I wish I was 10 again. Then we believed everything our parents told us. We lived surrounded by their prejudices. How much easier it was to believe in God, Ghosts and Santa. The ‘goodies ‘ and the ‘baddies’ were well defined in the mind of an innocent child. Easier to play with the meccano or train set. It was more satisfying to live in the fantasy worlds of Enid Blyton, W E Johns and Lewis Carroll rather than read newspapers and the reality of the grown up world around me.
Too soon I entered my teenage years and was told that I was too old for imaginary friends. I was told to ditch Santa but not god. How anthropocentric and narrow-minded to have a “god” made to our own likeness. Not my words but sums up the confusion in a teenage mind who was told people had a right to be free of indoctrination; yet watched as friends yielded to the weekly confessional and Stalin purged his political enemies!
The day I questioned Christianity was the day I realised that other ‘religions’ existed on the planet. It took perhaps another decade to realise that all these organised manmade religions had one common enemy. Paganism. I use the word in its widest connotation perhaps ‘heathen’ is a simile. In 1954 a golden statue of Mithras was discovered among Roman artifacts on a building site in London. It transpires that the basic tenet of christianity is based on this pagan god from his mystical conception to his spectacular ascension.
It becomes a short step to realise that the early tribes had basic rules of conduct to each other and to nearby tribes – why else has mankind flourished albeit alongside strife and conflict? The human mind has always been inquisitive. We need to know. In ancient times there was Ra the sun god because no one knew it was a star. Chac was a Mayan rain god because no one knew where the water came from. The power of each tribe rested between the warrior leader and the Shaman or religious leader. It was just a matter of time that these two powerful positions would be amalgamated in one leader and the one became more than the sum of its two parts. Sadly mankind turned its back on nature and our spiritual innerselves.
Alchemy changed from wishful thinking to science and a journey of discovery. At each and every factual discovery organised religion has poured scorn on the scientist.The Inquisition, prosecuted individuals accused of a wide array of crimes related to heresy, including sorcery, immorality, blasphemy and witchcraft, as well for censorshipof printed literature, one victim, namely Galileo instantly to mind. This we should remember was happening whilst in North Africa the freedom of discovery in mathematics, art and medicine was rampant.
Today, we are more knowledgeable than our forefathers that however does not mean that every question has an answer. Perhaps mankind is better not knowing, the ultimate truth of his evolution although if he does perhaps it will finally end the religious bigotry of nations and their peoples for example “Tens of millions of Americans, who neither know nor understand the actual arguments for or even against evolution, march in the army of the night with their Bibles held high. And they are a strong and frightening force, impervious to, and immunized against, the feeble lance of mere reason.” -Isaac Asimov.
A 2000 year old quote sums up in my mind what the various religious cults forget as they wage pain and suffering against their own and perceived ‘enemies’ and it says: “This people draw near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips; but their hearts are far from me.” We have stopped thinking from the heart instead people worship the very evil that is slowly destroying us all.
Taoism asks for a living in accordance with nature with three premises: “abstention from aggressive war and capital punishment”, “absolute simplicity of living”, and “refusal to assert active authority”. A concept too ‘leftwing’ for some perhaps but one which saw man survive his earliest beginnings on the planet earth.