the invention of God April 25, 2012Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: ahura mazda, homo erectus, religion, science, spirituality
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It has been postulated that one of the corollaries of the evolutionary process, inevitably, would be the invention of God. This hypothesis theorizes that the transition between homo erectus and homo sapiens brought about our ability to observe the heavens and muse about the formation of everything we observed. Mental inquisitiveness, unfortunately, preceded mental capacity and technological contraptions. Thus, the only recourse left to our ancient ancestors was to posit a divine entity as the creator, sustainer, and primal causeof everything. But of course! It just makes sense. Right?!?
What is odd is that most ancient peoples postulated God with similar characteristics. All powerful, determining the seasons, controlling natural phenomenon, providing rewards for worship, punishment for disobedience, etc. Almost certainly this was mere coincidence, given their observations of similarly unexplained wonders. Yet as homo sapiens developed communities they invented different regional names for God— Ra, Adi Purush, Zeus, Thor, I AM WHO I AM, Jesus, Allah, YHWH (יהוה), Baha, Ahura Mazda. To this day, there are ancient animistic deities yet being discovered. Each “religion” then created initiation rites, ritual celebrations, and taboos (sins).
Religion dominated both the ancient world, stemming from some common root in a time before recorded history, and continued developing in civilizations such as Egypt, Teutonic Europe, Mesoamerica, and Asia. Except for a brief period when the Greeks blended religion and science, religion’s prominence, at least in the West, held firm until the 15th century. Then the Renaissance in art and the Enlightenment in science supplanted religion and seized center-stage as the rational explanation of the universe and its mechanisms. The Modern Era was launched. “God” and the church became overshadowed by the “scientific method.”
However, today, as I snatch moments to ponder our universe and the religious wonderings in our past, I wonder…, I wonder if our ancient ancestors didn’t know something about the universe, the stars, and creation that we, in this postmodern, postChristian world, have lost? Were they in closer proximity to an actual Creator than we might imagine? Maybe they were not trying to explain the universe through “religion” but simply reporting, with some variation, what they already comprehended and understood as the true nature of things.
Maybe it wasn’t God who was invented…, but us.
Have a nice week,
spring cleaning April 17, 2012Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: agony and the ecstasy, ancient manuscripts, dead sea scrolls, letting go, past, spring cleaning, vacation
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After much perpetual prodding from my wife I was guilted into facing the greatest challenge of my life— cleaning out my Study. Mind you, this is no small matter. Centuries of books line the walls like added insulation. When I gave myself to address the volumes of history I found copies of the US Constitution, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and papyri from the Library at Alexandria. In the dust collected I discovered micro-organisms which linked directly to the Big Bang. Together, my wife and I even found strands of hair from “the Missing Link.” (She mused if I might be shedding.) We decided that attempting to complete the task should be stretched out over a couple weeks to protect my delicately imbalanced psychological structure.
As I inhaled dust particles from before the last Ice Age it became apparent that a great battle was taking place. Deciding what should go and what could stay was hard enough; but it was more than that. I was at war with myself. I had to decide to let go of history, of meaningful parts of my very life that at one time were my very essence. Never mind that I held captive some of the most influential books ever written, even rare books! Some had to go: some could stay. I was re-experiencing The Agony and the Ecstasy as I dug deeper into the ancient manuscripts to determine if they held any significance for my present life-situation.
Letting go. Why do we have such a hard time with it? There’s safety in the past. Really!?! Do you know the saying—
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days
than the passage of time and a bad memory. [Franklin Pierce Adams]
We hang on to our past because we fear the future. We neither want to live up to the demands of life NOW, nor face the challenges of an uncertain future. Uncertainty is frightening. No argument there. But what if…, what if, we could face it with less baggage? What if we let the past lie there, in the past? None of us can afford to rust on our laurels or go back to the way it used to be. The only choice before us is to learn from the past, to live in the present, and to plan for the future. We can do it with either anxious fear or anticipation and excitement.
Enjoying the present and trusting God for the future is a great beginning! But, unless you are an archeologist, hanging on to the past will only weight you down. It’s gone. Time for a little Spring Cleaning.
Have a nice week,
truncated truth— the abridged version April 10, 2012Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: car salesmen, old time religion, religion, simple faith, spirituality, truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth
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Do you ever wonder if our government tells us the truth? Or, just how much “truth in advertising” there is, actually? It’s no wonder our court system swears in witnesses with the charge— “Do you swear to tell the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth.” We’ve become a people who are content with convenient truth, mostly true, “half-truths,” and “truthiness.” Yet these descriptors are only applicable when the truth, or parts of it, suits our purposes. We demand the whole truth from other people. [How dare they hide the truth from us!?!]
You’ve heard the saying— If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. That’s what religion and car salesmen sound like to me— too good to be true. They’re quite earnest in telling us what is so good, even fantastic, about their car or their faith, but they shy away from telling us the whole truth, the whole story. CarFax, remember? Maybe the Bible or the Qur’an or the myriad of Vedas have some fine print that is only visible to the faithful, to the select few. But my guess is that they don’t want us to know there are commitments and sacrifices their faith calls on us to make.
There are probably some beliefs they want us to accept that are a little weird: like the deity of their founder or prophet. In the Christian religion I know that “Christians” are expected to love God, who they cannot even see, and to “love thy neighbor.” Does God even know my neighbor!?! He can be a real pain in the butt. Loving him is going to take some work. There are so many unlovable types in my life I can hardly keep count. And then God expects me to love Him too; AND to express it. Pushing it.
There is safety in adhering to an abridged version of the truth. Reading further just complicates things, forces us to think. Life should be simple: it’s easier to stick to a simple faith, to that “old-time religion.” Leave the deep stuff for those who want to read the complete version of faith, unabridged.
Of course, in the real world, life isn’t quite so simple, is it? Most likely, you’ll probably do more than just kick the tires the next time you’re buying a new car.
Have a nice week,
gut feelings April 5, 2012Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: transportation, travel
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Most human beings have them at one time or another throughout their life. Some of us trust our gut feelings more; others, less. Some of us go into Risk Assessment mode: others simply make a snap decision and implement. Gut Feelings are the simple result of the blending of intuition and discernment based on accumulated knowledge and past experience. In other words, living life. These processes operate subconsciously until needed; then they percolate to the surface to play their part in our decision-making process. Thus the question before us becomes— To what degree can we trust our gut feelings?
The question points us back to at least two other questions about ourselves.
1. To what degree do I feel safe in life?
2. To what degree do I trust anything, or, anyone (for that matter)?
Having a sense of personal safety lays a broad foundation for so much of life’s quirky situations. If you feel safe within yourself, you are more prone to serve others, to make decisions more readily, to be able to care even when the road ahead becomes unclear. Developing an ability to trust people— as dangerous as it might often prove, is still our best ally in times of need, or when teamwork is essential to get the job done. It is also an essential thread in the very fabric of human relationships.
Being safe (personal security) and trusting others are both outgrowths of practice and knowing your core values. The more you can define your core values, beliefs, and personhood, the more safety and trust will be able to function freely in your life. Thus, gut feelings join our inner and outward selves into a unified presentation to others of who we truly are. Gut feelings align with confidence and accomplishment to forge our character and to create a stronger person, one whose assurance in making correct decisions proves true. Then, other people are more comfortable trusting us, more comfortable following our leadership.
Now let’s throw trusting God into the mix. Acting on a gut feeling about trusting Him can add a great deal of certitude to your overall confidence in facing a difficult dilemma. Try it. You’ll like it. [Except for the first time. That’s scary.]
Take the plunge,