion? It might be better. Humanizing religion/insanity, leaving it to the big brain monkeys that think they are greater than big brain monkeys, has been quite problematic.

( Not that there can’t be something wonderful and enjoyable in experiencing life as a big brained monkey). ( And not that I don’t dig Acharya as a true fine big brain monkey of the highest level of courage, soul and sexiness).

The Secret Sun said...


Jung set it best- religion cannot be replaced with irreligion. We had a turning of the tide in the 1960s when American Christianity- which by and large had reached a harmonious equilibrium after centuries of rancor- was invaded by forces looking to hyperpoliticize the Church to the point of weaponization. The so-called mainline churches (which just a decade before were praised by none other than President Eisenhower for being the bedrock of American society) were taken over by left-wingers who imposed a quasi-Marxist social doctrine on these denominations. What happened in response is that these churches rapidly began to empty. The two great evils of our time- consumer culture and Fundamentalism- were there to exploit the alienated masses and the Evangelical movement destroyed any legacy of intellectualism, history, art and moderation in American Christianity.

But even still there are those who not only resisted but deeply resent what was done to their communities (which a church ultimately is about) and many long for a new movement to replace what was lost and perhaps put Evangelicalism back in the boondocks where it belongs.

You know, your work might be threatening to a person who needs to historicize spiritual concepts but is quite inspiring to those of a more, say, Gnostic bent. If I was a idolater I would be threatened by putting the Jesus story in a greater mythological and spiritual context, but I actually find it quite liberating. Certain sects had this figured out a long time ago long before they were crushed under the bootheel of the state. Maybe it's time for people to come together and reclaim that.

Given your ferocious intellect, passion and persuasiveness I can't think of anyone better to start sounding the call. Religion can be humanized, if humanists stop conceding it to the worst of this world. Maybe since you've so brilliantly deconstructed the edifice of corporate religion you can help lead the charge to reconstruct a religion of the spirit- one that champions knowledge and compassion, rather than ignorance and tribalism.

Anonymous said...

Semantics aside, I'm pretty sure that anything that qualifies as a 'religion' would be an institutionalized affair, precluding it's involvement in anything approximating humanization.

That being said, it might be possible to 'homogenize' it. Which would be nice... And creamy.

Unknown said...

Good morning; this is only my second visit to the site, but I've read other writings by Acharya, and I can't wait to purchase some of the books (I was steered in this direction by the writings of Dr. Henry Makow and David Icke). After reading some of the works of David Icke, my whole view on religion came crumbling around my faster than the Wallstreet collpapse. I have since re-evaluated my views and realize that religion is a prison, and though I still believe in "spirit" and the immortality of the soul, I actually feel liberated do to my lack of "religious" beliefs now.

I agree with Acharya S that, unlike the proclamations of the Bible, that most people are inherently good natured and do not want to cause harm of any type to their neighbors. I think that love is the be-all, end-all. Ah well, what do I know.

Keep up the good work.