Life is a spiritual journey. We are quite accustomed to being alive and are adept at manipulating the physical aspects of life. Our scientific endeavours have produced complex tools and gadgets. This we have managed to achieve by observing the properties and behaviour of physicality in order to discern patterns that we can then exploit. We entrench the observed patterns and characteristics in hypothesis that we test for reliability of outcome. Science is secular. This means that scientists are only concerned with what is possible and care little, or not at all, about wellbeing, goodness, morals or ethical conduct. Placing unconditional trust in science and technology is, in my opinion, akin to worshiping false gods.
Life is a Spiritual Journey
The following quote is attributed to Albert Einstein (theoretical physicist 1879–1955) “You must warn people not to make the intellect their God. The intellect knows methods but it seldom knows values, and they (values) come from feeling. If one doesn’t play a part in the creative whole, one is not worth being called human. One has betrayed his true purpose.”
Being religious is similar to being spiritual. There may be some distinctions drawn in different cultures but these are largely academic. If you are concerned about the origin of the universe, and your own origin, if you are concerned about death and what happens after that and if you feel beholden to a transcendent moral order and act accordingly, then you are religious and spiritual.
Atheists believe in a universe that spontaneously manifested into existence and followed its evolutionary path. They argue that our life comes from nothing and goes back to nowhere. I have to say that this is a very limiting viewpoint. Why would one not go deeper and also consider what preceded, say, the big bang and what happens to beings when they move out of our living perception. If you are curious enough then you would do just that, and that would make you a religious person.
Being religious is far more proper than being secular. Being secular is incomplete. The belief in a creator God is not only more comprehensive, backed by scriptures that are veritable treasures of ancient knowledge, but can also be empirically shown to be a true depiction of reality. The Christian Bible gave us the ten rules for life: You shall have no other gods before Me; You shall not bow down before idols; You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; Keep the Sabbath day holy; Honour your father and your mother; You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour; and You shall not covet (Exodus 20: 1-17).
These Ten Commandments are not only God-given, they are also common-sense rules for a collaborative, successful and just society. By following the Commandments we sanctify our lives and honour family values. These ten Christian precepts for life are summed up and restated by Christ in the New Testament: “And Jesus answered him…..The first of all commandments is, The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 29-31).
There is a clear emphasis on loving God with all our heart, soul and mind and this for good reason. Before creation there was just God and no thing. Therefore, literally, all creation is an expression of God and not something separate from God. By honouring God we are true to our own being. By honouring other beings and all creation we are true to God as expressed through all else. We follow these tenets for our own benefit and for the benefit of our loved ones. If we forget these principles or, worse, turn our back on them, we will and do suffer the consequences of our denial, personally, as a society, as a community, as a nation and as humanity. The consequences are multiplied when our human actions harm the creation that is the Earth’s eco-systems that are a direct and tangible expression of God. The absence of good brings forth evil. Our dark side does not force itself upon us, we invite it into our lives by choosing ignorance over knowledge, falsehoods over truths, slavery over freedom in most, if not all, of our daily choices. Making good choices requires informed attention and focus, qualities that are thin on the ground.
Life is a Spiritual Journey
We should therefore focus on common ground: that which unites us and not that which divides us, we should follow the scriptural Commandments for life (each to his own religion), we should talk to our adversaries and understand their legitimate concerns, we should give our full attention to our true nature, we should not use technology to turn our back on reality, we should dismantle the merger between corporate and political power and the corruption that that generates, we should disavow hatred and enemy based politics that inevitably result in forever wars, we should reclaim our sovereignty from the false gods we have surrendered it to, and finally we should wake up from the self-imposed slavery into the freedom and adventure of a good, meaningful and purposeful life.
This article was published in the Times of Malta on the 25 October 2023 Life is a Spiritual Enterprise
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