PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
RodinsThinker
 
Comments: 33
Article views: 588
 
 
Latest Badges:



 
View all RodinsThinker's badges.
 

…And Back from Christianity Again

27 June 2012, 09:36

Since we’re all sharing our various religious travels, I thought I’d get in early. While I didn't grow up as an atheist (although they say we're all born atheist), my family was definitely what you'd call "lapsed". But I caught the faith bug in my late teens and for several years had the "hound of heaven" snapping at my heels. I read whatever Catholic spirituality works (and the bible!) that I could find. I prayed for just about everything in my life, though in retrospect they were just the usual concerns of a young man trying to establish himself. I was constantly trying to understand the nature of the relationship between me and God, and I guess after dong this for a few years, the cracks in my spiritual worldview began to show.

First it was that prayers didn't correlate with outcomes - if I didn't pray for something that I had previously been granted by prayer, I still received what I needed. Praying for assistance with spiritual things I was struggling with didn't help. And obviously world peace hasn't happened... (I now understand why having watched this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk6ILZAaAMI).

Then the questions began - you've seen them all on this forum as challenges to belief - and, naturally, they went unanswered by the church (or at best poorly answered). The concept of "God's will" as a salve to unanswered prayers began to seem illogical and disingenuous to me. How can two warring parties both have God on their side? The emphasis placed on suffering as a way to God began to seem unjust. It all began to seem like smoke and mirrors.

I began to realize that there are other styles of spiritual appreciation. It seemed crazy to me that out of the hundreds of thousands of years that humankind has been wondering about where we came from, the answer should take exactly the Christian form, when other paths have been around for far longer. I explored the Eastern traditions, and by realizing that there are equally bright and enlightened people in different parts of the world, began to think that they are all “right” to a degree and in different ways.

Christianity could not elaborate on the nature of consciousness and couldn’t tell me adequately what a soul actually is; it could not tell me what happened to my dear old dad when he died, or beloved pets, except to offer medieval imagery. It could only offer the same style of imagery when attempting to explain the nature of good and evil, so I realized just how much the religious understanding of things is influenced by our cultural history rather than spiritual knowledge. And the people that claimed to have physically encountered either God, Jesus or Satan weren’t credible witnesses.

I read Carl Jung and understood how we humans project parts of our identities either onto sacred “entities” (the good bits of our psyches), or onto a “shadow” that we deny exists (the “bad” parts of our psyches), and how we all entertain the same archetypes deep down within us. He showed how the collective unconscious is experienced, and I realized that in chasing after a God-figure, we are simply experiencing “higher” or more subtle aspects of our own selves. He described the process of “individuation” as one of reconciling the archetypes and opposites within us and becoming “whole”. I found parallels to this in other spiritual traditions, and it didn’t take long to figure out that all the rituals, the beliefs, the singing, the spiritual traditions, the holy commandments and the teachings of any religion are quite incidental to the true experience of the “sacred” – they are simply ways of getting there, and none is better or more holy than any other.

While I don’t want to sound elitist, it also became clear that religion is the universal entry-point into the process of individuation, and it’s the necessary first step for most people. It’s somewhat like ninja training in that the physical training phase emphasizes technique, rules, ways of behaving, paying respect to teachers and spiritual discipline – these “outer” practices run directly parallel to religious methods. What the religions don’t reveal is what follows this phase, which is inner self-mastery that does not require adherence to teachings (because the student has absorbed them as part of his or her nature, or achieved a level of individuation). This is the phase where you won’t recognize a practitioner as a particular “brand” of spirituality, even though they demonstrate the values.

It’s quite clear to me that humanity has all the necessary understanding within it to navigate the moral world. We use various methods to get at that understanding, such as commandments for the less spiritually developed, conscience for those with more understanding, and intuition. Religion is just a structured approach to the problem. For those not disposed to religious lives, the study of ethics has been around for as long as people have thought. Humanism is an area that seems to have taken on this body of knowledge in a non-religious setting.

Where does this leave religion today? We have great diversity between faiths that can foster sharing of values as well as creating conflict. Within faiths we find moderates as well as extremists (strangely, it seems to be secular law that prevents religion from getting out of control and expressing its real extremes, which suggests that the secular world is better attuned to the needs and aspirations of humankind). I suggest that instead of trying to reconcile diverse faiths, individuals can see the values that are common to them – and not be required to identify with any particular religious way. This marks a recognition that while we are human we can still aspire to and achieve those things that many regard as sacred.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
33 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Angua Wolf
Has the SA dream failed?

South Africa is like a baby who had a difficult pregnancy, a relatively trouble free birth, and has now developed severe complications. Read more...

12 comments 613 views
Submitted by
Siegfried Walther
Extradition & Human Rights

The objection to foreigners accused of committing crimes in this country receiving preferential treatment to those received by South African awaiting-trial prisoners, is understandable, but misguided. Read more...

0 comments 44 views
Submitted by
Maria Joubert Muller
Fingerprint biometrics at the ATM

People from different walks of life have voiced both positive and negative aspects of the technology, and many biometrics experts have argued both sides of the coin. Read more...

11 comments 291 views
The time of promises has arrived

Let's think carefully before you cross your vote, every vote is important for our next 5 years. The future is in our hands. Read more...

0 comments 43 views
Submitted by
The Scribe
Fake Photoshopped Pictures Fuel U...

My plea today is to all those who share images on social platforms without thinking twice! Read more...

4 comments 1250 views
Submitted by
Guy Alain Lukoki
Your children are not heirs of yo...

Jacob was chosen by God and blessed by his father. He had divine visions and heard the voice of God when he was running from his brother’s wrath.  Read more...

11 comments 301 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get 50% off selected books!

Buy 2 books and get 50% off the second book. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.